Thanks to attention in the mainstream media, the phrase “big data” is becoming well-known, and is beginning to be discussed more frequently among development practitioners and decision-makers. A steady stream of papers are being published, panel discussions and conferences being hosted. Even the recent High-Level Panel report on the Post-2015 Development Agenda notes the need for better integrating and using “new sources of data” to be a priority.

But, beyond the buzz, much confusion still abounds about what the phenomenon of big data really is (and how it is different from ICT4D or Open Data efforts), and what it means for global development (which is very different than what big data means for the private sector).

In an effort to help shed some light on those questions, the United Nations Global Pulse is pleased to share "Big Data for Development Primer” - a brief introductory guide to big data for the development community.

The guide is a user-friendly summary of a lengthier white paper we published last year. It provides quick definitions, a summary of the main opportunities for global development which big data presents, illustrative case studies, a summary of key challenges to keep in mind when it comes to Big Data, and suggested further reading.


Contributing Partners

Global Pulse
Multilateral Organization
Global Pulse is the United Nations Secretary-General's flagship innovation initiative on big data.

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