Big Data in Ecology: Volume, Variety, and Velocity in Environmental Data

Our first INSC 592 Big Data Analytics assignment included a discussion of what “Big Data” means to each student and their respective career goals.

Because I love wildlife and the outdoors, my career goals include environmental information management.  The earth itself is a big place, so it’s easy to understand why volume, variety, and velocity might intersect as a source of big data.

This slide deck was designed to help my fellow students understand the sources of “big” data in the environment, and ways that the information can flow from field to data file.

The presentation was well received and I think produced the intended effect in illustrating the sources of volume, variety, and velocity for environmental data.

One of the more useful outcomes of this assignment was that I produced a collection of bookmarks available for download. The bookmarks are based on the helpful (albeit cumbersome) “Software Tools Catalog” database available from DataONE.  My approach was to bookmark the links Diigo, which allows for long term curation, wider availability, customizable tags, and flexible output, such as an RSS feed like one for the keywork “repository” <>.  A collection can for a particular tag can also be linked to; for example: “visualization”

I should thank Ethan White for his “Most Interesting Man” image that I could not resist borrowing. See for Ethan’s take on “Big Data in Ecology. “


About Tanner Jessel

I am a recent M.S. in Information Science graduate from the University of Tennessee School of Information Science. I was formerly a graduate research assistant funded by DataONE (Data Observation Network for Earth). Prior, I worked for four years as a content lead and biodiversity scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Biodiversity Informatics Program. Building on my work experience in biodiversity and environmental informatics, my work with DataONE focused on exploring the nature of scientific collaborations necessary for scientific inquiry. I also conducted research concerning user experience and usability, and assisted in development of member nodes with an emphasis on spatial data and infrastructure. I assisted with research designed to understand sociocultural issues within collaborative research communities. Through August 1, 2014, I was based at the Center for Information and Communication Studies at the University of Tennessee School of Information Science in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Posted on February 6, 2014, in Big Data Analytics, Coursework. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Nice presentation. I think it’s really valuable to emphasize that most of ecology/environmental science is now in an informatics era in one way or another. Glad you you’re getting some use out of the slide. It’s one of my favorites.

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