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Advances in Subnational Population Mapping

Authors: Joshua Comenetz*, U.S. Census Bureau
Topics: Population Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: population geography, gridded, census, humanitarian, disasters
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2020
Start / End Time: 5:35 PM / 6:50 PM
Room: Virtual Track 8
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The U.S. Census Bureau provides international, geo-enabled population data sets, based on census and survey data, administrative geography, and satellite imagery analysis.

Our primary goal is to develop the geo-demographic data sets needed to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts worldwide, but Census Bureau data products have a range of applications in government, education, research, and the nonprofit sector. We have released population data and administrative geography for more than 25 countries online at The demand for and utility of these data for crisis response have been demonstrated, most notably by users of our Haiti products after the 2010 earthquake.

The Demobase gridded mapping program creates accurate, high-resolution population map layers at national scale, based on census data, satellite imagery, and a range of ancillary data. We recently completed population layers for South Sudan, the fourth Demobase country after Haiti, Pakistan, and Rwanda. South Sudan is unusually difficult for gridded mapping because of its lack of current census data, largely rural population, and extensive recent changes in population distribution. The gridded map layers show population distribution in great detail and provide insights into how population clusters near landscape features such as rivers.

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