Report to guide policymakers on gridded population data

By on 26 May, 2020
flooding cars

Gridded population datasets have proven invaluable in responding to natural and humanitarian disasters.

A new report aims to promote the use and development of gridded population datasets.

Responding to humanitarian, natural and public health disasters requires knowledge of where people are located, available infrastructure, data about conditions and basic services — institutional knowledge we take for granted in the Global North.

Gridded population data maps have become a tool to make available actionable data in difficult circumstances for such scenarios, including outbreaks of infectious disease.

These datasets represent global population density in a rows and columns of grid cells, typically defined by their coordinates. These are often combined with Earth observation and census data to produce rich insights — but knowledge of these resources is largely absent from governmental data policies, and to date their uptake in the research community is limited.

Titled Leaving No-one Off The Map, this new report aims to turn that around with a case for gridded population and a range of resources to guide their uptake.

The report has been published by the UN’s Sustainable Development Network (UNSDN) Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDS) division, presenting an overview, analysis and recommendations for their use in a broad array of applications, including Covid-19 response and assessing sea-level rise impacts.

The report also compares seven gridded population datasets from the POPGRID Data Collaborative, and presents an intercomparison assessment of the use of different datasets and their varying outputs.

Learn more in the full report [pdf].

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