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A LandScan image of population distributions.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s LandScan sets the community standard for global population distribution data. Researchers routinely use the high-resolution database, which won a 2019 Excellence in Technology Transfer award and a 2006 R&D Top 100 award, to estimate populations at risk and to plan, aid, and direct disaster recovery efforts in the wake of earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and other such events.

“The human connection is what drives our passion for mapping populations,” said Amy Rose, LandScan’s director. “Ultimately, we need to know where people are in order to send relief workers, vaccines, and other forms of aid to refugee camps, remote villages, and scattered settlements around the world.”

LandScan uses available data and satellite imagery to map geographic areas and superimpose layers of information at a roughly 1 km  spatial resolution. The LandScan datasets have been actively and successfully licensed for 15 years, with updates released annually.