LandScan is a unique data set showing population distribution information developed by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and distributed exclusively by East View Information Services. The data set is available through a subscription for each year, with 2011 data being released in fall of 2012.
In March 2013 the LandScan Global Archive will be released, incorporating a compilation of the historical LandScan data sets from 2000-2010 (excluding the initial pilot edition from 1998 which was not intended for public consumption). This resource is currently offered to CRL libraries at favorable terms. Representatives at each library have been sent login access to view purchase or subscription offers.
Sources for this review include information publicly posted or obtained directly from the publisher, data collected by CRL staff and members, and examination of the digital collection when possible. Other sources are noted where cited.
LandScan is a unique data set showing population distribution, developed by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). In 2011, East View obtained an exclusive license for all distribution of this database outside of internal government uses. The data set is available through a subscription for each year, with 2010 data being released in fall of 2011.
The data represents ambient population (combined for night and day) at one-kilometer resolution. Details of age and gender are also provided at certain geographic scales. The data can be limited by state, country, region, or global level. A search can also be customized based on individually defined pixel points. Only the latest data is provided; the producers do not attempt to display comparative data over time.
The information is derived from a combination of census data, algorithmic projections, and satellite imagery. The population calculations come from ORNL’s LandScan USA database (high resolution data derived at 3 arc-second ~90 meters), which is compiled for the Homeland Security Infrastructure Program (HSIP). High-resolution image sources include the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Controlled Image Base (CIB). The data is displayed in GIS raster format (ESRI Grid).
Data and functional updates for the LandScan 2011 release include:
- Census data updates from 2010 and 2011 in verious countries.
- Improved delineation of settlements using the high-resolution imagery from ORNL's "Settlement Mapper Tool".
- Global political boundary updates.
- Specific updates to poulation re-distribution including the displacements in Japan caused by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
LandScan Global Archive
The LandScan Global Archive, released in March 2013, is a compilation of the historical LandScan data sets from 2000-2010 (excluding the initial pilot edition from 1998 which was not intended for public consumption). Note that the level of detail and accuracy varies for earlier years, since the data compilers have continued to improve the type of sources (imaging etc.) and analytical algorithms applied. It is available for purchase by libraries that have purchased the current data set. The data is available in the original GIS format via FTP; upon request it can be provided as a DVD.
The raw data is available through several methods, including FTP, web service, or a web application developed by East View. In the web application, selection of a specific geographic region results in graphic visualization of the population levels, in addition to charts representing population distribution by age and gender. Background views can be set to show topography, maps, or satellite imagery. Land cover features are shown, as well as buildings and other elements in more densely populated areas.
Export of population data is available from the East View web application. The data can be licensed for export to specific proprietary applications.
For the LandScan archive a portal page offers a graphical browse of each year included. East View plans to develop a comparative tool, although users are cautioned that comparisons must take into account that the accuracy and amount of detail is not as great for earlier years of the dataset.
Strengths and Weaknesses
This sophisticated, authoritative, and up-to-date set of data is suitable for a variety of uses by experienced researchers. East View and ORNL note that LandScan can be a valuable resource not only for academic research, but also for policy makers and organizations providing development aid or disaster assistance. For undergraduate instruction and research, other sources of census and geographic information are probably adequate and easier to use, although the web application developed by East View does make the data more approachable.
Direct from Publisher
|Subjects covered||Population and land features|
|Chronological coverage||Current (past year) only|
|Content types||Data and maps|
|Source formats||Data, satellite imagery|
|Digital collection launch date||1998 (release through East View began 2011)|
|Major languages||English language interface|
|Archiving solution – master files||NA|
|Archiving solution – derivative files||NA|
|P||Availability in web discovery tools||NA|
|P||Open URL target||NA|
|P||Federated searching, z39.50||NA|
|P||Local host option||Y|
|Full text displayed||NA|
|Color images||Y (100%)|
|Search full text||NA|
|Advanced search||NA (search by defined geographic regions)|
|Search within results||NA|
|Limit results by dates and/or document types||NA|
|Display highlighted search terms||NA|
|Display snippet -- search term in context||NA|
|Download HTML||NA (exporting of data is supported)|
|Print full document||NA|
|Restrictions on use||NA|
|Publisher / Distributor||East View Information Services|
|Address||10601 Wayzata Blvd., Minneapolis, MN 55305-1515 USA|
|Contact||http://www.eastview.com/ ; http://www.cartographic.com/profile/LandScan.aspl; email@example.com|
|CRL Profile of Publisher|
|Purchase option||Y (purchase offered for an annual release; archive set can be purchased separately))|
|Multiple year payments option||N|
|List of purchasers available|
|P||Sample license available||Y|
|MARC records purchase fee||NA|
|Price tier basis|