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Power of big data to protect the environment revealed in new online course – University of Reading

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Power of big data to protect the environment revealed in new online course

Release Date 19 October 2017

Filming for the IEA online course

From preventing the spread of invasive species to combating devastating droughts, the power of big data will be revealed in a series of free online lessons starting this month.

The new online course by the Institute for Environmental Analytics (IEA) at the University of Reading is entitled ‘Big Data and the Environment’. Participants will get insight from industry experts and research scientists from a range of institutions into potential careers and learn using multimedia resources.

There is a wealth of existing information about the world on offer to scientists, from images recorded by satellites to weather sensor readings and even social media. However, complex analysis of this big data can help identify trends and relationships between different data and therefore aid businesses and policymakers in making decisions.

The course is aimed at professionals seeking a better understanding of environmental big data and the potential it offers to provide novel solutions for businesses and governments.

Among the topics to be explored through film, animations and written exercises are how data is collected, the challenges of working with data, the importance of citizen science projects and turning data into useful visual tools.

Contributors include:

  • Dr Jon Blower, chief technical officer, IEA
  • Prof Min Chen, Professor of Scientific Visualisation Oxford e-Research Centre
  • Prof Ed Hawkins, Professor of Climate Science, University of Reading
  • Dr Victoria Bennett, Science and Technologies Facilities Council
  • Prof David Wallom, Oxford e-Research Centre
  • Paula Marti, Deimos
  • Dr Tom August, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Also featured is IEA’s urban visual data project BOUNTY, which encourages communities to enhance the natural value of their neighbourhoods.


The ‘Big Data and the Environment’ course begins on 30 October and requires three hours of time per week for three weeks. To register, visit the Future Learn website.


About the IEA


The Institute for Environmental Analytics is a world-leading applied research and development organisation, helping customers who understand the opportunities of environmental data analytics to manage risk and improve business.

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