Geospatial Data & Tools for Analysis

Program Overview

More data is available today than ever before, but organizations often don't have the means to use it. AidData's GEO program breaks down technological barriers and empowers a broad range of data users to produce new and meaningful research and insights using next-generation geospatial data, methods and tools. 

Our powerful spatial data integration and extraction infrastructure is available for free public use through GeoQuery, a ground-breaking project that enables users without significant computing power or expertise to easily find, access and merge together spatial data from a wide variety of sources.

The GEO program also creates new datasets with information on development outcomes captured frequently and at high levels of spatial detail; provides the largest open-source repository of data on geographic boundaries; and innovates new geostatistical analysis and machine learning-based methods.

Focus Areas


GeoQuery enables individuals and organizations without significant computing power or data science expertise to freely find and aggregate satellite, economic, health, conflict, and other spatial data from anywhere in the world into a single, simple-to-use file.


GeoBoundaries provides accurate data on the geographic boundaries of administrative areas around the globe. Unlike other boundary datasets, GeoBoundaries is an open product: all boundaries are free and redistributable, and are released with extensive metadata and license information to inform users.


For geospatial experts, GeoSIMEX is a geospatially-adapted SIMEX (simulation and extrapolation) model available as an R package. It helps research models establish a relationship between measurement error and covariate bias introduced by geospatial uncertainty to estimate the impact an intervention had.

Predictive Analytics

Recent work has proven the effectiveness of satellite imagery and convolutional neural network (CNN)-based machine learning methods to predict poverty. AidData and its partners explore these data and methods, apply them in real world applications, and provide tools for other other researchers.

Introducing GeoQuery

A revolutionary new tool to spur open access to usable geospatial data


Expert curation

Find quality assured datasets curated by experts

User Interface

Filter and join datasets without using code


Data is exported to a clean CSV with predictable naming conventions


Supporting documentation includes metadata


Access a permanent link of data extraction requests

Watch a short demonstration or go right to GeoQuery.

How GeoQuery works

GeoQuery performs advanced spatial statistics to extract data from open-source datasets on topics on such as:

  • International Aid
  • Population and the Environment
  • Conflict and Health
  • Economic Development
  • Access to Infrastructure

Every data request you make returns an email with a single CSV where each row is a geographic boundary and each column is a requested dataset. This file can be read by nearly all software packages, and we also include a full PDF of metadata. All requests are made accessible at a unique, permanent URL to promote data sharing. See our Quick Start Guide.

Visit our list of GeoQuery-related research publications to explore the technical details. Additional options for advanced users:

  • Boundary Data: Get the geographic and administrative boundary data (GeoBoundaries) used in GeoQuery. Fully open and redistributable, with all meta and license data available for every country in the world.
  • Measurement Datasets: Access the raw raster and vector data used to generate data in GeoQuery, including AidData, open-source satellite data, and other information used to create extracts.

Contact for more information on GeoBoundaries and raw raster and vector data.

Featured Publications

Journal Article

GeoQuery: Integrating HPC systems and public web-based geospatial data tools

Computers and Geosciences

Seth Goodman, Ariel BenYishay, Zhonghui Lv, Daniel Runfola


Journal Article

Assessing the Causal Impact of Chinese Aid on Vegetative Land Cover in Burundi and Rwanda Under Conditions of Spatial Imprecision

Development Engineering

Robert Marty, Seth Goodman, Michael Le Few, Carrie Dolan, Ariel BenYishay, Daniel Runfola


Impact Evaluation

Evaluation of the Infrastructure Needs Program II

Ariel BenYishay, Rachel Trichler, Dan Runfola, Seth Goodman


Impact Evaluation

Evaluation of the Local Governance and Infrastructure Program

Pablo Beramendi, Soomin Oh, Erik Wibbels


Working Paper

Connective Financing: Chinese Infrastructure Projects and the Diffusion of Economic Activity in Developing Countries

Richard Bluhm, Axel Dreher, Andreas Fuchs, Bradley Parks, Austin Strange, Michael Tierney


Working Paper

Implementation Level in World Bank Projects: National vs. Local Allocation of Power

Silvia Marchesi, Tania Masi


Program Team

For technical or research inquires, contact:

Research & Evaluation

Dan Runfola

Senior Geospatial Scientist

Eric Walter

Director of High Performance Computing

William & Mary
Research & Evaluation

Miranda Lv

GIS Analyst

Research & Evaluation

Seth Goodman

Data Engineer


Alex Wooley

Director of Partnerships and Communications