The geodata decision tree: Using geodata for evaluations

This policy brief from DEval provides an overview of using a geodata decision tree to help guide the use of geographical data (geodata) in evaluations.

The resource explores what geodata are, why they are useful and when it is best to use them. If an evaluation has a clear geographic dimension, such as those involving infrastructure development, poverty distribution or conflict, then geodata can offer advantages. Suggested benefits of using geodata are:

  • Objectivity: For example, geodata could offer an objective measure of climate change.
  • Cost-effective: More cost-effective than survey data, especially if free datasets are available.
  • Temporal dimension: Collecting pre-intervention data may be possible from archived data.
  • Accessibility: Geodata may be available for remote or dangerous locations.


Nwarotzki, R. (2019). The Geodata Decision Tree: Using Geodata for Evaluations. DEval Policy Brief 3/2019 German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval), Bonn. Retrieved from: