Census-independent population mapping in northern Nigeria
Remote Sensing of Environment
A B S T R A C T Although remote sensing has long been used to aid in the estimation of population, it has usually been in the context of spatial disaggregation of national census data, with the census counts serving both as observational data for specifying models and as constraints on model outputs. Here we present a framework for estimating populations from the bottom up, entirely independently of national census data, a critical need in areas without recent and reliable census data. To make
... bservations of population density, we replace national census data with a microcensus, in which we enumerate population for a sample of small areas within the states of Kano and Kaduna in northern Nigeria. Using supervised texture-based classifiers with very high resolution satellite imagery, we produce a binary map of human settlement at 8-meter resolution across the two states and then a more refined classification consisting of 7 residential types and 1 non-residential type. Using the residential types and a model linking them to the population density observations, we produce population estimates across the two states in a gridded raster format, at approximately 90-meter resolution. We also demonstrate a simulation framework for capturing uncertainty and presenting estimates as prediction intervals for any region of interest of any size and composition within the study region. Used in concert with previously published demographic estimates, our population estimates allowed for predictions of the population under 5 in ten administrative wards that fit strongly with reference data collected during polio vaccination campaigns.