A research project at AidData

Download satellite, conflict, aid, economic, health and more spatial data, from anywhere in the world, in a simple-to-use file compatible with Excel, STATA, or your own favorite program.

Get Started

Want to use spatial data, but don't have experience using ArcGIS, Q, or other programs for satellite imagery or spatial data analysis? Our Quick Start Guide walks you through a simple spreadsheet-based analysis using data downloaded from GeoQuery, designed to be completed in under 10 minutes.


Fueled by students, we get a lot done. Most of the time. You can also see what other people are saying about what we do over at our accolades page.

Create, integrate, and provide spatial data.

As a public good, we've opened our research database to the world, and built an easy-to-use portal for users that just want to examine the data in Excel, SPSS, STATA, or other programs without fiddling around with GIS platforms.

Interdisciplinary research to identify what aid is working - or not.

Using spatial data to identify what international aid is working to uplift individuals out of poverty, save our environment, or prevent disease and conflict is a challenge, but getting it right could save millions of dollars - or lives. Working with computer scientists, economists, geographers, political scientists and more we are hard at work solving this problem in a variety of applied contexts.

Create tools and documents to help enable the use of spatial data.

Our research is more than just academic for us. Whenever possible, we publish all of our code - along with user guides - to github or other repositories. The more individuals empowered to use spatial data, the better.


Every request you make will return an email with a single CSV where every row is a geographic boundary and every column is a requested dataset. This file can be read by nearly all software packages, and we also include a full PDF of metadata - you can download an example here. All requests are made accessible at a unique, permanent URL to promote research replication and data sharing.

Select Datasets in GeoQuery

International Aid Multiple data sources from the AidData research lab, including World Bank and Chinese development projects, country-specific (e.g. Afghanistan, Nepal) datasets.
Population and the Environment Population Density and Counts (CIESIN), Slope and Elevation (NASA), Protected Areas (IUCN), NDVI (UMD GLCF), Land Cover (European Space Agency, NASA), Precipitation and Temperature (UDEL)
Conflict and Health Conflict deaths (UCDP), Conflict Events (ACLED), Lootable Gold Deposits (GOLDATA), Child Mortality (Stanford), Ozone Concentration and Particulate Matter (TM5-FASST).
Economic Development Nighttime Lights (DMSP; VIIRS), On-shore petroleum (PRIO), Gemstone Deposits (GEMDATA), Gross Domestic Product (CIRES), Drug Cultivation Sites (DRUGDATA)
Access to Infrastructure Distance to Coastal features and Water (GSHHG), Distances to Roads (gRoads, CIESIN), Distance to country borders (GADM), Travel Time to Major Cities (JRC)


Unabridged, unedited and uncensored commentary from the lab. Frequently technical. Sometimes helpful.
A blog for a world that keeps on turning.

Revolution #12: New Year, New Boundaries

As we start the New Year, we will take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to talk about the ever changing state of political boundaries. I work on the GeoBoundaries team, where I come across all kinds of fun facts about the world we live in. I get to decide (or defer to source […]

Revolution #11: The Holiday Season

With the holidays soon upon us, I wanted to briefly reflect on the pattern of users we’ve seen over the year – it’s been very busy, and very exciting.  The takeaway is, we had 944 users put in 3,098 requests for data since we went live. Not just surprising, but shocking to us that we’ve seen […]

Revolution #10: System Resilience

One ongoing challenge we face is preparing for large amounts of system demand – which can be very spikey.  Because of the system design of GeoQuery, we effectively have three potential points of failure: Front end server – The website people see ( and the data front-ends). Database server – What the front-end pings to […]