Here at eSpatial we are very interested in the subjects surrounding big data, data management and data visualization. After all, our goal is to help businesses and organizations make the most of data of any kind by turning it into engaging and useful visuals. (You can see examples of how we do this here.)

The volume, velocity and variety of data created in the modern digital world is truly astounding. Here are some facts and figures I've come across in the last while that illustrate that point.

1. The volume of data created by U.S. companies alone each year is enough to fill ten thousand Libraries of Congress.

Library of data

2. According to McKinsey – a retailer using big data to the full could increase its operating margin by more than 60%. (

3. Zuckerberg noted that 1 billion pieces of content are shared via Facebook's Open Graph daily. (

Map Facebook data

4. Google's Eric Schmidt claims that every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003 (

5. Bad data or poor data quality costs US businesses $600 billion annually.

6. According to Gartner Big data will drive $232 billion in spending through 2016.

7. 48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, resulting in nearly 8 years of content every day (Source)

8. Data collection volume increased by 400% in 2012, from an average of 10 collection events per page to 50 (

Google data management

9. By 2015, 4.4 million IT jobs globally will be created to support big data, generating 1.9 million IT jobs in the United States.

10. 70% of data is created by individuals – but enterprises are responsible for storing and managing 80% of it.

11. By 2020 one third of all data will be stored, or will have passed through the cloud, and we will have created 35 zetabytes worth of data.

12. 1.5 million more data-savvy managers are needed to take full advantage of big data in the United States (

13. There was an estimated 1.8 zettabytes of business data in use in 2011 up by 30 percent from 2010.

14. The Obama administration in the US announced $200 million in new R&D investments for "Big Data" initiative in 2012.

15. Stacking a pile of CD-ROMs on top of one another until you'd reached the current global storage capacity for digital information would stretch 80,000 km beyond the moon (

CD rom data

16. Up to 80% of the 247 billion email messages sent each day is spam.

17. There are nearly as many pieces of digital information as there are stars in the universe.

18. A survey reported that more than 37.5% of large organizations said that analyzing big data is their biggest challenge.

19. Visualization is in demand because it makes data-analysis easier. An InformationWeek Business survey found 45% of the 414 respondents cited "ease-of-use challenges with complex software/less-technically savvy employees" as the second-biggest barrier to adopting BI/analytics products. (


Clearly "big data" is a hot topic and getting a lot of media and business attention for all the right reasons. However, all of these numbers highlight one fact – organizations need people, processes and systems to help them turn raw data into useful information and informed action.

The coming years will decide if these vast zetabytes of data created everyday can be really be used to reduce costs and optimize operations for all kinds of organizations.

Philip O'Doherty
Written by

Philip O'Doherty

Philip O'Doherty has been the driving force behind eSpatial's success as CEO for the last 17 years. A holder in Masters in both Financial Control and Management Practice; Philip has taken the company from a traditional enterprise only sale through to enabling its current SaaS success. Throughout that time Philip has embodied the driven customer focus of the business as well as a deep domain knowledge of the required mapping and technology.

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