According to IBM, every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of dataso much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: from sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos posted online, transaction records of online purchases, and from cell phone GPS signals to name a few. This data is “Big Data”.
An example of Big Data might be petabytes (1,024 terabytes) or exabytes (1,024 petabytes) of data consisting of billions to trillions of records of millions of people -- all from different sources (e.g. Web, sales, customer contact center, social media, mobile data and so on). The data is typically loosely structured data that is often incomplete and inaccessible.
For example Wal-Mart handles more than 1 million customer transactions every hour which in turn imports into databases estimated at more than 2.5 petabytes which is the equivalent of 167 times the books in America’s Library of Congress. Facebook handles 40 billion photos from its user base.
The geospatial world is also a major contributor of “Big Data”. Consider this: DigitalGlobe fully processes 100 terabytes of imagery collected from their satellites each day. Their Aerial Ortho Program in the US and Western Europe exceeds 370 terabytes of aerial imagery data alone.
GeoEye estimates that between Ikonos and GeoEye-1 they have imaged in excess of 4 petabytes of data around the globe.
The impact of, “Big Data,” has increased the demand of information management specialists in that Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, and SAP have spent more than $15 billion on software firms only specializing in data management and analytics. This industry on its own is worth more than $100 billion and growing at almost 10% a year which is roughly twice as fast as the software business as a whole.
The one unique thread of the entire world’s population is of course our personal geography, where we live, where we commute our sources of food, water, shelter and methods of communication all intertwine to location. The analytics of Big Data permits us to more fully understand how and why seemingly disconnected and even random events occur permitting us to find order and predictability. Geography may provide the most important point of connectivity in better understanding how the interrogation of Big Data can impact all of our lives.
Geography may provide the most important point of connectivity in better understanding how the interrogation of Big Data can impact all of our lives.
David K. Nale, President/CEO
Certified Mapping Scientist
Professional Land Surveyor