Big data has the potential to significantly impact the medical and scientific arenas, but it can also shed light on anthropological activity. As the Chinese New Year is in full swing, China’s largest search engine — thought to be the Google of the East — has harnessed its big data scale to map the movements of the Chinese population migrating to other parts of the country for the holiday.
Baidu’s map uses location-based technology to track the travels of the 200 million registered users, of which 3.5 million request location positions every day, according to reports. The tech itself is gathered from smartphone usage, and it updates in real time every four to eight hours. A total of 3.6 billion trips are expected to be made by the time the holiday is over.
The mapping of such massive amounts of human movement is precisely the kind of thing big data handles, the importance of which we have discussed as vital for advancements in medicine such as disease control.
Tech In Asia reported a few specific stats gleaned from the map’s metrics:
- The most popular destination is Beijing, followed by Chongqing. The hub cities in Hunan and Guangxi provinces tie for third.
- Beijing is also the most popular city to leave, followed by Shanghai and Guangzhou.
- The trip both to and from Chengdu and Beijing take up the top two most popular routes.