Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for Science Applications, traveled to Beijing, China to participate in a meeting of the Scientific Committee of the International Science Council (ISC) World Data System (WDS), hosted May 9–10 by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). At the meeting, de Sherbinin reported on the work of a joint task group of WDS and the ISC Committee on Data (CODATA), Citizen Science Data for the Sustainable Development Goals, which he co-chairs. He also highlighted efforts to develop an online training resource for developing country scholars on research data management. While in Beijing he met with former CIESIN scientist Liu Chuang and former visiting scholar Yuanyuan Yang, both with the CAS Institute for Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR). The WDS Scientific Committee is chaired by Sandy Harrison of the University of Reading in the United Kingdom; de Sherbinin is one of two vice chairs. The NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), for which de Sherbinin serves as deputy manager, is a Regular Member of the WDS.
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Several different meetings in late April addressed the role of scientific data in finding sustainable solutions to challenging global problems. More than 600 experts gathered in Bern, Switzerland, April 24–26 to examine the theme, “Transforming Land Systems for People and Nature,” at the fourth Open Science Meeting of the Global Land Programme. Greg Yetman, CIESIN associate director for Geospatial Applications, helped organize one of the meeting sessions, “Gridded Population and Settlement Data and Models for Integrative Analysis of Land Systems,” which highlighted the growing variety of population and settlement data sets and their potential use in land-related research and applications. He gave the presentation, “The High Resolution Settlement Layer: Improving Population Allocation Methods,” based on data developed with the Connectivity Lab at Facebook. Yetman was also a co-author on three other presentations in the session. The Global Land Programme is an interdisciplinary community of science and practice fostering the study of land systems and the co-design of solutions for global sustainability.
In Vienna, Austria, April 23–25, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) organized the 4th GEO Data Technology Workshop, hosted by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. The workshop explored how to best make available Earth observations-based knowledge for international policy frameworks, including the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Paris Climate Agreement. CIESIN director Robert Chen, in his capacity as co-chair of the Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDS) of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), gave a plenary talk, “United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: New Technologies for the Sustainable Development Goals.” He also participated in a panel on data ethics and governance on the final day of the workshop, giving the presentation, “GEO Data Sharing—Far Beyond FAIR!,″ which highlighted how the GEO community has supported open data sharing well beyond that promoted by the FAIR Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). GEO is an intergovernmental organizaiton with more than 100 Member Countries and over 125 Participating Organizations, working together to coordinate comprehensive and sustained Earth observations for the public good.
Following the GEO workshop, Chen travelled to Bogotá, Colombia for a working meeting of TReNDS, hosted by the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce April 29-30. The meeting included a public session, “Closing Data Gaps for Sustainable Development,” presented in both Spanish and English. During the meeting, Chen reported on progress in developing the POPGRID Data Collective, which is coordinated by CIESIN, TReNDS, and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The meeting was led by TReNDS co-chairs Shaida Baidee of Open Data Watch, Laveesh Bhandari of the Indicus Foundation, and Chen, and included representatives from CEPEI (Centro de Pensamiento Estratégico Internacional) and DANE (National Administrative Department of Statistics of Colombia).
The NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) web site will experience some interruptions on May 1st and 2nd. On May 1st between 3 and 4pm EDT the site will be upgraded to https. No major issues are anticipated, but it is possible that existing bookmarks or links may be affected. On May 2nd between approximately 5pm and 11pm EDT, data downloads and other services requiring NASA Earthdata login will be temporarily unavailable from the site. Any concerns, questions, or issues should be reported to user services personnel at email@example.com.
CIESIN has hired several staff and interns for different projects, and a new scholar is visiting from China.
Joining the Geo-referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID3) project are Justine Dowden, Chisimdi Onwuteaka, Matthew Heaton, and Eniko Kelly. Justine Dowden comes to CIESIN from the Earth Institute, now project manager responsible for coordination, reporting, and managing support of activities planned for countries under GRID3. She is also providing technical support during the design and implementation phases of data collection for developing health infrastructure data systems in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dowden has worked with international aid organizations and non-profits that advance women’s rights globally and domestically, and she has co-led related research. She has a BA in sociology, French, and art history, from Brandeis University, and an MPH from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
Chisimidi Onwuteaka brings communications expertise from her work in Peace Corps South Africa and Americorps to her new role as communications officer for GRID3. She is helping develop materials to inform and support project stakeholders, as part of a comprehensive GRID3 communications strategy between partners. She has a BA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a double major in global studies and public policy, and a minor in public health entrepreneurship.
Former interns Matthew Heaton and Eniko Kelly are now senior research staff assistants. Matthew Heaton has a dual degree in geography and psychology from the State University of New York at Geneseo. Eniko Kelly recently received her MS in geoinformatics from Hunter College, City University of New York, and has a combined BS and MS in geological engineering and applied geo-sciences from the University of Bucharest, Romania, and the University of Leoben, Austria.
Several interns have also joined GRID3, assisting with data downloading, documentation, and exploratory data analyses. Jiayi Fan has a BS in managerial economics and a BA in statistics, from the University of California, Davis; and an MA in quantitative methods in social science from Columbia University. Erin Gregoire is a senior at Columbia College, majoring in sustainable development.
Edna Egal and Mairead Milán are Earth Institute interns for the spring 2019 semester. Egal is supporting the HRSL project, a collaboration with Facebook’s Internet.org, working with geographic information specialist Linda Pistolesi. Egal is a first year student in the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) program, majoring in computer science. Milán is a senior at Columbia College, majoring in sustainable development, and is working on the fifth version of CIESIN’s flagship data product, the Gridded Population of the World (GPW).
Nanshan Li is working with GIS programmer Kytt MacManus and associate director for geospatial applications Greg Yetman on a new project on population modeling using wireless data and nighttime lights data, supported by the Schmidt Futures Foundation. Li is a master’s student in the Data Science Program of the Columbia University Data Science Institute, and has a BS in civil engineering from University of California, Los Angeles.
Visiting from Hohai University in Nanjing, China, for one year is Prof. Yan Sun. She is vice director of the Land Resource Management Institute of Hohai University and consults for the World Bank as a resettlement specialist. While at CIESIN she is working with Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for science applications, focused on her research on the social impact of involuntary resettlement.
CIESIN research scientist Susana Adamo and geographic information specialist Dara Mendeloff participated in the Population Association of America Annual Meeting held April 10–13 in Austin, Texas, where they organized and co-led a one-day workshop on spatial data integration in population-environment research. In addition to the workshop, Adamo was chair of a session on climate change and population health, and participated in two other sessions. Mendeloff presented the paper, “Global Subnational Distribution of Infant Mortality Rates,” co-authored by Adamo, CIESIN deputy director Marc Levy, and associate director for Science Applications Alex de Sherbinin. The paper is based on the updated 2015 version of the Global Subnational Infant Mortality Rates data set released by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN, with more recent and higher resolution input data.
Geographers and other experts from around the world met in Washington DC April 3–7 for the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG). Three panels, organized by the AAG Specialty Groups on Population and Human Dimensions of Global Change, focused on the topic, ″environmental migration, current realities, and future prospects.″ Associate director for Science Applications Alex de Sherbinin gave one of 12 presented papers, summarizing efforts to model climate change-induced migration based on the World Bank′s 2018 Groundswell report. The project continues to examine climate impacts on crop and water resources and the ways in which they may influence internal migration in the future. Sophie Vanwambeke, a geographer visiting CIESIN for one year from Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium, and Sheng Miao, visiting for one year from East China Normal University in Shanghai, also participated in the conference.
CIESIN intern Nanshan Li and the poster she authored and presented as part of the Columbia University Data Science Day, on research for a project on modeling population change in Mexico using wireless device location and nighttime lights data. April 3, 2019, New York City.
As part of Columbia University′s Data Science Day held April 3 at Lerner Hall in Manhattan, CIESIN intern Nanshan Li presented a poster on a project that aims to model population change using new sources of data such as wireless device location and night-time lights data. The poster was one of 36 selected for presentation at the event, which featured keynote speaker Brad Smith, president of Microsoft. The poster described initial analysis of test data available for Mexico, to see if such new data sources could help detect or monitor population change on short to medium time scales. Li is working towards her Master of Science degree in Data Science at Columbia. The poster was co-authored with Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for science applications; Kytt MacManus, CIESIN Senior Systems Programmer; Greg Yetman, associate director for geospatial applications; and Robert Chen, CIESIN director. The project is supported by a grant to the Data Science Institute from the Schmidt Futures Foundation.
The semi-annual plenary of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) drew nearly 500 research data experts to Philadelphia for a series of workshops and sessions under the theme, “With Data Comes Responsibility.” March 31–April 1 and April 4, CIESIN senior digital archivist Robert Downs participated in the RDA workshop, “International Network-of-Networks: Data Experts Workshop (iN2N),” aimed at producing a scientific white paper articulating the complexities of conducting research across international borders with a focus on data use and interoperability. The workshop was organized by Leslie McIntosh-Borrelli of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with support from the U.S. National Science Foundation. CIESIN director Robert Chen also participated in a parallel workshop, “FAIR and Responsible Research Data Management.” Led by Jane Greenberg of Drexel University and Simon Hodson of the Committee on Data (CODATA) of the International Science Council (ISC), the workshop examined how the research data community could expand implementation of the FAIR principles—guidelines for making data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. Chen gave a presentation, “Addressing FAIR through Legal Interoperability: Principles and Practice,” co-authored with Downs, reviewing the legal basis for developing open access data resources through the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN.
Both Downs and Chen then participated in the 13th RDA Plenary April 2–4 at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia. Chen led a discussion on the proposed revised charter for the RDA-CODATA Legal Interoperability Group, which he co-chairs. He also gave the presentation, “Global Fundamental Geospatial Data for Sustainable Development,” in a session on data for sustainable development goals and RDA connections. Downs summarized the work of the Data Granularity Task Force during the Data Discovery Paradigms Interest Group meeting, and co-led sessions on data versioning and on bringing data and computational infrastructures together to support open, reproducible research. Downs and Chen also presented the poster, “Exceeding Legacy Requirements to Meet New Requirements for Trustworthy Data Repositories,” co-authored with Alex de Sherbinin, CIESIN associate director for Science Applications. SEDAC has undergone certification by the ISC World Data System as a trustworthy data repository, to become one of more than 110 member organizations, in the category of Regular Member.
The New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) held a half-day summit, “Science for Decision-Making in a Warmer World: 10 Years of the NPCC,″ at the New York Academy of Sciences March 15 in Manhattan. The summit marked the tenth anniversary since the founding of the NPCC in 2008 as a partnership with New York City and the Academy. It featured the launch of the third NPCC report, a special issue of The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, “Advancing Tools and Methods for Flexible Adaptation Pathways and Science Policy Integration.″ At the event, New York City officials, private sector representatives, and leading climate experts reflected on the importance of independent scientific assessment of climate change impacts affecting the City. Cynthia Rosenzweig of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and the Earth Institute, and William Solecki of Hunter College serve as co-chairs of the NPCC. CIESIN associate director Alex de Sherbinin, who was a contributor to the second NPCC report published in 2015, was one of more than 100 participants at the summit.
The latest update to the Gridded Population of the World data collection, GPW version 4.11, provides access to more than 100 interactive map layers through a Web Map Service (WMS), facilitating visualization through map tools such as the SEDAC Map Viewer. The WMS now includes 78 map layers for population estimates by age and sex categories for the year 2010, enabling users to explore potential differences in the spatial distribution of specific population subgroups. Version 4.11, available from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN, also corrects several technical issues from the previous version, most notably re-coding missing data values.
First developed in 1994, GPW has been used widely to support research, planning, and applications on diverse topics, including energy and water management, disaster and humanitarian response, agriculture and food security, public health, transportation and communications, and urban and coastal zone planning. The recently released age and sex data expand GPW’s usefulness for mapping differential vulnerability and risk, studying urbanization and migration, assessing emergency response and public health needs, and other sustainable development applications. The data are free and downloadable from SEDAC, which also provides detailed documentation, premade maps, and interactive mapping tools. Free registration with NASA's Earthdata system is required to download data and maps.
CIESIN director Robert Chen (center) gives overview of the POPGRID initiative at a side event of the 50th Session of the United Nations Statistical Commission at UN headquarters in New York March 6. The panel discussion was moderated by Claire Melamed of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (right) and included Lisa Bersales of the Philippine Statistics Authority (left).
The United Nations Statistical Commission held its 50th Session at UN headquarters in New York City March 5-8, bringing together representatives of National Statistical Offices from around the world. On March 6, the side event, "Where We Live and Work: The POPGRID Data Collective," drew more than 70 participants to discuss recent progress and unfilled needs for consistent, high resolution population and infrastructure data. CIESIN director Robert Chen opened the session with a brief overview about POPGRID. This was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Claire Melamed, Executive Director of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. Panelists included Lisa Bersales, National Statistician from the Philippine Statistics Authority; Homère Ngoma Ngoma from the Central Bureau of Census at the National Institute of Statistics of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and Pablo Salazar Canelos, Regional Population and Development Advisor from the Regional Office in Panama of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The morning event was organized by CIESIN, the Global Partnership, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDS), and UNFPA. A blog post summarizing the event is available from TReNDS. The POPGRID initiative is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
CIESIN senior research associate Sandra Baptista and deputy director Marc Levy, at a luncheon February 21 where Baptista was among employees of Columbia University at Lamont Campus honored for their 10-year anniversaries. Baptista is co-investigator with Levy of the project, Geo-referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID³), among other duties.
Senior research associate Sandra Baptista was among 11 employees at the Lamont Campus of Columbia University who were celebrated for a 10 year anniversary of service to Columbia, at a special luncheon held February 21 at the restaurant Madeleine’s Petit Paris in Northvale, New Jersey. The occasion was hosted by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory director Sean Solomon and CIESIN deputy director Marc Levy. Baptista is co-investigator with Levy of the project, Geo-referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID³), and co-principal investigator of the Research Translation Core of Columbia University′s Superfund Research Program on Health Effects and Geochemistry of Arsenic, which is supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). She began her tenure at CIESIN as an Earth Institute postdoctoral researcher, expanding on her doctoral research on demographic change, urbanization, vegetation dynamics, and environmental governance in southern Brazil, including the examination of vulnerabilities and adaptation to climate change in Brazil’s coastal city-regions. Her master’s and PhD degrees are in geography from Rutgers University, and she has a BA in environmental studies and Portuguese and Brazilian studies from Brown University.
Intern Matthew Heaton has been promoted to senior research staff assistant in CIESIN′s Geospatial Applications Division. As part of the GRID³ team, Heaton has been focused on integration and validation of health facility and settlement data in provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has also helped develop validation protocols, and a technical manual to guide upcoming field work. Heaton has a dual degree in geography and psychology from the State University of New York at Geneseo, with a background in multimedia and community mapping initiatives.
A new visitor from East China Normal University, Siduo Wu, will spend six months at CIESIN conducting research on scenarios for developing a world-class eco-island in a major coast urban setting, with an emphasis on waterfront resilience issues. She will be working with CIESIN director Robert Chen and associate director for science applications, Alex de Sherbinin. Wu has a bachelor’s degree from Fujian Normal University and an anticipated master’s degree from East China Normal University, both in physical geography.
An updated version of the Global Subnational Infant Mortality Rates (IMRv2) data set has been released by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN, with more recent (circa 2015) and higher resolution input data. IMR data have been collected for 234 countries and territories, of which 143 include subnational units and 91, mostly smaller nations, include only national units. Compared to version one of the Global IMR data set, which was benchmarked to the year 2000, version two has 78 more countries with subnational data, and the average input unit size has declined. As a georeferenced global subnational dataset of infant mortality rates, IMRv2 has many potential applications that may be of interest to a wide user community in interdisciplinary studies of health, development, sustainability, and the environment, as well as policy making. The IMRv2 data set is part of the SEDAC Poverty Mapping collection, an extensive group of data sets related to various aspects of the geographic distribution of people living in poverty.
Advisory Committee Convenes in Switzerland to Address Next Steps for Platform on Disaster DisplacementFebruary 11, 2019
Susana Adamo, CIESIN research scientist, participated in the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) Advisory Committee Workshop held February 4–5 in Bogis Bossey, Switzerland, near Geneva. This third meeting of the committee was focused on defining the next phase of the PDD, and involved participants sharing their latest work on disaster displacement. Adamo also took part in a meeting of the PDD′s Data and Knowledge Working Group (DKWG), where the work plan for the next three years was discussed.
Adamo has served on the PDD Advisory Committee with Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for science applications, since 2016. The PDD continues the work of the Nansen Initiative, providing strategic guidance to the PDD chair and steering group, and helping implement PDD activities. Based in Geneva, the PDD is supported by the governments of France, Germany, and Switzerland; and by the MacArthur Foundation.
Barbara Ryan, former secretariat director of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and a Geospatial Hall of Fame awardee, is the new chair of the User Working Group (UWG) of the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN. With a multi-disciplinary academic background in geology, geography, and civil engineering, Ryan’s illustrious career spanned oversight of all US Geological Survey programs and policies associated with national mapping and remote sensing, including Landsat satellites; assignments in the U.S. Department of the Interior; and directing the space program at the World Meterological Organization, prior to her tenure at GEO, from which she is retired. She replaces Myron Gutmann, of the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado. Two new members have also joined the UWG: Brian O'Neill, University of Denver; and Navin Ramankutty, University of British Columbia. O’Neill is a professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and director of research at the School’s Pardee Center for International Futures. His research interests are in human-environment interactions, in particular the relationship between future societal development, greenhouse gas emissions, and climate change impacts. Ramankutty is an agricultural geographer and professor of global food security and sustainability at the University of British Columbia, studying changes in land use and agricultural practices, and the effect on global food production. Ramankutty has contributed multiple data sets to SEDAC, including the cropland and pastureland data sets of the Global Agricultural Lands data collection, and he was co-author with Erle Ellis of the Anthropogenic Biomes of the World data collection.
The UWG provides guidance to SEDAC on user needs and priorities, drawing on the diverse expertise and experience of its members.
CIESIN information technology staff travelled to Washington DC recently to learn about the latest geographic information system (GIS) technologies and trends showcased by the software giant Esri at its annual gathering for developers, the 2019 Esri Developers Summit DC, held January 31 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. CIESIN associate director for information technology Sri Vinay, senior systems analyst and programmer Frank Pascuzzi, and senior media designer Al Pinto focused on innovative technologies and best practices for improving the organization’s capabilities for Esri’s ArcGIS, the GIS software used widely by today’s geospatial community. The overall goal is to improve the infrastructure that supports geospatial data development, mapping, and the implementation of geoprocessing services at CIESIN and its main program, the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center, including the development of web and mobile mapping applications.
Earth science data creators, system developers, stewards, disseminators, and users met in Bethesda, Maryland, for the Winter Meeting of the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) January 14–17. Beginning in 2019, the theme of the ESIP meetings, held twice a year, is “Increasing the Use and Value of Earth Science Data and Information.” Robert Downs, CIESIN senior digital archivist, participated in the meeting, representing the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Application Center (SEDAC), one of the original ESIP members. During the business meeting of the ESIP Assembly on January 16, Downs was re-elected as the Type 1 Representative on the ESIP Governance Committee. At the meeting, he presented the poster, “Assessing Data Curation at a Scientific Data Center,″ authored with Robert Chen, CIESIN director and SEDAC manager, and Alexander de Sherbinin, CIESIN associate director for Science Applications and SEDAC deputy manager.
More than 24,000 Earth scientists and other experts traveled to Washington DC December 9-14 for the annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) fall meeting, held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The meeting provided a unique opportunity to showcase recent developments in research, data, and tools developed by CIESIN and its partners and to network with a diverse community of scientists, policy experts, and practitioners. CIESIN director Robert Chen organized and co-chaired two sessions highlighting innovations in mapping human settlements, population, and infrastructure, and gave three presentations on the integration of socioeconomic and remote sensing data in support of sustainable development research and applications, including a “flash talk” at NASA′s exhibit booth. Senior digital archivist Robert Downs co-chaired sessions in the Earth and Space Science Informatics (ESSI) and Education tracks, and co-authored a number of oral, “e-lightning,” and poster presentations on various data management topics. He also served as a judge for student papers in the ESSI track. GIS programmer Kytt MacManus described CIESIN′s decision support tools for flood and sea level rise planning and presented a poster on the geoprocessing services and Web mapping tools available from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN. Associate research scientist Sylwia Trzaska described her work on climate adaptation planning and as leader of a new project under way to map hard-to-reach populations in rural mangrove areas of West Africa. Greg Yetman, associate director for geospatial applications, presented the latest results from CIESIN′s collaboration with Facebook on high resolution population mapping, and contributed to a number of other presentations by CIESIN staff members and partners.
The meeting also provided the opportunity for CIESIN to hold an informal side meeting of the POPGRID Data Collective December 14 at the Henley Park Hotel. The meeting brought together more than 20 experts from the Washington DC area to review progress and develop plans for the next phase of POPGRID, which has received additional funding support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
CIESIN has released a new Web site and mapping tool designed to help users learn about the growing number of gridded population data sets, and make decisions about which data sets may be the most useful for their needs. The POPGRID web site and viewer were developed under the auspices of the POPGRID Data Collective, an initiative launched by CIESIN in 2017 with support from the Earth Institute, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC). The POPGRID web site provides users with detailed background information and documentation, as well as direct links to the data and data sources.
The POPGRID Viewer incorporates a four-panel display of population count data available from six different data sets: the Gridded Population of the World (GPWv4.10) 2015 count developed by SEDAC; Landscan 2015 developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory; WorldPop Estimates 2014 from the WorldPop project; Global Human Settlement Population Grid 2015 (GHS-POP) developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and CIESIN; the Esri World Population Estimate 2016 (WPE); and the High Resolution Settlement Layer (HRSL) developed by the Facebook Connectivity Lab and CIESIN. Users may zoom in on a location of interest anywhere in the world and see the population estimates for four of the six data sets at the same time. A single-panel mode lets users compare national-level metadata across the data sets and draw a polygon or rectangle to obtain an intercomparison table and chart containing customized estimates from all six population data sets (when available). Users of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) may also supply a shapefile to obtain the population estimates for a specific region with a complex shape.
Direct comparison of these data sets is important because they are based on different data sources and methodologies that may affect their usability for different purposes. For example, the GPWv4.10 data are based solely on Census data for subnational administrative units, assuming a uniform distribution of population even in large rural districts. Other data sets utilize high-resolution remote sensing data combined with machine-learning algorithms to allocate population to built-up areas. In addition, some data sets use additional inputs such as distance from roads, slope, and other factors to model population distribution at high resolution. The data sets also differ in the time periods covered, the quality and consistency of inputs in different regions, and the demographic characteristics estimated (e.g., age groups). These differences may make the data more useful for some applications, such as assessing potential exposure to extreme events or climate change, but less useful for others, such as estimating the number of vaccines needed in an area of interest.
The POPGRID Data Collective was established to bring together and expand the international community of data providers, users, and sponsors concerned with georeferenced data on population, human settlements, and infrastructure. POPGRID seeks to promote cooperation and reduce overlap in producing data, and to encourage trans-disciplinary use and development of data, among other related goals. CIESIN led the initial phase of POPGRID, and is working with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) and the Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDS) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) to initiate a second phase of POPGRID with support from BMGF. POPGRID is also contributing to the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Human Planet Initiative, which aims to improve the quality and accessibility of data needed for assessing humanity’s impact on the planet, access to resources, and exposure to risk.
Two Webinars led recently by CIESIN staff featured data products distributed by the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) managed by CIESIN. The November 14 NASA Earthdata Webinar, “Mapping Global Urbanization from Landsat Data and High-Resolution Reference Data,” was led by Sri Vinay, Information Technology associate director, with scientist Eric Brown de Colstoun from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. It featured the SEDAC data sets Global Man-made Impervious Surface (GMIS) and Human Built-up and Settlement Extent (HBASE), along with an associated data visualization and access tool. Nearly 200 individuals participated.
For a World Wide Human Geography Data (WWHGD) Working Group Webinar held November 27, Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for Science Applications, gave a presentation on the data and methods behind a recent World Bank report, Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration. Several SEDAC data sets were mentioned during the Webinar, including Gridded Population of the World (GPWv4) and Anthropogenic Biomes, as well as Global Population Projection Grids Based on SSPs, v1 (2010 – 2100).
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