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Welcome to Week 3

Welcome to the final week of ‘Big Data and the Environment’.

Last week, you learnt about open data and had the opportunity to download and analyse an open dataset yourself. As part of this exercise, you thought about how you could visualise this data and you may have even uploaded a visualisation to the course picture wall. This week, you’ll look at visualisations in more detail by exploring several projects where visualising the data were key to their success.

Visualisations are an example of where large datasets have been reduced to a smaller, more manageable format. So far on the course, you’ve focused on big data but this week you’ll investigate how big and small data can be equally valuable, and can be analysed together for a wide range of objectives. For example, you’ll hear about the power of citizen science - when volunteer members of the public contribute their time, effort or even spare computing power to research. These contributions collectively provided a large dataset for data scientists to analyse, however an individual record can also have a huge impact on a research project too.

You’ll explore both citizen science and visualisations through a series of case studies ranging from monitoring wildlife, recording extreme weather events, urban planning and even spotting palm trees from space.

We hope you enjoy the week and look forward to reading your comments in the discussion Steps.

You may find this course glossary helpful.


You can find the answers to the crossword from the previous Week here.

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This article is from the free online course:

Big Data and the Environment

University of Reading