Program Area: GIE

Geospatial Impact Evaluations

Rigorous impact evaluations in a fraction of the time of an RCT

Measure real impact

Geospatial Impact Evaluations measure intended and unintended impacts of development programs. Leveraging readily available data like satellite observations or household surveys, GIE methods establish a reliable counterfactual to measure impact - at a fraction of the time and cost of a "traditional" randomized control trial (RCT).

Methodological rigor

Like RCTs, GIEs can estimate the net effect of a specific program by comparing similar units where the only difference was an intervention, or treatment. Unlike RCTs, GIEs use precise geographic data to establish this counterfactual retroactively, eliminating the need to assign program participants into randomized treatment and control groups within the program design.

Learn more efficiently

GIEs can be completed in a fraction of the time and financial cost of an RCT by eliminating the need for customized data collection in treatment and control groups before, during and after the program.

See portfolio-wide insights

GIE methods are also flexible tools that can either be used to evaluate individual projects or project portfolios.  Whereas RCTs are often implemented in narrowly bounded settings, GIEs can be used with data for an entire country (or even multiple countries), which makes it possible to draw conclusions about impacts and cost effectiveness that are broadly generalizable.

Ascertain long-term impact, even in inaccessible places

Additionally, GIEs can be implemented remotely, retrospectively, and affordably, opening up new opportunities to measure long-run programmatic impacts, which is especially useful to evaluators working in conflict and fragile state settings.

Blog Posts

May 2018

AidData wins $2.95 million to track HIV/AIDS in Côte d’Ivoire

The project is designed to enhance the use of health data by the government of Côte d’Ivoire, civil society organizations and local communities.

Testing for AIDS: A young woman is tested for HIV/AIDS. Photo by Martin Mugo Muiga/Horec Kenya, courtesy USAID Office of HIV/AIDS.
February 2018

Filling the missing middle: A method for impact evaluators on a budget

Faster and cheaper than a randomized control trial but more rigorous than a performance evaluation, Geospatial Impact Evaluations (GIEs) fill the “missing middle” for organizational learning.

December 2017

Strengthening Côte d’Ivoire’s health sector with open data

Researchers from AidData will travel to Côte d’Ivoire to lead development of a USAID-funded geospatial data center.

A USAID Preventative Mini-University in Côte d'Ivoire.
September 2017

Building a geospatial revolution

Geocoding the globe! In our five years of partnership with USAID, we located over 130,000 development activities and $750 billion in assistance.

AidData's Pat Austria (College of William and Mary Class of '13) speaks at the U.S. Global Development Lab Launch April 3, 2014. Photo by David Trichler for AidData, all rights reserved.

Publications