Mapping subnational boundaries

GRID3 supports the harmonisation, production, and use of administrative and operational boundaries to improve inconsistencies, lessen ambiguities, and increase accountability within a given area. Boundary harmonisation ensures that all resources and other critical services are distributed equitably and effectively.




“[Boundaries combined with population data] can be used to deliver all types of interventions such as [improving] vaccine delivery & for emergency response.”

Jaymia Ecker, Country Coordinator, CIESIN

How harmonising, producing, and using subnational boundary data fits into the GRID3 package

Consolidation of boundaries makes population data accessible and legible so that decision-makers know where and how people live. This process also creates effective and informed plans that meet local needs. Consistent boundaries are essential to:

  • Accurately understanding the population within a given area, such as a district or ward

Populations and settlements can only be accurately counted if there are boundaries for that given area.

  • Allocating resources or services to the population equitably

Clearly defined administrative units allow planners to determine how much of a given resource is needed, and where exactly it should be delivered to reach its intended public.

  • Sustainable planning across government bodies

Consistent spatial representation enables intra-governmental collaboration.

  • Clear demarcation of governance structures and jurisdiction
  • Increasing accountability of government officials and agencies
  • Census enumeration

Enumeration areas help facilitate data collection at the local level within a given time period. These areas are then aggregated to higher-level boundaries, which must be consistent in order for the census to provide meaningful insight into national population dynamics.

Our approach

GRID3 aims to facilitate institutional dialogue to harmonise administrative and operational boundaries for a variety of service provisions and interventions. Depending on stakeholder needs, GRID3 may work with governments to develop methodologies for aligning boundaries or may provide technical support. Digital resources, such as satellite imagery and GIS, allow for the delineation of boundaries at high resolutions with greater accuracy and provide a mechanism for correcting misalignments adequately.

High-resolution population estimates

Settlement mapping

Infrastructure mapping

Capacity strengthening

To the overview