Satellite images of Earth help us predict poverty better than ever

(NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC) Tweet Share The newest way to accurately predict poverty comes from satellite images and machine learning. This imaging technique could make it easier for aid organizations to know where and how to spend their money; it may also help governments develop better policy. We already know that the more lit up an area is at night, the richer and more developed it is. Researchers use this method to estimate poverty in places where we don’t have exact data. But “night light” estimates are rough and don’t tell us much about the wealth differences of the very poor. Scientists at Stanford University fed a computer three data sources — night light images, daytime images, and actual survey data — to build an algorithm that predicts how rich…


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