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New Massey University portal tracks GDP in real time

assey University has launched a real-time gross domestic product (GDP) tracker, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.

Called GDPLive, the online portal uses machine learning algorithms and the most up-to-date data possible, including live data sources. It allows users to instantly see estimates of how the New Zealand economy is performing on a daily basis, and provides GDP forecasts.

“GDP measures all market-based transactions, so it’s a very good indicator of how well an economy is performing,” says Professor Christoph Schumacher from Massey University’s School of Economics and Finance.

“GDPLive has been developed with the most up-to-date data from government sources and a diverse range of partners, including PayMark, KiwiRail and PortConnect, so we can get a sense of how the New Zealand economy is tracking in real time.”

Professor Schumacher says GDPLive’s use of cutting-edge machine learning technologies provides informed forecasts, making it a valuable supplementary decision-making tool for businesses. He says it will be a significant improvement on government reporting, which currently releases national GDP figures quarterly and regional figures annually.

“We’ve been told by companies that relying on three-month old data is too much of a lag in this day and age and they want live data to enhance their decisions,” he says. “This is what inspired me to come up with an alternative using real-time data. Our forecasts should also help businesses to look into the future to determine what their industry might look like in two or three months.”

The GDPLive project has been developed by the university’s Knowledge Exchange Hub, a multi-disciplinary research hub headed by Professor Schumacher. Massey University computer scientist Dr Teo Susnjak developed the predictive models and says GDPLive will only become more accurate as additional data sources are added and the algorithms are refined.

“What we have noticed over time is our forecasts have improved as we’ve worked on the models,” he says. “And we’re really confident that, as our data sources become richer and more descriptive, those forecasts will continue to improve.”

Users of the interactive GDPLive portal can view historic data, current national and regional GDP figures and forecasts, as well as getting an overview of the performance of a large range of industry sectors.

GDPLive’s datasets include consumer spending through PayMark payment transactions, freight movements via PortConnect, which includes container movements through Ports of Auckland and Ports of Tauranga, goods moved throughout the country on the KiwiRail network, traffic flows, immigration and import/export data.

The GDPLive portal can be accessed at: www.gdplive.net

A short video about GDPLive can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/nbNqnk7fnCU

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