Revolution #19: Subnational Sleuthing: A quick primer of GeoData

In 2015, the United Nations unveiled 17 goals, titled the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for member nations to strive towards in the quest towards sustainable development. These goals target entire subdivisions in the field of international development and aid such as gender equality, poverty reduction, and clean energy solutions. To ensure that these goals are met, researchers look for global and national data to determine which areas require specialized attention to meet the challenge of attaining SDG goals. But what if national data is not enough? What if aid allocation needs to target niche, subnational areas? How can we tailor the best solutions for all member states?


When these questions need answering, GeoData rises to the challenge. Simply put, GeoData’s mission is to break down every country as precisely as possible and find the most precise SDG sub-SDG datasets. Most importantly, these sets are freely redistributable to all individuals. This parameter is the cornerstone in our research. By doing so, we aim to provide complete datasets for researchers, policymakers, NGOs, and individuals to conduct activities and analysis towards completing the UN’s Development Goals and shaping a better and brighter global future.


GeoData: a contained system


When searching for malaria incidence in local government areas in Nigeria or access to clean sanitation systems for Tehsils in India, our researchers are pursuing objectives that do not have clear solutions. This is where the best and brightest students who make up GeoData thrive. Every week in Williamsburg, Virginia no stone is left unturned. Requests for datasets are translated and sent to Ministries of Health, Skype calls are made with geographers at UNICEF, and World Bank microdata reports are scoured in order to give our users the most precise and comprehensive information available.


Collecting data is not enough. At GeoData (and our parent lab, AidData’s GeoQuery), we believe that easily accessible data provides all individuals a greater capacity to understand, analyze, and utilize the data at hand. This removes barriers of constraint and assists in research efficiency. This is why GeoData has begun to process SDG datasets via the College of William and Mary’s Supercomputer, the SciClone, onto the GeoQuery tool. By doing so, we make sure the hundreds of organizations who request our data are getting the best possible information at their disposal. This is no easy task, however, when decimal places determine food allocation halfway across the globe, GeoData is there to help.


Bright Horizons:


GeoData gives users in the development sector detailed, and freely redistributable data for each Sustainable Development Goal for every nation. GeoData pursue academic, NGOs, IGOs, and governmental leads to find the most precise datasets for each country. Additionally, GeoData processes this raw data in-house to facilitate accurate and easy to use information. This extraordinary task can only be accomplished by extraordinary individuals and GeoData is proud to be at the forefront for development research and open data.


About the author: John Napoli

John Napoli is the Team Lead for GeoData | Email: