Too Much Data?

Dare I Say It?

GeoInt Coverage in this Issue: The Data Paradox

This Fall issue includes focus, as always, on security and intelligence, in conjunction with the GeoInt Symposium. An issue rising to the surface in the past few years is the question of having too much data – so much so that processing it and using it are major challenges. Rich Heimann, a researcher at ITT and officer of NJOIC, looks at what could be done to ease this burden, here.

Paul Smits of the European Commission Joint Research Center in Italy and co-chair of IGARSS 2010 stated at their recent meeting that, “Data management and applications have profoundly changed the way we do research... Data is driving the foundation of new hypothesis.” This is indeed an important subject.

IGARSS Meeting in Hawaii

The IGARSS annual meeting is not one we normally attend (see photo), but we believe that the new science and technologies should be published for a broader audience than the scientists themselves. IGARSS is a symposium of GRSS (Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society), itself under IEEE, and includes many of the world’s top scientists, who gather to report on their most recent discoveries. Their plenary theme is one we have written on rather extensively in the past year: Community Remote Sensing (CRS). We are thrilled to bring just a glimpse of this gathering and of CRS in three articles: IGARSS 2010, Assessing the Power of Citizen Science, and CRS in the Florida Keys.

We report on CRS in each issue, and that data contribution from the community (often from cell phones), plus the power of social networks and the infrastructure that many professionals are pulling together, is creating very powerful tools for emergency response and ongoing projects like the one highlighted in Florida after the oil spill (here). The increased use of CRS data, however, does admittedly contribute to the problem of managing too much data.

Rich Heimann shows here how the more information we have, the more confidence we have in the correct answer, but accuracy actually decreases with more items of information. Also, the paradox of choice shows that having too many choices creates paralysis of the analyst. We assume that having more data is good, but this is not inherently the case.

Imaging Notes editorial staff at the Welcome Reception of IGARSS: myself, Editor Ray Williamson, Barbara David and writer Leonard David, formerly of Space News.

Imaging Noteseditorial staff at the Welcome Reception of IGARSS: myself, Editor Ray Williamson, Barbara David and writer Leonard David, formerly of Space News.

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Sustainable Development

We ask you here to provide input for the GEOSS User Requirement Registry, so that the creators of GEOSS worldwide can put together the most useful program possible for addressing climate change. ESA’s Pierre-Philippe Mathieu provides three examples of using EO for sustainable development here. We also report on the important work of Dr. Mauri Pelto at Nichols College, who has made significant discoveries on how better to measure and predict glacier melt for societal benefit.

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—Myrna James Yoo

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