Home Sectors Top 3 most innovative applications of Big Data within the Environmental Field

Top 3 most innovative applications of Big Data within the Environmental Field

Sector : Information and Communications Technology
Friday, 03 July 2015

Per Angel Hsu, Director of the Environmental Performance Index,( a joint project between the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University ) below are the top 3 most innovative applications of Big Data in the field of environment :

1. Global Forest Watch: A collaboration convened by the World Resources Institute that allows for near-real time monitoring of deforestation. One of the strengths of this data-information platform is the collation of many geospatial and satellite datasets that give a granular and aggregate picture of the world's forests. The website includes deforestation alerts called FORMA for the humid tropics based on rapid assessment of satellite images to predict where deforestation might be happening on a monthly basis. The FORMA alerts are a great example of big data being applied to help inform the public and decision makers.

2. Citizen Science: Per Angel Hsu though it is not a “project” citizen science, user-contributed data, and crowdsourcing have the potential to push forth the big data revolution for the environment . There are a few examples of citizen science efforts to involve people in the collection of environmental science data. The “e-bird initiative” is a great example of this. People love bird-watching and taking pictures of wildlife, so this effort has combined the two to better track a whole host of questions: biodiversity, migration patterns, and species distribution. Another effort out of the University of Oxford is asking citizen scientists to donate their computers and spare time to help run thousands of climate models to establish a linkage between extreme weather events and climate change. In this way, they are generating a big dataset to answer a question and involving citizens to do so.

3. Wildlife Picture Index : A collaboration between Conservation International and HP, which is using large datasets from camera traps and climate data to develop an early warning system to understand threats to tropical mammal and bird diversity.