Jan 27, 2012

Data mining of local print Media for contextual urban planning

By - Anoop Jha

Analyzing vast database of local and regional newspapers

Media is called the mirror of society and it tells the stories of any region and its people as seen and gathered with continuous efforts.  Imagine the amount of data and information media might have gathered collectively in course of decades of exploration, about any particular region, its people, community and their behavior, their needs and aspirations, their strengths and their opportunities, their social and economic dynamics and potentials. 

[Handpicked Books] 

This huge amount of data can be of tremendous importance for planners and policy makers, if filtered and analysed properly. Let’s take print media for the purpose of data mining since it would be easier to dig from the decades of archive, of national, regional and local newspapers.

Collage of print media

What’s the standard way of research for different planning projects? Planners are generally dependent on secondary data in elementary stage and primary data at later stage to arrive at a conclusion in term of what could be the best suitable plan for a city or region. 

When it comes to secondary data collection, most of the time it’s either published reports or online database which is user uploaded content on which they rely. This relevant information may be authentic, may be half baked, may be partially relevant, may be totally wrong or may not be available even.

Local & regional newspapers

What about local print media? Have we forgot to explore the rich and authentic information which the local newspares have generated across a large time span. Though its little tiresome to filter all those relevant information about the particular region or issue from the thousands of chronological issues of dozens of national and regional newspapers and magazines. But no information can be as authentic, precise and relevant as the collective database of this vast landscape of print media not even primary data. Need is to encourage and formalize a methodology to utilize this untapped knowledge of print media for the planning process.
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