Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 57 seconds

Data is the most valuable resource in any industry in today’s world. This is the reason why big data and data analytics are some of the most active topics you are likely to come across when you open the social media platform of your choice or search engines, all are awash with advertisements on these areas. With this importance, new tools and data collection methods are coming up almost weekly to enable people in different industries to collect data and use them to make informed decisions. Big data analytics allow us to find relationships through patterns in different aspects that have been impossible using traditional approaches.

One area that is receiving a boost from big data is environmental conservation. Big data approaches are enabling different players in this area to gather the necessary information and make decisions based on facts that optimize their conservation efforts. With big data and big data analytics, environmental researchers can model various scenarios and get the picture of issues they are facing and design the best cause of action. For instance, there have been growing concerns about the damage to rain forests and worsening global warming that, if unchecked can lead to suffering in the future. With these concerns, scientists have been looking for ways to help the earth recover, and big data has proven to be the best approach to this fight.

The advancement in sensor technology has led to the development of network sensors that can be used to gather data on air pollution. The data can then be processed to deliver information helpful to scientists, businesses and agencies who want to help the government in mitigating climate change.

Tech companies including Google have embarked on deploying technology in their possession to ensure the environment is sustainable. Apart from autonomous cars pioneered by Google, the company has also ventured into environmental protection through its Google Earth Engine. For instance, when trees fall, Google is the first to know through its systems that generate alerts. The system uses satellite imagery, geospatial datasets and data analysis capabilities to process data and detect changes, trends and differences.

Life on the  move

Big data has also been used to track the migration of wildlife, such as birds of different species. Modern tracking technology offers new ways of mining data about birds as it allows geospatial data to be collected non-intrusively and in real-time. With the help of sensors and drones, among other modern technologies, wildlife can be traced from one location to another and keep away poachers and trophy hunters. The migration patterns of animals and birds can also help determine the potential pollution or other human-caused disruption. If these patterns are correctly studied, scientists can discover the link between migrations of wildlife and damage to their ecosystem and mitigate some of these dangers at their early stages.

Big data analytics are also currently used to help businesses and governments to optimize how they use resources such as water and energy. With the help of a network of sensors, data on buildings and their usage of energy of water can be gathered, allowing businesses to find out where they are spending more resources. With big data analytics, companies can pinpoint what to cut and where energy or water consumption can be reduced to cut costs. Some buildings have automated systems that optimize the use of different resources by deactivating things such as lighting to minimize cost. In addition to saving cash for businesses, such initiatives save the environment through the reduction of energy and water consumption.

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for Big Data & Analytics Tech Brief


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