Research & Evaluation

Dan Runfola

Senior Geospatial Scientist

Dan previously served as AidData's Senior Geospatial Scientist.

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Dan is AidData's Senior Geospatial Scientist and an Assistant Professor of Applied Science at William & Mary. His research focuses on the intersection between large-scale spatial data, machine learning, and international development. Currently, he is working to integrate AidData's information into better decisions regarding aid allocation. He leads AidData's GeoQuery research project, a joint Ph.D. and undergraduate lab which develops new geocomputational methods for the processing of large-scale spatial datasets in highly parallelized environments.

Dr. Daniel Runfola is AidData’s Senior Geospatial Scientist and an Assistant Professor of Applied Science at William & Mary. He leads work in spatial analytics research, including building a first-of-its-kind global spatial data repository, GeoQuery. Dan supports AidData’s research and evaluation work, integrating data to produce new knowledge and analysis on how spatial information can be used to inform decisions regarding the allocation of international aid, as well as measuring its impact. Separately, Dan spearheaded the Mapping for Nepal project, constructing a mapping portal and bringing together William & Mary students to produce geocoded disaster data, imagery and real-time feedback that supported aid workers on the ground immediately following the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Dan teaches data analysis as part of the College of William & Mary’s undergraduate curriculum, focusing on data driven decision-making and risk analysis.

Previously, Dan worked on research projects for the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the US Army Corps of Engineers, examining the use of Geographic Information Science (GIS) in climate-change related decision making. He has published in a number of high-profile outlets, including Nature and contributions to the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change fifth assessment report. Dan holds his PhD and an MA in Geography from Clark University.

Website and CV


GIS, Geospatial Impact Evaluations, Big Data, Decision Support Tools, Climate Change and Environment