Wednesday, April 18, 2012

LandScan: Disaster Planning on a Global Scale

Developed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL), LandScan is a geo-referenced database of world population that is mapped to world-wide grid squares approximately 1 KM in size.  In addition to this fairly precise level of population density awareness, the algorithm which assigns values to the grid squares uses a number of refining factors to include:

  • Sub-national level census counts for each country,
  • Land cover,
  • Roads,
  • Slope,
  • Urban area,
  • Village locations, and
  • High resolution imagery analysis.

This blended approach creates what many believe is the world's most accurate database for visualizing location of world headcount.  Consequently, its value for disaster response purposes is significant, particularly for underdeveloped parts of the globe where data may be less than readily available.  The LandScan data set is free for U.S. Government agencies.  For all other entities, cost is determined on an individual basis by Wayzata, Minnesota based company East View. To learn more, consider reviewing any of the following information sources:

Comment:  With Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories all having developed significant geospatial programs supporting national response needs (See: NISAC?), the handwriting is on the wall for the Emergency Services Sector when it comes to Geospatial Information Technology. Adopt, adapt, or get left behind.

Lead Graphic Credit: Federal Laboratory Consortium

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