By Ian Cook (@ianmcook), Data Scientist, TIBCO Spotfire

The world is swimming in data. A vast, open sea of information is everywhere, saturating our everyday lives and shaping the way we make educated business decisions.

Now that this year’s Shark Week has just wrapped up, we chomped at the opportunity to take a deeper look at shark attack data to see what insights might surface.

Before the arrival of systematic data collection and big data analytics, human understanding of sharks was largely shaped by Hollywood movies that portrayed sharks as bloodthirsty and ruthlessly intelligent creatures.

But how much have real data insights impacted our knowledge of how sharks live – and why they attack?

“We’re learning things that 10 years ago we would have never dreamed we could have learned about these species,” says Nick Whitney, marine biologist at OCEARCH, a non-profit organization tracking global shark data, in Computerworld.

OCEARCH researchers gather streams of data – 100 data points every second, or 8.5 million per day – on location, speed, depth, and water temperature information from a series of dorsal fin tags that report back to the OCEARCH shark-tracking website in real time.

By understanding more about shark behaviors, OCEARCH aims to improve conservation efforts and reduce the number of shark attacks by boosting awareness through the analyzed data.

In the example linked below, we use TIBCO Spotfire to easily visualize a publicly available data set from The Global Shark Attack File, answering questions on the frequency and variety of shark attacks worldwide, like:

  • Are males or females more likely to be fatally attacked by sharks?
  • Do shark attacks primarily tend to be provoked or unprovoked?
  • What are the top global geographic regions for attacks, and where are you most likely to survive if attacked?
  • Do blockbuster shark movies correlate with higher reported attacks around the times they are released in theaters?

To see our interactive Shark Week shark attack analysis, visit here or see below:

This visualization was originally published on Data Informed.

Do you have an interesting Shark Week data visualization built using Spotfire and the free data set linked above? Share it with us on Twitter at @TIBCO using the hashtag #SharkWeek!

Next Steps:

  • Try Spotfire and start discovering meaningful insights in your own data.
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