ORNL’s LandScan™ is a community standard for global population distribution data. At approximately 1 km (30″ X 30″) spatial resolution, it represents an ambient population (average over 24 hours) distribution. The database is refreshed annually and released to the broader user community around October.
LandScan™ is now available at no cost to the educational community. The latest LandScan™ dataset available is LandScan Global 2017. Older LandScan Global data sets (LandScan 1998, 2000-2016) are available through site. These data set can be licensed for commercial and other applications through multiple third-party vendors.
LandScan is developed using best available demographic (Census) and geographic data, remote sensing imagery analysis techniques within a multivariate dasymetric modeling framework to disaggregate census counts within an administrative boundary. Since no single population distribution model can account for the differences in spatial data availability, quality, scale, and accuracy as well as the differences in cultural settlement practices, LandScan population distribution is essentially a combination of locally adoptive models that are tailored to match the data conditions and geographical nature of each individual country and region.