Methods for Determining the Uncertainty of Population Estimates Derived from Satellite Imagery and Limited Survey Data: A Case Study of Bo City, Sierra Leone
This study demonstrates the use of bootstrap methods to estimate the total population of urban and periurban areas using satellite imagery and limited survey data. We conducted complete household surveys in 20 neighborhoods in the city of Bo, Sierra Leone, which collectively were home to 25,954 persons living in 1,979 residential structures. For five of those twenty sections, we quantized the rooftop areas of structures extracted from satellite images. We used bootstrap statistical methods to estimate the total population of the pooled sections, including the associated uncertainty intervals, as a function of sample size. Evaluations based either on rooftop area per person or on the mean number of occupants per residence both converged on the true population size. We demonstrate with this simulation that demographic surveys of a relatively small proportion of residences can provide a foundation for accurately estimating the total population in conjunction with aerial photographs.
Hillson R, Alejandre JD, Jacobsen KH, Ansumana R, Bockarie AS, Bangura U, Lamin JM, Malanoski AP, Stenger DA. Methods for determining the uncertainty of population estimates derived from satellite imagery and limited survey data: a case study of Bo city, Sierra Leone. PLoS One. 2014 (Nov 14); 9(11): e112241.