IDEAMAPS Data Ecosystem

IDEAMAPS Data Ecosystem

IDEAMAPS (Integrated Deprived Area Mapping System) Data Ecosystem
– a project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

IDEAMAPS project team


The IDEAMAPS Data Ecosystem project is focused on co-designing and developing a participatory data-modelling ecosystem to produce deprived area maps routinely and accurately at scale across cities in lower middle-income countries (LMIC) to support multiple local stakeholders in their decision-making. The first phase of the project is focused on three pilot cities: Lagos and Kano, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya.

IDEAMAPS Data Ecosystem features a multidisciplinary and international consortium with partners at the African Population and Health Research Center (Kenya), University of Lagos (Nigeria), University of Twente/ITC Faculty (Netherlands), George Washington University (United States), University of York (UK) and University of Glasgow (UK).


IDEAMAPS combines artificial intelligence (AI) analysis of earth observation data with community mapping and engagement to improve how we define and understand areas of deprivation ("slums") in cities. The project integrates multiple public, official, and community-generated datasets to produce granular surface maps of deprived areas across individual cities. It adopts a participatory approach to co-design with local stakeholders. Members of “slum” communities and government leaders meet together to share their perspectives, concerns, and express their desired outcomes from the research.  

The project consists of five work streams (work packages/WP):

WP1. Co-design and develop a participatory user platform that enables data sharing, validation of modeled outputs, and retrieval of data in appropriate formats.

WP2. Develop a "just" modeling framework with methods and a workflow that protect contributors’ data and the residents of areas that are mapped.

WP3. Curate datasets and fill current gaps by processing open GIS and Earth Observation (EO) data, as well as developing new EO-based variables and algorithms that anonymize sensitive spatial data.

WP4. Engage stakeholders throughout the co-design, development, training, and user uptake processes.

WP5. Coordinate across the workstreams, evaluate our processes, and prepare learning materials that support local uptake, sustainability, and enable transfer of the IDEAMAPS platform and processes to other cities.


The participatory approach in Kenya and Nigeria will generate new data and enhance the capabilities of the stakeholders to understand and address urban poverty, health, and well-being. The result is that community members and decision-makers will have an improved, co-produced evidence base, as well as strengthened communication networks based on common understandings and trust. These outcomes will support pro-equity interventions to effectively address current issues on urban planning, slum upgrading and urban health.

You can learn more about this project and the wider IDEAMAPS Network here.  

Project team

Principal Investigator: Professor João Porto de Albuquerque, Urban Big Data Centre 

University of Glasgow Co-Investigators:

Dr. Qunshan Zhao, Urban Big Data Centre
Dr. Diego Pajarito Grajales, Urban Big Data Centre
Dr. Grant Tregonning, Urban Big Data Centre
Dr. Angela Abascal Imizcoz, Urban Big Data Centre
Andrew Clarke, Urban Big Data Centre

Researchers and collaborators:  

Dr. Caroline Kabaria, African Population and Health Research Center, Kenya
Francis Onyambu, African Population and Health Research Center, Kenya
Dr. Peter Elias, University of Lagos, Nigeria
Kehinde Baruwa, University of Lagos, Nigeria
Odulana Oluwatoyin, University of Lagos, Nigeria
Bunmi Alugbin, Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency, Nigeria
Dr. Dana Thomson, University of Twente – ITC, Netherlands
Dr. Monika Kuffer, University of Twente – ITC, Netherlands
Dr. Serkan Girgin, University of Twente – ITC, Netherlands
Dr. Helen Elsey, University of York, UK
Dr. Ryan Engstrom, George Washington University, USA

Jointly funded by