Data from out of space
Steve Brignall, Scisys
Steve Brignell from Scisys has shown us how massive the data is that comes from space, it's huge and every one of us relies on it for everything;
- Google maps
- Finding your phone, etc...
Its also the only way that aid agencies can navigate after a tsunami to find survivors and provide them with support.
The satellites that feed these things are vital for our modern life, they aggregate literally masses of data, ensuring the data flows and ensuring that we are able to make sense of it all is a big job.
Before you get to the collection of the data; the design, the process and all of the policies and controls necessary to master this volume of information relies upon all aspects of records and information management practice;
Records Management and Document Control is essential when managing the design documentation and all of the associated processes necessary to ensure a complete and reliable memory of how we got to the point where we can access data fed from a project such as Voyager.
Voyager was launched in 1977 (before we even had proper wordprocessers) and is now 18.5 billion kilometres away, the data takes 65 hours to reach us on earth and the longest distance file transfer renders earth a single blue pixel.
Once in space, all kinds of software and systems are used to capture and manage the records created by a space probe yet the constraints in space are much larger than in any of our organisations;
- It takes years for a spacecraft to land
- There are no Internet protocols
- Data storage and bandwidth are at a premium
- The probe usually has a short life (Huygens lasted 3 hours)
- Missions last longer than the staff
- The software can't be changed after launch
- Commands cannot be revoked
- Errors cannot be fixed
Despite this the data is still required and must be usable (and the security constraints are beyond anything you can imagine)!
We all work within various constraints in our organisations, we all face barriers and issues when trying to ensure that information is available, reliable and usable.
5.5b euros is the price of Galileo, Europe agreed that all of these constraints were worth that level of investment.
As Information and Records Management Professionals there is a huge amount we can learn from the work of organisations like SCISYS, they manage literally masses of data over long periods of time, from all over the world which it shares with partners all over the world. It is transferred using analogue as well as digital processes, it has to be retained forever and it's capture devises are space probes.
Steves' slides will be available via the conference pages for our delegates after conference and shared via the bulletin and IRMS blogs throughout the year.