How Big Data Helps in Environmental Protection

Rachel Smith, Applied Technology Review | Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Rachel Smith, Applied Technology Review

New tools and data-collection methods have made it possible to gather and analyze vast sets of data.

FREMONT, CA: Data has become one of the valuable resources for any enterprise. These data sets enable firms to find patterns and relationships that firms couldn't have found with conventional approaches. One area being revamped by big data is environmental protection. New methods offer researchers, organizations and governments the best information possible, enabling them to make highly informed decisions and streamline their approach to resource use and conservation.

With big data, researchers can have the best possible picture of the issue they're facing — enabling them to see correlations they may have missed with smaller data sets or less innovative analytic techniques. Networks of sensors are being used to gather data on air pollution, offering the best possible data for climate researchers, firms and governments who want to take steps to enhance air quality. These groups also embrace big data technology to process the massive volumes of data gathered by these sensors and create visualizations of air quality from that data. These visualizations can help researchers draw connections between geography and data—finding areas where air pollution has trended up over time and finding potential causes.

Big data analytics can also help businesses and governments streamline their use of resources, cutting back on water and energy consumption. Some innovative systems can even automatically adjust building systems to streamline the use of energy. These systems can deactivate lighting when the system identifies that no worker uses a certain room or corner of the office. Analysis of energy data can also find machine malfunctions that don't affect operations but create large, previously undetected energy spikes.

Big data can help an organization defend the environment. Uses of big data technology can offer better information on air quality and migratory patterns, enabling researchers and organizations to mount the most informed response possible to problems like air pollution and man-made dangers to migratory birds. Big data analytics can also help firms become more sustainable by mitigating their use of resources. Automated building systems, driven by big data collection, can deactivate systems that are not in use, saving energy.

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