The UK Department for International Development has found an innovative way to use geolocation technology in developing countries and is now using GPS tracking to study and prevent child mortality rates in Nigeria.
ORB International, the firm who administered the study with funding from the Department of International Development, used GPS data showing proximity to clinics in order to show what effect distance had on child mortality rates during birth. The goal of the study is to encourage women in Nigeria to give birth at a clinic instead of in their homes.
“By interviewing people where we knew clinics were funded, and also a matching sample where they weren’t, then overlaying that data on satellite maps, we could show the effect of distance on mortality very effectively,” explained Johnny Heald of ORB.
ORB employs experts at using geolocation technology to gather data in the developing world and conflict states. In a separate project, they used GPS to track Joseph Kony’s LRA and their movement patterns in order to determine where they would show up next.
Although there are concerns relating to the widespread use of GPS data for tracking individuals and the risks associated with such, ORB acknowledges that geospatial data can be very useful as well as potentially dangerous.
– Christina Kindlon