Well………….it could be “farming” the most readers and attracting more customers/clients to your company, OR, it could be about documenting plants.
Life itself is the biggest of all big data. The amount of information contained within one leaf is staggering, but the information contained within 6.3 million plant specimens staggers. Currently, those samples are contained in two buildings of the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) in St. Louis. But soon, they will all be online.
Did I say soon? I meant eventually. A team at the Garden, one of the largest repositories of botanical information in the world, is photographing and uploading the samples one leaf, seed, pod and stalk at a time. So far, after reviewing just under 4 million, they have uploaded 160,000 images.
In addition to this morphological data, the Garden also has a DNA data bank, with 11,000 samples. Old collections cannot be tested for their DNA as it would irreparably harm the samples, so the look of the plants is paramount. The Garden, PopSci reports, is “working with the Royal Botanic Gardens in the U.K. to build new imaging equipment to scan the samples in super-high resolution, so botanists can zoom and pan and see detail.” They are also one of the institutions involved in the Encyclopedia of Life, an ambitious product to catalogue every species on earth by 2017.