Screenshot from Andy Tatem's Geopalooza 3.o presentation

“We don’t want population data just sitting on a shelf”: Professor Andy Tatem at Geopalooza 3.0

At last month’s Geopalooza 3.0 virtual symposium our Director, Professor Andy Tatem, spoke about our population modelling work with agencies in low- and middle-income countries. In his talk entitled, Where is everyone? Mixing and matching modelling methods for mapping populations, he called for greater emphasis on co-development with stakeholders to ensure that health, development, and disaster response needs are met, methods are understood, and the data are accepted and used by governments.

Professor Tatem gave an overview of our work, including activities within GRID3 and Countdown to 2030, and collaborations with UNFPA and many in-country partners. In this talk he addressed questions on why population data is needed, who needs the data and what for, what population modelling enables countries and agencies to do, and the online and in-country training we provide to support agencies to better adapt to the variety of needs, data and changing situations they face. He reviewed the stages of the census cycle and the work WorldPop does to support national statistics offices, ministries of health and others with enumeration, population projections and mapping.

How we work with experts in-country has a big impact on the acceptance of the often complex models used to estimate and predict population changes. Professor Tatem noted that in these circumstances a one-size-fits-all model is often not the most appropriate.

Local ownership, co-development, are really important for developing trust in the data ... Developing that expertise regionally and in networks can help move us towards sustainability to be able to do this.
Portrait phot of Andy Tatem
Professor Andy tatem
Director, WorldPop

Training links


Background information

Geopalooza 3.0 was organised by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Geospatial Insights Support Team (GIST) with the aim of raising the profile of GIS in global health and development, highlight innovative geospatial research and tools and celebrate geospatial contributions around the globe. Zoom link.