I’ve rounded up seven of the most interesting — and unique — applications for big data I’ve seen recently and how they may be impacting your life.
Outdoor marketing company Route is using big data to define and justify its pricing model for advertising space on billboards, benches and the sides of busses. Traditionally, outdoor media pricing was priced “per impression” based on an estimate of how many eyes would see the ad in a given day. No more! Now they’re using sophisticated GPS, eye-tracking software, and analysis of traffic patterns to have a much more realistic idea of which advertisements will be seen the most — and therefore be the most effective.
Apple’s new health app, called ResearchKit, has effectively just turned your phone into a biomedical research device. Researchers can now create studies through which they collect data and input from users phones to compile data for health studies. Your phone might track how many steps you take in a day, or prompt you to answer questions about how you feel after your chemo, or how your Parkinson’s disease is progressing. It’s hoped that making the process easier and more automatic will dramatically increase the number of participants a study can attract as well as the fidelity of the data.
The website FallingFruit.org combined public information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, municipal tree inventories, foraging maps and street tree databases to provide an interactive map to tell you where the apple and cherry trees in your neighborhood might be dropping fruit. The website’s stated goal is to remind urbanites that agriculture and natural foods do exist in the city — you might just have to access a website to find it.
Ski resorts are even getting into the data game.