Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Data Mining

We are in a time in which information is abundant. Our government monitors information to determine threats to our country. Internet search engines monitor keywords typed as well as websites browsed to better market their advertisers towards the user. There are facilities, schools, companies, and non-profits whose sole objective it to mine for this data for various uses.
Much like the spelunker seeking adventure and information inside caves, data mining can provide information to turn an ordinary trip into a memorable experience.
I am a writer and a photographer. My career allows me to travel extensively. I am fortunate in that regard. With an assignment that takes me to northern Mississippi to shoot several properties as well as cover an Ole Miss baseball game, I decided to add a little more to the trip.
I wanted to find out what was around that location. I wanted to know if there is anything that me being from the Carolinas would not know about, but should. I went mining for data.
Instead of searching for information on where to hunt mountain lion from horseback and gaining a location to work from there, I wanted to find out was there any outdoors activity special to a certain location, specifically around Oxford, Mississippi.
Specific searches are tough to narrow down in this regard. If I were to search for turkey hunting near Oxford for instance, it likely would not identify as to whether there is anything special about hunting turkey there, rather it would likely give me a few public lands, maybe a few guides, and some information from the department of natural resources.
Broad searches are the key to finding that special something that you would miss otherwise. For instance, I searched both hunting Mississippi and fishing Mississippi. The fishing keyword led me to a few more informative leads.
Of course results showed plenty of salt water action, which then caused me to narrow it down a little further. Once I keyed in on freshwater, then plenty of bass fishing links popped up. Information on catfish was prevalent. Alligator gar stories and videos was also available.
I narrowed the searches a little tighter.
And that is where I found it. Story after story, link after link, post after post all offered the same information. I had found an outdoors activity to include with my work while 700 miles from home.
Northern Mississippi and Alabama are not only great places to fish for largemouth bass, but the crappie fishing is top shelf. The area is even known as the ‘Crappie Capital of the World.’ Following up on what I was reading, I checked the International Game Fish Association website for records. Line class after line class record all pointed to the area as being a prime spot for trophy sized crappie.
And I know how to fish for crappie.
The point being, without seeking for the information in a specific manner, I may have never known about the world class crappie fishing in that area.
In North Carolina, we take for granted the knowledge of the striper spawning in the Roanoke River. But for someone from say, Mississippi, they may never have heard of the ‘Rockfish Capital of the World.’
We know with each cast on our coast there is a chance of a red drum weighing over 50 pounds hooking on. But a visitor from New England probably would not.
However, with a little data mining, we can possibly enhance our adventures exponentially.

1 comment:

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