Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released its first-ever Geospatial Strategy, aimed at leveraging the power of geospatial data and technology to target the delivery of international programs.
The Strategy envisions a future in which a geographic approach empowers USAID and its partners to apply all forms of data more effectively to advance international development and humanitarian assistance outcomes. The approach brings together geospatial data, mapping technology, and analytical expertise to illuminate where development needs are concentrated, track where programs are currently being implemented, and measure the effectiveness of USAID’s programs by geographic location.
Geospatial data and technology have evolved dramatically since USAID's inception in 1961, from the creation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) in the 1970s to the near-constant stream of satellite imagery of the entire Earth available today. These advancements are making available relevant data to inform decision-making in the complex world in which we now operate. For example, USAID and our partners are using geospatial information to better target responses to disease outbreaks, satellite data to quantify forest loss in the Amazon, and custom maps to identify pockets of poverty within countries where we work.
As highlighted in this video, the Geospatial Strategy has four objectives. It will help expand USAID’s access to geospatial data and tools; strengthen Agency capacity to use geospatial insights for decision-making; integrate geographic information into our policies and practices; and provide global leadership in applying geospatial solutions for development and humanitarian assistance.
“We have seen the power of geospatial technology to make USAID’s humanitarian and development assistance more effective – from creating interactive maps and dashboards to inform disaster response to using satellite imagery to analyze climate impacts,” said Administrator Samantha Power. “Analysis of geospatial data allows us to uncover insights about local needs, make more informed decisions, and better target life-saving assistance.”
For more information on USAID’s Geospatial Strategy and our geographic approach to development, please visit www.usaid.gov/geospatial-