Meteorological Observations, the Telegraph, and Metcalfe’s Law

U.S. War Department, U.S. Army Signal Service Weather Map, September 1, 1872 (Courtesy of NOAA Photo Library)

U.S. War Department, U.S. Army Signal Service Weather Map, September 1, 1872 (Courtesy of NOAA Photo Library)

Today in 1870, the U.S. Weather Bureau made its first meteorological observations using 24 locations that provided reports via telegraph. For the first time, weather observations from distant points could be “rapidly” collected, plotted, and analyzed at one location. It’s a great example of how the value of information increases when it’s shared or what Metcalfe’s Law should have been about. Instead, Metcalfe’s Law tries to capture the increase in the value of the network  as more users join it. What flows over the network is more important and interesting than the network itself. Of course, what Metcalfe was selling when he used the formula (later called Metcalfe’s Law by George Gilder) was a network card and the pioneering idea of local-area-networks. At that time, the major perceived benefit of networking PCs was not sharing information, but sharing a printer…

See also Big Data in the Age of the Telegraph and “What Has God Wrought?”: A Love Story and Bob Metcalfe, October 2009

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About GilPress

I launched the Big Data conversation; writing, research, marketing services; http://whatsthebigdata.com/ & https://infostory.com/
This entry was posted in Big Data, Telegraph, This day in information. Bookmark the permalink.

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