Geospatial data can play a significant and increasing role in supporting impact evaluations – as well as other stages of the policy process such as design and implementation. And the amount of geospatial data is growing rapidly, whether that’s conventional data that is now tagged with its precise location, remotely collected data from sensors on the ground, drones flown at low levels, or satellites orbiting the earth.
These newly available sources can give us great insight into issues such as the changing coverage of forests, vegetation, crops, water, air quality, buildings and infrastructure, and so on – and often this can be done remotely, at a relatively low cost, and in a very timely fashion. Combining geographical data can also give us a better picture of the spatial relationships between issues – for example helping us develop small area estimates of poverty and other issues. And improved visualization techniques can really bring these analyses to life for decision-makers.