Data Spotting

August 3, 2018

The basics of CI call for effective collection of relevant data. In the past, I have been involved in the typical “counting cars” data collection, including studying aerial photos of huge chemical plants, and hiring people to count trucks coming and going at a construction site.

Now that kind of data collection, at least some of that data collection, is becoming easier. Consider the following reports in Bloomberg Businessweek[1]:

  • One company now offers data from around 200 satellites, public and private, that allows for the identification and tracking of many things by geographic area. The article pitches the ability to monitor all the parking lots for Six Flags, the amusement park operator. Full lots = profits; empty lots = losses.
  • Another firm’s satellites focus on the heights of the lids on oil tanks throughout the world. The goal? Provide data on oil supplies and sales where “official statistics are incomplete or untrustworthy”.

Of course, the data from these satellite services is not free and it still must be processed and analyzed, but it sure beats sitting in a car at Six Flags Over Texas, counting cars for three days, doesn’t it?

[1] Eric Roston, “The View From Way Up”, Bloomberg Businessweek, July 30, 2018, pp. 46-9.