What are Examples of Big Data?

Big data comes from myriad sources -- some examples are transaction processing systems, customer databases, documents, emails, medical records, internet clickstream logs, mobile apps and social networks. It also includes machine-generated data, such as network and server log files and data from sensors on manufacturing machines, industrial equipment and internet of things devices.

In addition to data from internal systems, big data environments often incorporate external data on consumers, financial markets, weather and traffic conditions, geographic information, scientific research and more. Images, videos and audio files are forms of big data, too, and many big data applications involve streaming data that is processed and collected on a continual basis.

Social Media

The statistic shows that 500+terabytes of new data get ingested into the databases of social media site Facebook, every day. This data is mainly generated in terms of photo and video uploads, message exchanges, putting comments etc.

With every stats we share, every article we read or every photo we upload, we are creating a digital trail that tells a story. Here, look at how much data is generated in one minute on social media.

In 60 second, Google receives over 4,000,000 search queries, YouTube users upload 71 hours of new videos, Pinterest users Pin 3,472 photos, Facebook users share, 2,460,000 pieces of content, Twitter users share 277,000 tweet, and Apple users download 48,000 apps.

The global internet population grew 14.3 percent from 2011 - 2013 and now presents 2.4 Billion people.


Big Data powers the GPS smartphone applications most of us depend on to get from place to place in the least amount of time. GPS data sources include satellite images and government agencies.

Airplanes generate enormous volumes of data, on the order of 1,000 gigabytes for transatlantic flights. Aviation analytics systems ingest all of this to analyze fuel efficiency, passenger and cargo weights, and weather conditions, with a view toward optimizing safety and energy consumption.

Big Data simplifies and streamlines transportation through:
  • Congestion management and traffic control - Thanks to Big Data analytics, Google Maps can now tell you the least traffic-prone route to any destination.
  • Route planning - Different itineraries can be compared in terms of user needs, fuel consumption, and other factors to plan for maximize efficiency.
  • Traffic safety - Real-time processing and predictive analytics are used to pinpoint accident-prone areas.

Advertising and Marketing

Ads have always been targeted towards specific consumer segments. In the past, marketers have employed TV and radio preferences, survey responses, and focus groups to try to ascertain people’s likely responses to campaigns. At best, these methods amounted to educated guesswork.

Today, advertisers buy or gather huge quantities of data to identify what consumers actually click on, search for, and “like.” Marketing campaigns are also monitored for effectiveness using click-through rates, views, and other precise metrics.

For example, Amazon accumulates massive data stories on the purchases, delivery methods, and payment preferences of its millions of customers. The company then sells ad placements that can be highly targeted to very specific segments and subgroups.

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