Innovative data gathering and data presentation

I have a fascination with data — how it is collected and how it can be presented well. Two data-related articles this week which caught my attention: First, UNESCO released a map of “hidden water,” a high resolution map that shows where underground aquifers of freshwater are located throughout the world. Freshwater aquifers, which can be rechargeable but are not always so, contain 100 times the amount of fresh water available in surface sources at any given time. The UNESCO map shows just how many of these aquifers are located across country borders, underscoring the pressing need for global legislation on managing these water sources. Second, Google announced that it may be able to improve upon current methods to predict outbreaks of the flu by a week to 10 days by using data about where people are searching for information about flu symptoms and treatments. Google Flu Trends charts the frequency of such searches over time and across the US. A very clever use of all the data that Google has in its possession, but which also leads me to wonder how all this data could be used if Google were not so benevolent.


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