Everything happens in space and time. From natural disasters to human catastrophes; from public health to energy sustainability; from urban growth to food security; 21st-century challenges call for a deep understanding of how the phenomena are linked in space and time. Solutions to these grand challenging issues require trailblazing new thinking, methodology and tools, integrating natural sciences, social sciences, earth sciences and biosciences.
With funding from the Sloan Foundation and Harvard Dataverse, the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA) has developed a prototype spatio-temporal visualization platform dubbed "the BOP" (Billion Object Platform). The first goal of the BOP is to provide the Dataverse platform with an API-accessible big data exploration tool which can support streaming data.