Big data is changing the way that the world works. Businesses are looking at big data to discover new trends in various industries. Additionally, big data is being applied to maintain the health of both humans and the environment, including the endangered rainforests.
Why should you care about the rainforests on the other side of the world? With the rainforests producing 40 percent of the planet’s oxygen, it is imperative that we keep the rainforests alive. Conservation International (CI), an organization dedicated to the preservation of natural biodiversity, understands this, and is trying to use technology to solve one mankind’s biggest problems: its continuity.
Obviously, analyzing information on all manners of plants and animals which inhabit the rainforest is exhausting, if not impossible, without the help of analytic tools. CI put together a network of over 1,000 cameras designed to monitor and record information on passing animals. The goal of this project was to use the gathered information to discover the effects of changes in climate and land usage.
Before big data was implemented by CI, all information had to be gathered manually. As CIO explains:
Because the camera traps are located in some of the more remote locations on earth, there’s no infrastructure. Teams have to manually collect the data from the traps and upload it, at which point CI scientists run a series of scripts and models to identify the various species appearing in the images. They then blend that data with climate measurements (precipitation, temperature, humidity, solar radiation, etc.), data on trees (growth, survival, deforestation, etc.) and land use data from public sources to create a model of the health of the animal populations at the sites and how they are changing over time.
Sandy Adnelman, the chief scientist at CI, likes to think about this process as a check up for the planet. When you go to the doctor, they check specific parts of your health to make sure you are healthy, and the planet is similar. There are various aspects of nature which should be monitored to make sure that the planet is healthy.
As you might guess, the process of analyzing the vast amount of data gathered by these cameras was painstakingly time-consuming; and when the changes in the environment are snuffing the life out of the rainforests, time is a critical factor. In order to combat these changes, CI brought in big data analytics. While the information still had to be gathered manually, the process of analyzing data became much more simplified. The results of data analysis were processed up to nine times faster, and far more accurately than manual data analysis. The result is much more progress on maintaining the vital signs of the rainforests, and some big steps toward rejuvenating a hurting ecosystem.
Your business can take advantage of big data, too. Trends in industries shift all of the time, and it’s always best to stay ahead of the curve and adapt your strategies respectively. For example, with big data analytics, a company may notice that most people are visiting their website through mobile devices. Their website, however, is not optimized for mobile viewing, and it is unappealing on such a small screen. The company can then shift their focus to creating a more user-friendly mobile website.
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