The POPGRID Data Collaborative aims to bring together and expand the international community of data providers, users, and sponsors concerned with georeferenced data on population, human settlements and infrastructure.

We promote cooperation in producing and harmonizing high-quality data products and services needed by a range of scientific and applied users. We seek to improve data access, timeliness, consistency, and utility; support data use and interpretation; identify and address pressing user needs; reduce duplication and user confusion; and encourage innovation and cross-disciplinary use. We bring expertise and perspectives from diverse natural, social, health, and engineering science disciplines and sectors, and from government, academia, private industry, and nongovernmental organizations.

Current Work

  • Improving accessibility and documentation of data sets and data services (see Find Data)
  • Comparing and contrasting methods and implications of different data sources (see Compare Data)
  • Convening technical experts from the geospatial and demographic communities at events and conferences worldwide
  • Developing an intercomparison report and tool that clarify how different data sets fit different needs for statisticians, policymakers, development practitioners, and other applied users

Data Developers

  • Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), Earth Institute at Columbia University
  • City University of New York (CUNY) Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR) 
  • Esri
  • European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC) 
  • Facebook Connectivity Lab and Internet.org
  • German Aerospace Center (DLR)
  • ImageCat, Inc.
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • The WorldPop Project, University of Southampton (UK) and University of Louisville (USA)

 Other Partners

  • Google Earth Engine
  • Group on Earth Observations (GEO)
  • United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM)
  • United Nations Population Division
  • United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • The World Bank Development Data Group


CIESIN – contributing to and peer-reviewing technical outputs, identifying new supply-side partners, and commissioning in-depth studies as appropriate. To learn more about this work and get involved, contact: Robert Chen (bchen@ciesin.columbia.edu)

Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data – leading on communications and advocacy. To learn more about this work and get involved, contact: Jenna Slotin (jslotin@data4sdgs.org)

UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (SDSN TReNDS) – coordinating with supply-side partners, conducting validation work, and contributing to technical outputs. To learn more about this work and get involved, contact: Maryam Rabiee (maryam.rabiee@unsdsn.org)


POPGRID is currently supported by seed funding from the Columbia University Earth Institute's Cross-Cutting Initiatives and by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is an element of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Human Planet Initiative (HPI).