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February 4th, 2020
Geospatial Data for Social Change: A New Initiative is Announced by NLT and CEGA

WASHINGTON – Hosted by CEGA for the past two years and supported by NLT last year, the Geo4Dev annual conference highlights novel geospatial data and analytic techniques to address issues of poverty, sustainable development, urbanization, climate change, and economic growth in developing countries and beyond. Geo4Dev will now become the Geospatial Analysis for Development (Geo4Dev) Initiative, a hub for rigorous academic research and training that exploits geospatial data for the targeting, design, and evaluation of social and economic development programs. The initiative will further drive the development of new analytical tools and methods for conducting geospatial analysis across diverse sectors related to poverty and development including agriculture and food security, urbanization, climate change, humanitarian crisis, and disaster response. The initiative will bring together leading researchers, as well as government ministries, NGOs, and private enterprises to inspire novel research collaborations, share knowledge, and build capacity to utilize geospatial data, tools, and approaches.

Ultimately, CEGA and NLT aspire to make geospatial data and tools a standard for development research. They aim to continue expanding and opening opportunities for the global community of academic institutions, corporations, international organizations, and others to partner in this endeavor. This includes organizational involvement, sponsorships, and data sharing initiatives. Together with an expanding number of partners, they seek to further grow the use of open-source platforms and data for measurement in global development. The initiative will showcase the use of open data through upcoming conferences and the curation of online open-source resources for use in geospatial analysis. NLT and CEGA invite the community to partner and to work towards our mission to increase access to geospatial data, tools, and resources for underrepresented populations, especially women and scholars from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

It’s no longer a matter of waiting for advances in big data and analytical tools that GIS and remote sensing promise to provide. The technology and data are already here, evolving in real-time, and they are already capable of transforming measurement on a global scale. Geospatial technology is becoming more widely accessible and is often free to use. Still, a coordinated effort is needed to expand knowledge of GIS and remote sensing tools and data and to integrate geospatial curriculum and methodologies into professional development pipelines for practitioners and researchers. CEGA, NLT and other experts and organizations working in the field can tackle this challenge and help research professionals measure economic, social and environmental change more effectively.

About CEGA and NLT
The Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) is the West Coast hub for research on global development. Headquartered at UC Berkeley, CEGA’s large, interdisciplinary research network—including a growing number of scholars from low- and middle-income countries—identifies and tests innovations designed to reduce poverty and promote development. Our researchers use rigorous methods as well as novel measurement tools—including wireless sensors, mobile data, and analytics—to evaluate complex programs. Through careful matchmaking, competitive grantmaking, and research dissemination activities, CEGA ensures that the research we produce is relevant, timely, and actionable to policymakers.

New Light Technologies (NLT)  NLT provides a broad range of integrated Information Technology (IT) consulting services and products to government, commercial, NGO, and non-profit sectors. The firm offers comprehensive Geospatial Consulting Services, DevSecOps and Systems Integration, Development, and Management for IT Infrastructure Modernization including Virtualization and Microservices, Cloud & Mobile Computing, Application Development, Big Data Modeling, Analytics, & Visualization.