Big Data

By Sanjana Hattotuwa | Articles on Big and Open Data, with a focus on rights & privacy.

Follow the world's mass transit on this live map

Sure, it's not hard to learn when your bus is likely to show up, but have you wondered where everyone else's bus is at any given moment? You now have an easy way to find out. GeOps and the University of Freiburg have rolled out TRAVIC (Transit Visualization Client), a map that shows the real-time …


If Algorithms Know All, How Much Should Humans Help?

Armies of the finest minds in computer science have dedicated themselves to improving the odds of making a sale. The Internet-era abundance of data and clever software has opened the door to tailored marketing, targeted advertising and personalized product recommendations.

Shake your head if you …

UN bodies present projects showing how ‘Big Data’ can save lives, fight hunger

9 April 2015 – Anonymized data – information from which the identity of the sender has been stripped – from mobile telephone usage could provide …

These 6 Art Projects Make Urban Data More Accessible For The Rest Of Us

It turns out that air pollution and traffic jams make for some fascinating data-inspired art.

As big data in cities gets bigger, with growing numbers of sensors tracking everything from air pollution to traffic jams, the resulting piles of information aren't necessarily easy for people living in …


Big data can make South Asian cities more authoritarian

Nalaka Gunewardene has an interesting article on smart cities published on, in which he makes the case our cities today are just too …

Big Data

Unstructured Data: The Other Side of Analytics

Everyone is obsessed with “analytics.” I cannot keep up with what the technology pundits and consultants are telling me about analytics, no matter how hard I try. (I just Googled “big data analytics” and got 107,000,000 results in 0.29 seconds.)

If you listen to these people, you will absolutely, …

Data Modeling

Big video data could change how we do everything — from catching bad guys to tracking shoppers


Everyone takes pictures and video with their devices. Parents record their kids’ soccer games, companies record employee training, police surveillance cameras at busy intersections run 24/7, and drones monitor pipelines in the desert.

With vast amounts of video growing vaster at a rate faster …

Q&A: The UN Global Pulse director on big data’s future

In this audio interview, Robert Kirkpatrick highlights the challenges ahead for data and sustainable development.

Big Data

Big data: 8 ideas to watch

A look at the major forces shaping the data world.

By Ben Lorica

This story was originally published on O’Reilly Radar as part of our exploration of big

12 data maps that sum up London

A new collection of data maps of London reveals a city heaving with information.

A quick quiz question for you. How many football pitches could fit inside the Greater London boundary? Well, 220,000 of them would fill the space between Cockfosters and Croydon, Heathrow and Hornchurch.

That statistic …

Using Big Data To Fight Pandemics

Editor’s note: Nuria Oliver is a scientific director at Telefonica looking at how the use of big data can help to fight pandemics such as Ebola and bird flu.

Last year, I gave a talk at WIRED 2013​ on how anonymous and aggregated mobile phone data can be used to understand and combat the spread of …

Big Data

Big Data: Putting Heat on the Hate

Five years ago, President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

That law, enacted in memory of two people brutally killed in hate crimes, has generated important police training and outreach to prevent crimes rooted in hate-filled discrimination and bigotry. …

Big Data

London police trial gang violence 'predicting' software

Police in London have tested software designed to identify which gang members are most likely to commit violent crimes.

The 20-week pilot study is …


Riding with the Stars: Passenger Privacy in the NYC Taxicab Dataset

In my previous post, Differential Privacy: The Basics, I provided an introduction to differential privacy by exploring its definition and discussing …


TED: Susan Etlinger: What do we do with all this big data? - Susan Etlinger (2014)

Does a set of data make you feel more comfortable? More successful? Then your interpretation of it is likely wrong. In a surprisingly moving talk, …

Big Data

See Your Life Through The Lens Of History With This Data Viz Site From BBC Earth

As part of the expansion of the BBC Earth platform, the broadcaster creates an interactive data viz that allows users to see their lives in historical context.

Ever wondered the distance you've traveled since you were born? How many meters a coast redwood has grown in your lifetime? Or the number of …

Historical Photography

Sir Tim Berners-Lee speaks out on data ownership

The data we create about ourselves should be owned by each of us, not by the large companies that harvest it, the Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, said today.

Berners-Lee told the IPExpo Europe in London’s Excel Centre that the potential of big data will be wasted as its current …

Tim Berners-Lee

How big data is fueling a new age in space exploration


In 2018, a group of organizations from all of the world will begin construction of the largest radio telescope ever built, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

With one million square meters of collecting area and enough optical fiber to wrap around the Earth twice, this marvel of modern …

Space Science

The tricky business of acting on live data before it’s too late

For all the talk about big data and how it can help us track down needles in haystacks, there’s still a lot of work to when it comes to issues like …


Scientists Can Now Predict Where People Will Run When An Earthquake Strikes

Based on travel patterns logged in your phone, one model shows how disaster response teams can see whether you’ll flee to a shelter, a friend’s, or your mom’s house.

University of Tokyo professor Xuan Song cracks open his laptop and shows me a birds-eye view of Japan's capital city on the day of the …


For Big-Data Scientists, ‘Janitor Work’ Is Key Hurdle to Insights

Technology revolutions come in measured, sometimes foot-dragging steps. The lab science and marketing enthusiasm tend to underestimate the bottlenecks to progress that must be overcome with hard work and practical engineering.

The field known as “big data” offers a contemporary case study. The …

What does big data say about Sri Lanka? » LIRNEasia - a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

On 8th August 2014, LIRNEasia held an event titled “Big data for development: Responsible use of mobile meta-data to support public purposes” in …

Big Data

1,323 And Rising: Illustrating The Human Toll Of The Israel-Palestine Conflict

That includes more than 200 children.

More than a thousand people have died in the conflict over Gaza since tensions flared at the beginning of July, including over 200 children. This simple, but powerful, interactive visualization from the Washington Post plots the deaths, illustrating each …

Foreign Policy

The Social Laboratory

Singapore is testing whether mass surveillance and big data can not only protect national security, but actually engineer a more harmonious …

Google Wants To Improve Its Translations Through Crowdsourcing

Over the years, Google Translate has gotten significantly better at giving its users (relatively) legible translations for most commonly used languages. It’s still far off from being perfect, though, and today Google announced a new initiative that aims to get more input from its users to improve …


How IBM is using big data to fix Beijing’s pollution crisis

Of China’s major cities, Beijing’s pollution problem is probably the worst, causing thousands of premature deaths every year. Its residents are fed up. The growing outrage has forced leaders to declare a “war on pollution,” including the goal of slashing Beijing’s PM2.5— the concentration of the …


n=all: Presentation on big data for United Nations Department of Political Affairs (DPA)

A new report released by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary ...more

ICT4Peace was again invited by ASG UN Chief Information Technology …