GRID3 white papers: a series of in-depth resources on the production and use of key geospatial datasets

October 4, 2021

What are the most effective ways to map health facilities? Or the benefits of classifying settlements? How do government officials cooperatively produce accurate subnational boundaries?

To answer these and many other pressing data for development questions, GRID3 is producing a series of resources that provide a wealth of insights into some of its core geospatial data solutions. Each paper provides context around the needs a given country has for different types of geospatial data, the collaborative approach taken to addressing those needs, and the lessons learned for future interventions. With a strong emphasis on capacity strengthening, the white papers also promote a framework which can be replicated in more sub-Saharan African countries to enhance the use of geospatial data for sustainable development. 

  • Mapping Health Facilities [available in English]

This paper details GRID3’s work with in-country stakeholders and data collectors to build capacity for the production and management of geospatial data on health facilities. Health facilities data are a crucial resource in any country’s drive to deliver the timely and effective healthcare services its population requires. The uses for geospatial data on health facilities are extensive and can help determine a target population’s access to health services, improve the identification of access gaps, or improve the effectiveness of interventions through more precise delivery of services.

  • Harmonising Subnational Boundaries [available in English and French]

This paper details GRID3’s work to support the harmonisation, production, and use of digitised legal/administrative units, operational units, and statistical areas; these demarcations are used to guide the distribution of resources, humanitarian services, and other aid. GRID3 also works to support census efforts through boundary harmonisation, in which various boundary authorities are convened to work cooperatively.

  • Mapping and Classifying Settlement Locations [available in English and French]

This paper details GRID3’s work on collecting and analysing settlements data. GRID3’s settlements work has two areas of focus: creating a comprehensive settlement layer that enables a real-world picture of communities, and using building footprints, geospatial data layers, and machine learning algorithms to classify structures and areas within settlements. Understanding the places where people live and work is crucial to identifying a country’s development priorities; the more accurate and detailed settlement data are, the more effectively interventions can improve people’s well-being.

“This reading material presents knowledge acquired by GRID3 through its operational experience. The content covered is mostly practical, which makes it particularly useful in countries like Nigeria. We can not only reflect on some of our own in-country activities, but also learn from and be inspired by other approaches taken in other countries in ensuring that everyone is captured on the map,”

says Nazir Halliru, GRID3 Nigeria Country Manager.

Each paper details GRID3’s approach to producing, maintaining, harmonising and/or validating datasets, as well as describes collaborations with in-country partners and stakeholders, including governmental and non-governmental bodies. The papers include case studies from Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, and Sierra Leone.

To access the white papers, visit the Publications section on the GRID3 website. Upcoming white papers topics include modelling population and delineating enumeration areas. This material is just one facet of GRID3’s rich trove of resources on its work; see for more resources, including webinars, news stories, and academic papers.


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