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Geospatial Analysis for Development (Geo4Dev) 2020 Symposium and Workshop

Conference   |   Dec 10 2020 - Dec 11 2020

On December 10th-11th, CEGA’s Geospatial Analysis for Development (Geo4Dev) Initiative will host an online symposium to showcase cutting-edge tools, datasets, and applications of geospatial data for global development research, followed by a hands-on workshop for those interested in building or honing their skills in this space. The convening will also launch the Geo4Dev website, a new open-access online hub for geospatial data, research, and tools; and (2) new Nighttime Light data sets that have been recently made publicly available for studying human economic activity and development trends.

Please register for the symposium and workshop by clicking on the orange button on the right side of the page, and direct any questions you have to

Day 1: Thursday, December 10th (9:00 am – 1:20 pm PST)

Our Geo4Dev Symposium on Dec 10th will feature a series of presentations, including a keynote talk by Christopher D. Elvidge, Director of the Earth Observation Group at Colorado School of Mines. Elvidge pioneered the development of global nighttime lights and led the production of a 21-year time series of nighttime lights (1992-2013) using data from the U.S. Air Force’s Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP). Check back for additional updates to the agenda below.


9:00 am PST Opening remarks

9:10 am PST Session 1: New data and initiatives 

  • Ran Goldblatt (New Light Technologies)
  • Joshua Blumenstock (Center for Effective Global Action)

10:00 am PST Session 2: Nighttime lights: applications and impact evaluation (Part I)

  • Douglas Glandon (International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie))
  • State of play for big data (including nighttime light) in impact evaluations
  • Alice Duhaut (Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) group, World Bank)
  • Theophile Bougna (Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) group, World Bank)
  • Geospatial Impact Evaluation of Highways: Evidence from Iraq and Morocco
  • Gordon Hanson (Harvard Kennedy School)
  • Using Satellite Imagery to Predict Local-Level Changes in Income and Population

11:10 am PST Coffee Break 

11:20 am PST Keynote address: Chris Elvidge (Colorado School of Mines)

Exploration the annual cycling patterns of nighttime lights in India: preliminary results

12:00 pm PST Session 3: Nighttime lights: applications and impact evaluation (Part II)

  • Mark Roberts (World Bank)
  • When the lights go out: using nighttime lights to analyze the economic impacts of COVID-19 in the Middle East and North Africa
  • Somik Lall (World Bank)
  • Marshall Burke (Stanford University)
  • Inferring wealth from daytime and nighttime imagery

1:10 pm PST Closing remarks 

Day 2: Friday, December 11th (9:00 am – 2:45 pm PST)

Remotely sensed data (e.g. satellite data) is rapidly becoming a critical component in geo-spatial analysis, particularly in international development when other sources of data are scarce. But the perception is that these data are too complex or costly (in terms of time and money) for general analysts to use.

Our Nighttime Lights workshop on Dec 11th will break down that perception using open source tools like Python and Google Earth Engine. Through a series of hands-on modules, experts will train researchers and policymakers–especially those based in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)–in the application of Nighttime Lights data to important policy questions. We’ll cover Nighttime Lights data access, as well as interpretation, processing, visualization, and statistical analysis (including time series analysis).

Whether you are an analyst just starting out with Python, or a seasoned data scientist looking to sharpen your remote sensing skills, you may find this workshop helpful. After honing your skills, not even the sky will be the limit! Familiarity with Python or programming is preferred (beginner is OK) to get the most from the session, but we’ll also point to resources for training at all levels.

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Date & Time

Dec 10 2020 - Dec 11 2020
09:00 - 02:45 Pacific Standard Time

Get to know the speakers

Chris Elvidge
Colorado School of Mines
Theophile Bougna
Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) group, World Bank
Gordon Hanson
Harvard Kennedy School
Mark Roberts
World Bank
Somik Lall
World Bank
Marshall Burke
Stanford University
Ran Goldblatt
New Light Technologies
Joshua Blumenstock
Alice Duhaut
World Bank
Kim Baugh
Earth Observations Group, University of Colorado, Boulder
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