The tricky business of acting on live data before it’s too late

Gigaom

For all the talk about big data and how it can help us track down needles in haystacks, there’s still a lot of work to when it comes to issues like public health. When successful intervention might require timelines of minutes or hours rather than days, it takes a might keen eye to monitor lots of needles in lots of haystacks and, more importantly, spot new and important ones as they pop up.

We’ve been following news out of the Global Database of Events, Languages and Tones (GDELT) project for the past several months, and it’s very impressive as a tool for historical analysis of the world’s happenings. It takes and indexes real-time streams from news sources around the world, and now includes hundreds of millions data points spanning the past 35 years. It has been used for all sorts of analyses so far, ranging from tracking the spread of terrorist…

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