Application of Gridded Population and Settlement Products in Geospatial Population-Environment Research
14 October 2019 to 18 October 2019
Background Papers
Invited Experts

Maria Jose Andrade-Nuñez, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras

Brian Blankespoor, World Bank

Sergio Freire, European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC)

Stefan Leyk, University of Colorado Boulder

Catherine Linard, University of Namur

Alessandro Sorichetta, University of Southampton

Cascade Tulholske, University of California Santa Barbara


A webinar to introduce the topic to PERN cyberseminar participants took place at 10am US EDT (UTC -4) on 14 October 2019.

Research in the field of population and environment increasingly requires high resolution geospatial data. In contrast to other types of population and settlement data based on administrative unit boundaries, gridded data sets provide consistent and comparable units of analysis. These data sets can be produced at a variety of spatial and temporal scales, paving the way for relevant research questions both about the impacts of human activities on the environment and, in turn, environmental impacts on human health, well-being and livelihoods. Such data are also important for monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Population-environment research on land system dynamics relies on data products that provide spatio-temporal information about land cover, land use activities, human population distributions and movements. With the increasing availability of finer-scale data products and higher power computational tools, researchers have a wide variety of data and methodological options from which to integrate people and pixel data. Of specific interest to this cyberseminar are the gridded, raster-based products that represent settlement patterns, population density and socio-demographic characteristics have rapidly advanced and proliferated in recent decades. There are a wide variety of gridded population and settlement datasets for end-users to choose from, with varying temporal and spatial specificities combined with underlying methods informing the relevant application and use of subsequent population data sets for further studies. 

This cyberseminar will focus on the fitness-for-use aspect of various gridded population and settlement products and their suitability for different application areas in population-environment studies. We will explore issues of uncertainty, endogeneity, temporal-explicitness, and spatial conformity in these data products along with scale and projection considerations. The seminar also provides examples of applications of gridded population and settlement products in population-environment research. The cyberseminar provides a platform for dynamic engagement between producer and end-user research communities to push forward the conversation on understanding the continued method development and advancement for integrating these products into the nexus of population-environment-climate studies. 

This PERN cyberseminar is being co-organized with the POPGRID Data Collaborative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.