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High Resolution Settlement Layer

 Maps Data Download l Acknowledgements

The High Resolution Settlement Layer (HRSL) provides estimates of human population distribution at a resolution of 1 arc-second (approximately 30m) for the year 2015. The population estimates are based on recent census data and high-resolution (0.5m) satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe. The population grids provide detailed delineation of settlements in both urban and rural areas, which is useful for many research areas—from disaster response and humanitarian planning to the development of communications infrastructure. The settlement extent data were developed by the Connectivity Lab at Facebook using computer vision techniques to classify blocks of optical satellite data as settled (containing buildings) or not. CIESIN used proportional allocation to distribute population data from subnational census data to the settlement extents. The population data have been developed for 18 countries: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ghana, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, the Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, and Uganda. Read more about the project here.

Selected views of the data are shown in the figure below. The data can also be explored via an interactive map.

Population counts for (A) Haiti (Les Cayes); (B) Sri Lanka (Colombo, Negombo, and points east); (C) South Africa (Pretoria); (D) Ghana (Greater Accra Region); (E) Malawi (Lilongwe and environs).

Data Download

The zip archives available below contain the population surfaces, metadata, and data quality layers. The population data surfaces are stored as GeoTIFF files for use in remote sensing or geographic information system (GIS) software. The GeoTIFF files contain three bands of data: Band 1 represents the number of persons estimated to live in each pixel; Band 2 is a mask representing pixels that contained clouds in the source imagery with a value of 1; and Band 3 is a mask representing pixels within which one or more buildings was detected with a value of 1. Where available, a second GeoTIFF file provides additional information on the source imagery: areas with no data (1), areas with full color coverage (2), and areas with panchromatic (grayscale) imagery (3). The archives also contain shapefiles representing the date of the source imagery.

Burkina Faso
Ivory Coast
The Philippines
South Africa
Sri Lanka

Recommended Citation:
Facebook Connectivity Lab and Center for International Earth Science Information Network - CIESIN - Columbia University. 2016. High Resolution Settlement Layer (HRSL). Source imagery for HRSL © 2016 DigitalGlobe. Accessed DAY MONTH YEAR.

CIESIN contributions to the development of this work were supported by funding provided by Facebook. Population estimates are based on data from the Gridded Population of the World data collection. Imagery used to identify settlements is from the DigitalGlobe Basemap +Vivid.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This page last modified: Sep 13, 2017