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Scientific Investigations Report 2013–5238

Prepared in cooperation with the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, Department of Defense

A Comprehensive Population Dataset for Afghanistan Constructed Using GIS-Based Dasymetric Mapping Methods

By Allyson L. Thompson and Bernard E. Hubbard

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (8.66 MB)Abstract

This report summarizes the application of dasymetric methods for mapping the distribution of population throughout Afghanistan. Because Afghanistan's population has constantly changed through decades of war and conflict, existing vector and raster GIS datasets (such as point settlement densities and intensities of lights at night) do not adequately reflect the changes. The purposes of this report are (1) to provide historic population data at the provincial and district levels that can be used to chart population growth and migration trends within the country and (2) to provide baseline information that can be used for other types of spatial analyses of Afghanistan, such as resource and hazard assessments; infrastructure and capacity rebuilding; and assisting with international, regional, and local planning.

First posted June 20, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
954 National Center
Reston, VA 20192


Bernard E. Hubbard

Or visit the USGS Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center Web site at

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Suggested citation:

Thompson, A.L., and Hubbard, B.E., 2014, A comprehensive population dataset for Afghanistan constructed using GIS-based dasymetric mapping methods: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2013–5238, 21 p.,

ISSN 2328-0328 (online)



Introduction and Objectives

Background and Previous Studies

Geographic Information System (GIS) Methods

Results, Discussion, and Conclusions

References Cited

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