Professor Dame Anne Glover has spent her entire career generating scientific knowledge; knowledge that has, usually, been bought and paid for by the tax payer. As such, she said, “I believe that the tax payer deserves the benefit of the knowledge I generate.” But that payback isn’t always guaranteed.
In an extract from her book, Big Data: Does Size Matter?, Timandra Harkness meets data-based map makers CartoDB to discuss citizen cartographers and the pros and cons of location intelligence.
In 2009 I did a survey of the use of data displays in a number of leading journals and found that, in all of the sciences that I surveyed, the dominant form of data display was the table.1 This is despite the century-old warning of the brothers Farquhar that: “Getting information from a table is like extracting sunbeams from a cucumber.”2
Steven Mark Chaney was convicted in 1987 of the murder of a drug dealer who had been stabbed to death. The evidence against Chaney at his original trial included the testimony of a dental expert who stated that it was virtually certain that Chaney had bit the victim on the arm at some point during the killing – that the bite marks found on the victim’s body were a match to Chaney’s. But where did such certainty arise from – and is it justified?
A 2.7GHz processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 500GB solid state drive that is almost out of space. Quite frankly, the laptop that I am currently working on is getting a bit old. However, thinking back to 1985, and my newly acquired Amstrad CPC6128, I was pretty thrilled with the 4MHz processor, 128K of memory, and a 180K floppy drive. Times, quite clearly, have changed.