September 26, 2017
Data is power. Companies can harness the power of big data exploration to capture information they may want to analyze in the future. The business world obsesses over the importance of big data. Most of the time people refer to structured data. Unstructured data may be the next frontier for data analytics.
Structured data can typically be stored in a spreadsheet or database. The data falls in a uniform pattern that can be neatly analyzed and manipulated into graphs, charts or pivot tables. Unstructured data captures the rest of it. With the renaissance of social media and virtual communication, the world is teeming with unstructured data. Everything from Facebook posts to emails to Google Images put unlimited sources of unstructured data lie at our fingertips.
When we think of big data we often link it to understanding consumers. How we can better understand consumer habits, tastes and sentiments and leverage that to our advantage. However, every industry can benefit from it. A recent Tech Republic article illustrates big data exploration through an example of examining the health of a forest through geo-mapping.
Big Data from Imagery
Many agriculture and forestry companies use GIS mapping to gather information. While an analyst may look for one specific quality, the whole picture can provide valuable inferences. An image can reveal the health of the soil, ground cover and overall topography.
Understand the Possibilities
Most methods of data collection serve one specific need. Many organizations and companies underutilize their unstructured data. Even though you may not care about certain information today, doesn’t mean you won’t inquire about it later. When gathering data, think about all the possibilities.
When delving into the scope of unstructured data, analyze the capabilities of the smallest unit of data. In the example provided by Tech Republic, the pixel serves as the smallest data point that can reveal a lot about the health of a forest. Pixels reveal color and infrared qualities that can indicate vegetative health of a plant. Although that information may not serve the immediate task at hand, it may support other endeavors in the future.
Remember your priorities when analyzing data but understand what your unstructured data is capable of as it may prove valuable later on.