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Introducing the First USAID Geospatial Strategy

By Guest Writer on December 13, 2023

geospatial strategy

Geospatial technology is essential for providing evidence to shape development progress and deliver lifesaving humanitarian assistance.

Since the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was founded in 1961, geospatial (location-based) data and tools have evolved dramatically. When the Global Positioning System (GPS) was created in the 1970s, it was almost exclusively used by the U.S. military.

Today, satellites in space capture a near-constant stream of images of the entire Earth that are made available to the public. Most mobile devices come embedded with default mapping applications. These geospatial data and technologies offer people the ability to participate in the development of their communities and countries more actively and inclusively.

Geospatial information is a critical component of digital ecosystems and can be used to enrich data landscapes, improve digital service delivery, upskill the digital workforce, elevate the voice of underserved communities, and more. In an increasingly interconnected world, the relevance of geospatial information will only continue to grow.

USAID Geospatial Strategy

Recognizing these critical opportunities, USAID is releasing its first-ever Geospatial Strategy. It envisions a future in which a geographic approach to development empowers USAID and its partners to apply all forms of data more effectively to advance international development and humanitarian assistance outcomes.

The geographic approach is a process that brings together data and analytical expertise to better understand where development and disaster risk reduction needs are concentrated, where programs are implemented, and the effectiveness of those programs by geographic location.

It is a systems-based approach which facilitates development at the local level through an improved understanding of the complex and interconnected realities of a specific place. The geographic approach demonstrates a shift for USAID, and the international development community more broadly, from a traditionally sector-based model to one that is more holistic, interconnected, and grounded in local context.

4 Strategic Geospatial Objectives

The Geospatial Strategy will guide USAID’s efforts over a five-year period to realize this shift by institutionalizing the Agency’s use of geospatial technologies and capabilities to achieve greater efficiency in programs, operations, and development outcomes. It will be supported by the following strategic objectives:

  1. Expand access to geospatial data and tools to strengthen the planning and implementation of USAID programs.
  2. Strengthen USAID’s capacity to use geospatial data, technology, and expertise for decision- making.
  3. Advance USAID policies and practices by applying geospatial information.
  4. Provide global leadership in applying geospatial solutions for development and humanitarian assistance.

As the world’s premier development agency, USAID has a unique role to play in the growing field of geospatial visualization and analysis—as a thought leader and convener, as an enabler of locally led development, and as a champion for innovative development solutions.

This Strategy will help USAID fully embody this role and serve as a stronger partner to the people who can benefit most from these technologies. Working together with the geospatial and international development and humanitarian communities, by leveraging the best of our respective assets and strengths, we can help societies become more resilient and capable of leading their own development journeys.

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2 Comments to “Introducing the First USAID Geospatial Strategy”

  1. Presler JEAN says:


  2. Aquila Kunzie says:

    I Aquila Kunzie CEO of ANJIN COFFEE FARMERS ASSOCIATION INC. of Wapenamanda district Enga Province PNG seek urgent communication link with American aid for over 3000 families displaced by tribal warfare in Lowerlai constituency.