From catching smugglers to shaping the economy, data is key to just about everything we do. It can stop recessions and help us get a better nights sleep too, as this week’s Roundup pays testament to. Carry on…

The new shape of economic data

Traffic, mobile phones and satellite data will all now be used to measure the UK’s economy. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is to start harvesting data from a plethora of new sources in its quest to gain a more timely and broader insight into the economy. The ONS is opening a new data science campus in Newport, Wales as part of a £17m investment in the way we collect and present data. It will be tasked with harvesting information from the growing collection data that we create, and using it to measure the shape of the economy. This includes using traffic sensors to gauge activity, mobile phone data to track commuter patterns and satellite images to estimate populations.

Noise map charts the data of America’s aural misery

Noise map charts the data of America’s aural misery

Playing true to stereotypes, us Brit’s often think of our American cousins as a bit ‘loud’. Well, this generalisation might be closer to the truth than you’d think… depending where about they live. The Department of Transportation in the US has launched the very first National Transportation Noise Map. Using data collected by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Highway Administration, citizens can now see where the constant roar of vehicles is most likely to cause aural misery. Areas in blue to deep purple are the noisiest, where folks are regularly exposed to 80 to 95 decibels – the equivalent of a garbage disposal truck (these areas tend to be near airports). The DoT hopes that the map will prove to be a helpful resource for anyone considering how transportation projects might change a neighbourhood, cause disruption or even ill health. See for yourself.

Could Artificial Intelligence and big data help stop the next recession?

There are things in our world that are inevitable, like death, taxes… and some kind of periodical, man-made financial crash. But unlike the former two, the latter is usually entirely preventable. The problem is that we’ve become accustomed to these boom and bust cycles and the issues that we have with the economy are often caused by human nature – whether it’s an unwillingness to change or the breaking of rules to satisfy greed. But could we see a future where AI takes the negative elements of human nature out of the equation? We all make bad decisions, but some have considerably more impact than others. Could the ability to analyse huge amounts of information, faster than ever before, warn us when we’re about to make a mistake or a catastrophically poor decision?

Visualising the unique Color Palettes of The New Yorker

Since 1925, the iconic New Yorker magazine has featured a unique illustration on every cover. That’s a lot of covers… But over the years fashions have changed; so too have the associated colour palettes. This analysis of the top five colours used in each cover show, for example, that limited and muted palettes were used the 1920s—possibly due to printing limitations, darker greens were more common in the 1940s, lighter palettes were used in the 1970s and 1980s, louder contrasting palettes were popular in the 1990s and more well-rounded palettes started being used since the 2000s. Scroll through the palettes of the decades for yourself

Hunting smugglers with big data

For thousands of years, maritime authorities have relied on tip-offs, patrols, investigations and random inspections to find smuggled goods. But today there is a new secret weapon in the fight against smuggling – data.  Historic and current Automatic Identification System (AIS) data – along with a variety of other commercial sources on maritime traffic – can now be analysed in real time to spot anomalies that point to illegal activity… this includes spotting a suspicious Cypriot ship that ended up loitering off the island of Islay. Find out more…

Data changes everything – our view from DataSummit17

Data changes everything’ was the theme of DataSummit17. The climax of a week long DataFest, DataSummit17 explored examples of data success – as well as the challenges of transformation – by sharing stories from some of the most remarkable data-led organisations around the world, and some from those closer to home too. Speakers from the world of business, sport and charity, joined academics, broadcasters, and public sector leaders to show the value and insight that data can generate. While we were there, we also heard why Edinburgh is now a hub for innovation and all about the importance of collaboration. Read on…

Posted in Big data, IoT, Media roundup On March 31, 2017 By