ISDE co-sponsor a Big Data Workshop

ISDE co-sponser a significant, high-level Workshop on Big Data of the CODATA for International Scientific Programmes: Challenges and Opportunities to be held in Beijing, China, on 8-9 June 2014.

The workshop is designed to provide a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges of ‘Big Data’ for international collaborative science programmes, including ICSU-sponsored programmes such as Future Earth and Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR), as well as international initiatives such as the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE), and initiatives sponsored by the Belmont Forum. The results of the workshop will also help set an agenda for CODATA activities on Big Data for international science.

Harnessing the Big Data Age for International Science

Rapid advances in technology are radically changing the way in which data are being collected, used, and stored. Digital data are gathered, replicated, moved, and processed more quickly and in greater volumes than ever before. As new information technologies, sensors, and communication networks develop, the range and complexity of scientific data continue to grow. With data volumes expanding beyond the petabyte and exabyte levels across many scientific disciplines, the capacity for storage and preservation and for long-term use may be exceeded in many fields. Above all, the opportunities to extract information from complex data sources from diverse disciplines offers compelling reasons to embrace the new scientific methods and approaches of ‘Big Data’ and data-driven research.

In a world dealing with growing populations, pressing economic and social needs, natural and technological hazards, and climate change, there is a clear need for more, robust and high-quality data—along with new analytics and models and faster delivery and visualization of information—to support evidence-based decision making and risk management by a wide range of stakeholders. There are lessons to be learned, both positive and negative, from big data efforts in genomics, business, astronomy, and other fields that can be applied in developing Future Earth, IRDR, and other programmes and in ensuring that these initiatives have greater and more lasting impacts than they might otherwise have.