Introduction to Population Grids and their Integration with Remote Sensing Data for Sustainable Development and Disaster Management



Tue, 30 Mar - Tue, 6 Apr 2021

Having reliable and timely population distribution data can make a life or death difference for individuals facing crises or living in conflict-ridden regions. These data are also essential for development decision-making and planning and for monitoring progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the international community. We need to know where people are located, what conditions they are facing, what infrastructure is available, and what basic services they can access. We also need to ensure that no one is left off the map in pursuit of meeting the SDGs. 

Gridded population data, which often use remote sensing inputs to improve the spatial allocation of population within a country, are vital for all these purposes. Together with the  growing variety of applications that require spatial population data, there is now a bewildering array of population grids, and users need to know which ones are most suitable for their applications.

This training will focus on the different global population grids and their application to a range of topics related to development planning and monitoring the SDGs (e.g.,  environment, hazards, and access to resources). Attendees will be exposed to the latest data and methods used to produce global grids, how the grids incorporate remote sensing inputs, and how population grids can be used in conjunction with other types of data.

Course Format

The online training will be divided into two seperate sessions (A and B) which take place at different times. Each session will be two hours long (90 minutes of presentation and 30 minutes of Q&A). Each session will be offered twice on each day of the meeting; participants may attend either session on the two dates. Note that the U.S. begins observing Daylight Savings Time on March 14, 2021. The Fundamentals of Remote Sensing training is an advised prerequisite. Leaving No One Off the Map: A Guide for Gridded Population Data For Sustainable Development is a suggested reading before the training.

  • Session A will be offered from 10:00-12:00 EDT (UTC-4)
  • Session B will be offered from 15:00-17:00 EDT (UTC-4)


By the end of this training, participants will:

  • Identify what population grids are and what distinguishes the various population grids
  • Become familiar with POPGRID online tools
  • Identify uses of population grids in different application areas
  • Recognize what disaster risk reduction exposure data is and how it is used in the loss estimation process
  • Learn the basic process of developing exposure data and the value of remote sensing data
  • Understand disaster risk reduction uncertainty and the appropriate use of results
  • Describe SDG indicator 9.1.1 and how it is measured
  • Identify the inputs used to calculate the Rural Access Index (RAI)
  • Recognize the advantages and the limitations of using currently available open global data sources to calculate RAI
  • Explain why the choice of gridded population input can lead to different results for this indicator