818 Mega, Giga, Tera etc

When researching 819 Artificial Intelligence, good or bad I came across DARPA. That blew my mind! 

I know a little bit about the digital universe and I have worked with digital imagery for about twenty years. In photography cameras use megapixels (mp), millions of pixels. So a 10 mp camera captures 10.000.000 (ten million) pixels to generate a photo. That is good enough for many smart phone cameras ... a DSLR will probably use 25 mp, or 50mp or even 100mp for the very upmarket, medium format ones ... anyway, I go into much detail about this in my book ZEN Photoart.

But this military grade digital video surveillance system uses 1.8 gigapixels. That is 1.800.000.000 (giga = billion) pixels per frame, of which there are 12 per second.

DARPA and the US Army have taken the wraps off ARGUS-IS, a 1.8-gigapixel video surveillance platform that can resolve details as small as six inches from an altitude of 20,000 feet (6km). ARGUS is by far the highest-resolution surveillance platform in the world, and probably the highest-resolution camera in the world, period.

ARGUS, which would be attached to some kind of unmanned UAV (such as the Predator) and flown at an altitude of around 20,000 feet, can observe an area of 25 square kilometers (10sqmi) at any one time. If ARGUS was hovering over New York City, it could observe half of Manhattan. Two ARGUS-equipped drones, and the US could keep an eye on the entirety of Manhattan, 24/7.

As you would expect, this got me really going: Now, how much data is that per second and per day? Here's the answer ...

1.8 billion pixels, at 12 fps, generates 600 gigabits per second. This equates to around 6 petabytes - or 6,000 terabytes - of video data per day.

... and me, in my little home-office, filled a 15 terabyte hard drive in about one and a half years with video for our Unity Gym. I thought that was a lot of tb used, and I started freaking out when I ran out of space early in the year.

I used 15 tb/year; one surveillance system in the US military uses 6,000 tb/day. 

This information led me to the next question of course: How much data is produced around the world every day? The quick answer is five million tb; that amounts to some 1.8 billion terabytes = 1.800.000.000 tb/year = 1.8 zettabytes.

It is estimated the total amount of data in the world was 4.4 zettabytes in 2013 = (4,400,000,000 terabytes); that is set to rise steeply to 44 zettabytes by 2020. Putting that in perspective: One zettabyte is equivalent to 44 trillion gigabytes.

I thought you'd like to know.