Are you data rich and information poor?

We are living in an era of big and voluminous data of a huge variety. You are possibly drowning in tables and data portals at work that are supposed to provide you with the answers you need. Data is no longer the preserve of government. It’s not just a luxury for larger companies. Data availability, processing capacity and visualisation techniques have changed everything.

We can put data straight into a table or onto a map, but does that really become information?  What is often missing are models and tools to answer questions and offer insight to your issues. Not only to look at patterns, but to understand key factors of underlying processes. It is then that you can use the information to guide decision making.

But whilst models and tools are great, we should be mindful to find the most parsimonious method for the job. We use analysis tools to address a problem; nobody’s problem is that they need big data or machine learning. Whilst deep learning, advanced statistics and gathering large datasets may be the best solution in some instances, the most effective and useful analysis may be much simpler. One where we don’t add to the entropy of even more data and less information.

At Geofutures we have years of experience interpreting a brief and finding the right tool for the job; and we go one step further. Whilst data science is fast developing to address the information issue, there may be many spatially explicit problems being missed. Our analysis specialises in understanding the spatial aspect of real-life processes.

Whatever domain your research question covers, there are tools and methods to create some information. We can:

  • analyse relationships between factors
  • test the strength of relationships
  • understand local variations
  • analyse trends over time

All in the context of geography and space. And for good measure, the end result might be a colourful map.

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