When most people think of Big Data, they generally think about data collected for the sake of business incentives. It is true that Big Data is revolutionizing the way the businesses operate, but the ability to collect massive amounts of different varieties of data is more than a money maker; it’s changing human society on multiple fronts in ways that are exciting to everyone, not just big business.
Big Data Helps Environmentalists to Monitor Deforestation
One of the chief environmental causes aided by Big Data is the effort to limit deforestation. Environmentalists and policy makers are able to be constantly updated on the statuses of forests all over the world with the help of satellite imagery. Global Forest Watch, a service provided by Google that uses high-resolution NASA satellite imagery to analyze over 700,000 satellite images, is informed and updated with the use of Big Data. Now environmentalists can map the change of annual forest cover over the past few decades and in “near-real time.”
Big Data Helps with Weather Prediction
Scientists utilize Big Data technology to predict the weather, enabling them to forgo disasters by taking informed, precautionary measures. Weather research companies like Riak NoSQL use thirteen data centers to capture 2.2 million weather points from all over the globe four times every hour.
Big Data Helps with Agricultural Development
Farmers are using precision technology (a concept bolstered by the advancement of Big Data) to make better decisions when it comes to raising crops. Precision technology involves integrating information regarding real-time weather data, soil and air quality findings, crop maturity and the costs of equipment and labor with the intention of better understanding the pro’s and con’s of any agricultural decision.
With the aid of this information, farmers are often able to increase their yields while decreasing their use of resources. This is a necessary development given that the world’s population is expected to reach 9.2 billion people by 2050.
Big Data Helps to Protect People from Getting Sick
The medical field has all kinds of uses for Big Data; it can help monitor wearable devices, predict outbreaks of infectious disease, keep track of patient information and much, much more. Big Data actually helped to fight the Ebola crisis about a year back.
IBM recently confirmed this phenomenon when it released a study showing that Big Data can help contain global outbreaks of dengue fever and malaria. The application of the findings of Big Data are saving lives all over the world.
Finally, by using modeling developed from the data gathered by social media and other online public information sources, researches have been able to predict outbreaks of infectious diseases such as the flu.
Big Data Helps to Improve Education
Technology is being developed to process information regarding students’ education and come up with diagnoses of problems in education systems and how to fix them.
One such application is made by Knewton, an adaptive platform that collects data regarding students’ learning habits. The company is involved in creating digital textbooks that adapt to individual students in real time. The textbooks are able to assess the students as they solve problems and adjust the difficulty of the remaining problems as needed.
In general, Big Data is allowing us to understand larger, more detailed amounts of information than ever before. There’s no telling what we’ll do with access to that kind of breadth of information, but it’s definitely an exciting time