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Data Acquisition

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Paper-based data collection has been around as long as humans have had an interest in understanding the world around them — tick marks on parchment were used by ancient civilizations to track food inventory, and in the 1800s the first known census was collected via pen and paper. Now, digital and cloud-based systems for data collection are rapidly increasing, but…

Landsat is without a doubt one of the best sources of free satellite data today. Managed by NASA and the United States Geological Survey, the Landsat satellites have been capturing multi-spectral imagery for over 40 years. The latest satellite, Landsat 8, orbits the Earth every 16 days and captures more than 700 satellite images per day across 9 spectral bands…

If you’re making decisions based just on internal data, you’re already behind the curve. The sudden decline of Blackberry came as a shock to the world. A year before its revenue dropped by nearly half, tech-giant Blackberry recorded the highest number of smartphone sales in its history. In fact, in the same five-year period that the company’s share prices plummeted from…

Today hedge funds use alternative data to shape their investments. Why can’t organizations use it to shape their own future? In the fall of 2015, Chipotle (an American food chain famous for its massive burritos) was rocked by a series of health scares. From August to December, norovirus and salmonella broke out in 19 locations across California, Massachusetts and Minnesota. The…

Numbers are everywhere and drive our day-to-day lives. We take decisions based on numbers, both at work and in our personal lives. For example, an organization may rely on sales numbers to see if it’s succeeding or failing, and a group of friends planning a vacation may look at ticket prices to pick a place. In the social domain, numbers…

Today’s news is filled with stories of data misuse — for example, Cambridge Analytica harvesting personal data via Facebook and Amazon, Facebook’s Android app logging metadata on every call and text, and Grindr revealing its users’ HIV status to third parties. These companies are being roundly criticized for misusing their users’ data. In the midst of this uproar, companies are…

Imagine that you want to understand why your mother loves making pancakes for breakfast. You could sneak around the kitchen, tracking when and how she makes pancakes, or you could just sit down and have a chat with her. Most people would agree that the chat will give a much better answer. If you want to understand people’s beliefs or…

Observational data is a valuable form of research that can give researchers information that goes beyond numbers and statistics. In general, observation is a systematic way to collect data by observing people in natural situations or settings. There are many different types of observation, each with its strengths and weaknesses. Participant vs. Non-Participant Observation Participant observation: the researcher is involved…