Here’s an interesting perspective I picked upon today. You see, one of the reasons I moved from Malta to the Isle of Man was because the company I was working made software for banks. It meant that I got to play with databases a magnitude larger than what I was used to. Well, I met a colleague of mine who works for a poker company and he’s sitting on terabytes and terabytes of data.
The interesting thing about data is that the more you have of it, the more interesting things you can do with it. In fact, I love some of the visualisations that can be created using tons of data. Here’s an interesting article showing some examples of Data Visualisation.
One of the more powerful ways of visualisation data is actually using mapping information. I actually find it quite fascinating how populating a map with a layer of aggregated information really makes it pop out and speak to you. What’s interesting about that thought is how it takes me full circle to some work I had done in Malta many many moons ago. I was working on a retail system back then, and we were putting in a loyalty scheme which was quite unique in Malta at that time. Anyway, I had a big customer database full of data and got to play with trends around different outlets we had, customer purchases and their demographics. This was in the 90s, some 20 years ago, and it was a bunch of fun.
Anyway, my mate is sitting on a heck of a lot more data than I have ever seen but at least he has tools which are a class above what I had. My original experiments were performed in a database system called FoxPro which had a rudimentary SQL interface; my friend has access to OLAP and all sorts of new technologies. Must be amazing what he can come up with!