Measuring Poverty from Space

Observed Non-Personal Data Economic Development


Orbital Insights is a data analytics company that provides products to both private businesses and nonprofit entities to the end of enabling data-driven decision making. Its focus areas include: US retail traffic, world oil storage, global water reserves, China's economic index, poverty mapping and agriculture. They offer clients "unprecedented insights about global trends." Orbital Insights describes its geoanlaytical process as one that comprises four key elements: – Imaging: Namely satellite imagery of the earth's surface. – Deep Learning: Algorithms that can "recognize objects, features, and patterns within images, generating highly intelligent and revealing data." – Cloud Computing: Orbital's data pipeline allows it to "process tens of thousands of pixels every second." – Data Science: In order to translate observations into actionable insights, Orbital leverages data science to contextualize and customize data for a variety of uses.

Orbital Insight’s collaboration with the World Bank is the second such initiative of which it has been a part. The company is already feeding data to the Global Forest Watch (, a data collaborative aimed at tracking and minimizing deforestation around the world. The combination of Orbital’s satellite imagery and artificial intelligence capabilities can be leveraged in a number of ways. The company showed, for instance, that artificial intelligence analyzing satellite imagery to count cars in a retailer’s parking lot “can be more accurate than U.S. census data at predicting the retailer’s quarterly earnings.”

Orbital Insights has partnered with the World Bank in an initiative "testing the effectiveness of machine-analyzed satellite images for humanitarian data collection through deep learning artificial intelligence." The project is aimed at providing "an important augmentation to census data in determining which areas are developing more slowly and whether localized interventions are effective."

Region: Worldwide

includes kosovo