This blog post from Rhett A Butler for Mongabay.com outlines the use of a new tool, Global Forest Watch, which uses big data to monitor global forests on a monthly basis. Utilising Google’s computing cloud the tool is able to analyse NASA satellite data to produce interactive maps and charts that allow the user to monitor trends in deforestation and forest recovery.
"The result is a high resolution map that reveals annual change in forest cover since 2000. Global Forest Watch integrates data from other sources to generate near-real time alerts akin to the system Brazil has used to help reduce deforestation by nearly 80 percent since 2004. Users — whether they be government authorities, conservationists, members of traditional forest communities, activists, or armchair environmentalists — can set up personalized alerts to generate emails whenever there are signs of deforestation in an area, including municipalities, national parks, or zones defined by the user drawing shapes on a map." (Butler, 2014)
Butler, R. A. (2014, February 20). Revolutionary Google-backed system unlocks power of 'big data' to save forests. Retrieved from http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0220-global-forest-watch.html