Troops going out for their morning patrol strap on combat helmets, armored tactical vests and other protective devices to counter the ever-present possibility of injury in hostile territory. Many mount shielded vehicles designed to thwart the devastation wrought by rocket-propelled grenades, mines and the like.
Increasingly, medical and equipment researchers are adding another layer that will help protect future combatants—Big Data. At least two separate projects are collecting reams of information on trauma sustained by improvised explosive devices and other battlefield injuries. The object: to suss out equipment improvements, more effective treatments and better patient outcomes.
Trees don’t make work easy for the scientists who want to study them and the landscapes they create, since the leaves, fruits and flowers of a forest’s canopy generally stretch far above human reach. So, a team of researchers is turning to drones, programming these pilot-less flying machines to buzz over forests while snapping pictures.
“I flip the switch on the controller and away it goes on its own,” says Jonathan Dandois, a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, as he launched a drone over a patch of forest on campus on an overcast October day. “It will climb up to about 100 meters above and will continue on its route.”
PBS web series Off Book has produced a short, compelling video called “The Art of Data Visualization,” which showcases powerful presentations of complex data. Nuances in such information might be lost without displaying it visually.
"Humans have a powerful capacity to process visual information, skills that date far back in our evolutionary lineage," the team behind the video write. "And since the advent of science, we have employed intricate visual strategies to communicate data, often utilizing design principles that draw on these basic cognitive skills. In a modern world where we have far more data than we can process, the practice of data visualization has gained even more importance."
Top Image: Hurricanes and Tropical Storms Since 1851 courtesy of data visualization expert John Nelson and IDV Solutions. See the full-sized image here.