Global Pulse: “Big Data for development”

UN Global Pulse

To show the usefulness of Big Data mining, we would like to mention the work that Global Pulse is doing using Big Data to improve life in developing countries. Global Pulse is a United Nations initiative, launched in 2009, that functions as an innovative lab, and that is based in mining Big Data for developing countries. They pursue a strategy that consists of 1) researching innovative methods and techniques for analyzing real-time digital data to detect early emerging vulnerabilities; 2) assembling a free and open source technology toolkit for analyzing real-time data and sharing hypotheses; and 3) establishing an integrated, global network of Pulse Labs, to pilot the approach at country level.

Global Pulse describes the main opportunities Big Data offers to developing countries in their White paper ”Big Data for Development: Challenges & Opportunities”:

  • Early warning: develop fast response in time of crisis, detecting anomalies in the usage of digital media
  •  Real-time awareness: design programs and policies with a more fine-grained representation of reality
  • Real-time feedback: check what policies and programs fail, monitoring them in real time, and using this feedback make the needed changes

The Big Data mining revolution is not restricted to the industrialized world, as mobiles are spreading in developing countries as well. It is estimated that there are over five billion mobile phones, and that 80% are located in developing countries.

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