Matrix was honored to co-sponsor Geospatial Analysis for International Development (Geo4Dev), a two-day symposium and workshop held September 6-7, 2017 focused on the application of remote sensing and geospatial analysis to address issues of poverty, sustainable development, urbanization, climate change, and economic growth in developing countries.

The symposium featured scientific presentations and posters form leading researchers who are using analytics from a multitude of disciplines. Satellite imagery has immense potential to gain understanding into changes within human populations and their environments. In this symposium, researchers discuss how satellite data can be used to estimate poverty, monitor power outages, assess the impact of war on water resources, estimate costs of road investments, and more.

The Geo4Dev Symposium solicited papers to be presented at the event through an open call. Selected papers were also eligible for an opportunity to submit to Development Engineering: The Journal of Engineering in Economic Development.

The event's lead sponsors were the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), Geospatial Innovation Facility (GIF), and the Big Pixel Initiative at UC San Diego.

Below are videos from select presentations:

Welcome and Keynote: The Global Sensing Inversion

Ran Goldblatt, Postdoctoral Fellow, UC San Diego, Big Pixel Initiative; Joe Mascaro, Director of Academic Programs, Planet.

Whose Power Gets Cut? Using High-Frequency Satellite Images To Monitor Electricity Access and Power Outages

Brian Min, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan

Satellite-based Monitoring of Inaccessible Reservoirs and Application to War-torn Syria

Mark Muller, Assistant Professor, University of Notre Dame

The Next Frontier for Remote Sensing in the Analysis of Economic Development

Gordon Hanson, Acting Dean, UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy

Satellite Imagery and Small Area Poverty Estimation

Tom Swartz, Data Scientist, Orbital Insight

Lightning Talks

Various Speakers

Supervised Image Classification of LC/LU by Means of Remote Sensing: Mapping Built-Up Land Cover in Vietnam

Ran Goldblatt, Postdoctoral Fellow, UC San Diego, Big Pixel Initiative

Detecting and Characterizing Informal Settlements Using Satellite Imagery

Nikhil Kaza, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Measuring Economic Well-being from Space

Marshall Burke, Assistant Professor, Stanford University

Building the City: Urban Transition and Institutional Frictions

Tanner Regan, PhD Candidate, London School of Economics

Benefits and Costs of Road Investments in Africa: Using Geospatial Data to Plan for Investments

Claudia Berg, Economist, International Monetary Fund

The Spatial Structure of Endowments, Trade, and Inequality: Evidence from the Global Climate

Kyle Meng, Assistant Professor, UC Santa Barbara

Local Incentives and National Tax Evasion: Unintended Effects of a Mining Reform in Colombia

Santiago Saavedra, Stanford University/Universidad del Rosario

To learn more about this event, please see


  • Geography

Article Type

  • Research Highlights