big data

Off the map

Title: Off the map
Source: The Economist
Date (published): 15/11/2014
Date (accessed): 02/12/2014
Type of information: online article
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Africa is the continent of missing data. Fewer than half of births are recorded; some countries have not taken a census in several decades. On maps only big cities and main streets are identified; the rest looks as empty as the Sahara. Lack of data afflicts other developing regions, too. The self-built slums that ring many Latin American cities are poorly mapped, and even estimates of their population are vague. Afghanistan is still using census figures from 1979—and that count was cut short after census-takers were killed by mujahideen. As rich countries collect and analyse data from as many objects and activities as possible—including thermostats, fitness trackers and location-based services such as Foursquare—a data divide has opened up. The lack of reliable data in poor countries thwarts both development and disaster-relief.

We need a ‘data revolution’ for the urban poor

Title: We need a ‘data revolution’ for the urban poor
Author: Paula Lucci
Source: Post2015.org
Date (published): 10/11/2014
Date (accessed): 26/11/2014
Type of information: online article
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Last week the UN Independent Expert Advisory Group released its report on the ‘Data Revolution’. Appointed by the Secretary-General, this group looked into how to improve existing data on sustainable development, so that when countries in the General Assembly agree a new set of goals next year, we have better information to monitor them. It’s hard to disagree with the need for better data: accurate and open data is a key building block of effective policy, and a way for citizens to hold governments to account. Yet despite recent improvements in the availability and quality of data, basic information on the poor is still missing or based on imperfect estimates. What’s more, the increasing ambition of a post-2015 agenda to reach the most marginalised and eradicate extreme poverty means that we will need more information for these vulnerable groups than we currently have. The urban poor living in ‘slum’ areas are one such vulnerable group. With their numbers set to increase over coming years, we desperately need more and better data on these communities – but there are some big limitations.

Hungry Planet: Can Big Data Help Feed 9 Billion Humans?

Title: Hungry Planet: Can Big Data Help Feed 9 Billion Humans?
Author: John Roach
Source: NBC News
Date (published): 18/11/2014
Date (accessed): 26/11/2014
Type of information: online article
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: With a population set to hit 9 billion human beings by 2050, the world needs to grow more food —without cutting down forests and jungles, which are the climate's huge lungs. The solution, according to one soil management scientist, is Big Data. Kenneth Cassman, an agronomist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, recently unveiled a new interactive mapping tool that shows in fine-grain detail where higher crop yields are possible on current arable land.

Big Data in Action for Development

Title: Big Data in Action for Development
Date (accessed): 31/10/2014
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: This report stemmed from a World Bank pilot activity to explore the potential of big data to address development challenges in Central American countries. As part of this activity we collected and analyzed a number of examples of leveraging big data for development. Because of the growing interest in this topic this report makes available to
a broader audience those examples as well as the underlying conceptual framework to think about big data for development.

Big Data & Society

Title: Big Data & Society
Editor and Founding Editor: Evelyn Ruppert
Source: SAGE Journals
Date (accessed): 24/06/2014
Type of information: data source
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Big Data & Society is an open access peer-reviewed scholarly journal that publishes interdisciplinary work principally in the social sciences, humanities and computing and their intersections with the arts and natural sciences about the implications of Big Data for societies.

Data for development: revolution kicks off in Côte d’Ivoire

Title: Data for development: revolution kicks off in Côte d’Ivoire
Author: Mićo Tatalović
Source: SciDev.Net
Date (published): 29/11/2013
Date (accessed): 03/12/2013
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Mobile communications company Orange has huge amounts of data on traffic between its mobile masts, and in 2012 it decided to release some of that data from Côte d’Ivoire to researchers worldwide in a challenge to make use of that data. It anticipated 40 or 50 project applications and got 260 instead, though few came from African countries or Côte d’Ivoire itself.

Information explosion offers opportunities

Title: Information explosion offers opportunities
Source: IT News Africa
Date (published): 22/11/2012
Date (accessed): 26/11/2012
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: The world contains an unimaginably vast amount of digital information which is getting ever vaster ever more rapidly. Facebook alone is home to 40 billion photos, 864 000 hours of videos are uploaded to Youtube every day, and in one day, enough information is consumed by Internet traffic to fill 168 million DVDs.

Big Data, Big Impact: New Possibilities for International Development

Title: Big Data, Big Impact: New Possibilities for International Development
Pages: 9 pp.
Source: World Economic Forum
Date (accessed): 27/09/2012
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: "A flood of data is created every day by the interactions of billions of people using computers, GPS devices, cell phones, and medical devices. Many of these interactions occur through the use of mobile devices being used by people in the developing world, people whose needs and habits have been poorly understood until now. Researchers and policymakers are beginning to realise the potential for channelling these torrents of data into actionable information that can be used to identify needs, provide services, and predict and prevent crises for the benefit of low-income populations. Concerted action is needed by governments, development organisations, and companies to ensure that this data helps the individuals and communities who create it."

The Future of Big Data

Title: The Future of Big Data
Author: Janna Anderson, Lee Rainie
Pages: 41 pp.
Publisher: Pwe Internet
Date (published): 20/07/2012
Date (accessed): 09/09/2012
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
This material was gathered in the fifth “Future of the Internet” survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center. The surveys are conducted through an online questionnaire sent to selected experts. Respondents to the Future of the Internet V survey, fielded from August 28 to Oct. 31, 2011, were asked to consider the future of the Internet-connected world between now and 2020. They were asked to assess eight different “tension pairs”—each pair offering two different 2020 scenarios with the same overall theme and opposite outcomes—and they were asked to select the one most likely choice of two statements.

Big data, small wars, local insights: Designing for development with conflict-affected communities

Title: Big data, small wars, local insights: Designing for development with conflict-affected communities
Authors: David Kilcullen and Alexa Courtney
Source: What Matters
Publisher: McKinsey & Company
Date (published): 02/12/2011
Date (accessed): 09/12/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Of all the ills that impede development around the world, persistent conflict may be the most pernicious and the most widespread. As the World Bank noted in its April 2011 report, insecurity “has become a primary development challenge of our time. One-and-a-half billion people live in areas affected by fragility, conflict, or large-scale, organized criminal violence, and no low-income fragile or conflict-affected country has yet achieved a single United Nations Millennium Development Goal.”

We believe that work in these difficult regions requires a new approach, which we call Designing for Development. The approach combines several elements. First, to create a deep understanding of the issue to be addressed, it calls for quantitative, remote observation and analysis, using new tools, such as big data, crowd-sourced reporting, and interactive visualization. To build a deep contextual understanding, it also requires on-the-ground observation and research, preferably carried out and directed by well-trained members of the local community. Finally, the big data and local insight must be integrated and used to shape a solution with the help of design thinking..."

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