Microcensus sampling domains: the role of remotely sensed human settlement data

Authors: Eric Weber*, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Topics: Remote Sensing, Population Geography
Keywords: population, settlement mapping, sampling
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Studio 10, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Recent advances in human settlement mapping using high resolution satellite imagery have opened the door to novel sampling approaches for population estimation at a small fraction of the cost of a full national census. This talk will cover the design of residential sample surveys using remotely sensed human settlement data as a continuous areal sampling domain within which population density can be measured in small zones at random locations. A collaborative effort between Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and eHealth Africa has to date designed and executed microcensus surveys of 14 states in Nigeria and 4 provinces in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), generating a database of population observations for 1141 microcensus enumeration zones (MEZs) in Nigeria and 528 MEZs in DRC. A complete population tally was recorded for each MEZ (which are approximately 3 hectares in area) by visiting and surveying every household. High resolution settlement data produced using ORNL’s Settlement Mapper Tool (SMT) was critical for constraining the sampling domain only to inhabited areas—nearly 98% of the land area of the sampled states/provinces was excluded from the sampling domain. Various approaches to estimation from the survey data will be presented, including creating gridded population layers, design-unbiased interval estimation for the sampled administrative units, and examples of simulation and model-based approaches for estimating populations for small areas or for interpolating/extrapolating outside of the sampling domain(s).

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