Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Where to find high spatial resolution data on population distribution

This post points you to six free sources of high spatial resolution data on population distribution.

1. Gridded Population of the World (GPW) brings population estimates at a resolution of approx. 1km. This dataset results from a collaboration between CIESIN / Columbia University and Sedac / Nasa

2. WorldPop brings population estimates at a resolution of approx. 100 meters for different years. This project goes a bit further as it also includes some population characteristics like age and sex structures, births, pregnancies, and poverty. The project is directed by Andy Tatem and it involves a number of collaborators from the University of Southampton, the University of Oxford, the World Bank and the Flowminder Foundation. They also do a fantastic job in terms of transparency, by getting their data and methods published in peer-review journals.

credit: Worldpop

3. More recently, CIESIN announced they are partnering with Facebook’s Connectivity Lab. The idea of the project is to create the highest resolution maps of population distribution ever created (5 meters) by applying image recognition algorithms to analyze high resolution satellite imagery. The project has already applied this method to 21 countries and the data output is gradually being released for download on their webpage (I thank Rafael Marinho for the pointer)

4. [update Oct 2016] Another source comes from the European Commission and its Global Human Settlement (GHS) framework, which combines fine-scale satellite imagery, census data, and volunteered geographic information. This project brings population estimates at resolutions of 250 meters and 1km approx for different years (1975, 1990, 2000 and 2015). I thank Jim for the pointer.

5. [update Nov 2016] Eurostat and EFGS has also produced population-grid datasets in the years 2006 and 2011 for member countries of the European Union. They use a resolution of 1km and data from population and housing census. I thank Marcin Stepniak for the pointer.

6. Brazilian bonus: IBGE (the Census Bureau of Brazil) has also made publicly available a gridded population dataset with a resolution of 200 meters, which comes from the PhD thesis of Maria do Carmo Bueno at Nepo / Unicamp.