Converting Geospatial Observations into Socioeconomic Data

NOMIS Research Project

The World Data Lab (WDL), along with its research partners, will deploy new methods in data collection, data curation and dissemination, laying the groundwork to advance social and economic research on poverty in the most underdeveloped regions worldwide. The challenge is to convert vast amounts of unstructured data into regular socio-economic forecasts.

Against this background, a major part of the research funded by NOMIS is dedicated to the development of the first-ever sub-national income model for Kenya, which, when developed, can be subsequently adapted for other countries. By cooperating with local authorities, the interdisciplinary research team will complement geospatial data, as retrieved, for example, from high-definition satellite photographs, with other largely untapped data sources. If completed successfully, the project will yield a new dataset providing granular information on social patterns and income, the insights from which will be made available to researchers worldwide through innovative tools and products.

Founded by economists, including Dr. Homi Kharas, former Chief Economist at the World Bank, the WDL is a social enterprise with a strong focus on research and has a strategic partnership with the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). The project is being led by Jesus Crespo Cuaresma, head of the Institute of Macroeconomics at WU.