By Anjul Bhambhri
It’s estimated that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day from sources such as email and collaboration tools, including posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, and purchase transactions, just to name a few.
As the tools for making sense of Big Data become more widely – and more expertly – applied, and the types of data that are available for analysis diversify, the opportunity to use Big Data for social good intensifies. These massive datasets can be leveraged to better serve both the billions of people who generate the data, and ultimately the societies in which they live.
With this goal in mind, IBM launched its Big Data for Social Good Hadoop Challenge a few months ago. We called on developers from around the world to use their development skills and Hadoop to create an application that would help solve civil and other real world social challenges.
As added incentive, the Winning Team, First Runner-Up, and Second Runner-Up would receive cash prizes of up to $20,000 and every team that submitted a valid solution/app would receive a $100 donation to www.plantabillion.org in their name.
I’m happy to say that the response has been fantastic, with apps submitted from the development community covering everything from tracking the flu, improving bus schedules, mapping biking routes, and rating city restaurants.
Our finalists spent the past several months hammering out code to create some incredible applications. We determined the following apps best met the challenge: “How would you save the world?”
Grand Prize: Watch Flu Spread
Matt Gillam and Alec McGail took first prize with “Watching the Flu Spread,” an application that uses visualization of the flu displayed on a map of the U.S. showing both historic and forecasted dispersion of flu incidents in the U.S. to gain a better understanding of risk in their area.
First Runner Up: Juvo
Latin for “to aid, assist”, Rob Campanell’s Juvo aids and assists in setting social and economic development plans with realistic achievable goals and metrics to measure those goals.
Second Runner Up: Oasis
Ben Gawlsky submitted “Oasis: Finding an Available Oasis in a Business Desert,” an app that analyzes the City of Chicago’s database of business licenses to study other essential needs, the business types that fill them and to identify any deserts that exist for those
Fan Favorite: NYC Highway Analytics
Mahesh Das developed an application that visually represents events around a specified radius of 1 kilometer, when a CitiBike city bike rider drives through a geographical path in NYC, tracking things such as real-time accidents, 311 call, and Wi-Fi availability.
Congratulations to all the developers and data enthusiasts who took a deep dive into real world civic issues using big data and IBM Bluemix’s Analytics for Hadoop service.
Find more information on the winning apps here.