Beyond Borders: Gridded Demographic Data Sets and Web Mapping Applications for Population, Development, and Environmental Research
Lisa Jordan, Drew University
Demographic data form the backbone of most analyses across the social and health sciences, as well as in the applied world of economic development, planning, and foreign aid. However, the weather, conflict, and disease all have a tendency to disobey the map boundaries that leaders and bureaucrats draw in order to govern and collect information about population. The solution, for estimating populations within or across these lines, has been to take a different approach: draw a grid and populate the grid. Improvements in computing and global spatial data infrastructure, everything from satellites to web sites, have led to a tightening in the link between actual population distributions on earth and our ability to estimate, study and forecast cross-boundary populations. This paper compares existing gridded population data sets, web mapping applications that enable a wide variety of users access to such data sets, and their comparative utility in food security analysis.