Global Pulse is exploring innovative methods and frameworks for combining new types of digital data with traditional indicators to track global development in real-time.
As communities across the world increasingly adopt and use new technologies and related services, they generate massive amounts of ambient data. Some data we create and choose to share publicly through digital news media, blogs, forums, and social networking sites. There is also “data exhaust” - that is, the digital trails we leave behind in data merely as a by-product of living our daily lives, using digital services to buy or sell goods, or search for information. This data is generated automatically as people interact with one another and with technology. Data exhaust can be used to analyze trends in our collective preferences, struggles and overall wellbeing, What makes this opportunity so unique is that this analysis can be done in real-time, to help improve the timeliness of actionable evidence used in decision-making around population resilience. This process offers enormous promise for increasing efficiency in targeting development programs.
The ability to mine rich new data sources in real time, in concert with traditional monitoring approaches, has the potential to revolutionize global development. Global Pulse has engaged in a series of collaborative research projects with private sector and academic partners as well as UN agencies to explore how digital data and real-time analytics could provide new insights into how populations are impacted by, and cope with, socio-economic stress.