geographical economics

I love maps



I used to do economic geography research and still like to look at maps. People in the know will probably remember Adrian Firth’s dot maps of the 2011 census. They are still quite cool.

Currently, Facebook is putting together high resolution population maps, for among other countries South Africa, at 30 meter spatial resolution. The World Bank is working with this and has done some validation for Malawi. The Data Blog writes:

Facebook’s computer vision approach is a very fast method to produce spatially-explicit country-wide population estimates. Using their method, Facebook successfully generated at-scale, high-resolution insights on the distribution of buildings, unmatched by any other remote sensing effort to date. These maps demonstrate the value of artificial intelligence for filling data gaps and creating new datasets, and they could provide a promising complement to household surveys and censuses.

It is seriously cool.

Economics, links, Uncategorized

A few good links

The last week or two have been admin-intensive, but I stumbled across a few interesting bits along the way and want to share the links:

  • I attended a UNU-WIDER and National Treasury conference in Pretoria and enjoyed it a lot. The theme was “Growth and development policy – new data, new approaches and new evidence”. All that was from the different projects that have been using SARS administrative data for a firm-level look at employment, productivity, exporters etc. It was really interesting.
  • My old Warwick classmate Nick Powdthavee launched a new book on happiness research at the LSE and shared links on Facebook and Twitter. Here is a Vox.EU post on “The origins of happiness”: mental and physical health, and having a partner explains life satisfaction and then income matters…
  • And I caught a Chronicle post on “The personal lecture” with interesting ideas on big undergraduate groups, and on MOOCs.

Check it out.