An Overview of Spatial Data Protocols for Family Planning Activities

This publication presents an overview of how to structure family planning data to take maximum advantage of existing geographic data or to facilitate future inclusion of the geographic context of data being gathered.

In its recent publication, “An Overview of Spatial Data Protocols for Family Planning Activities: Why and How to Include ‘Where’ in Your Data,”  MEASURE Evaluation PRH provides a guide on how to use geography to facilitate linkages among data.  

The publication presents an overview of how to structure family planning data to take maximum advantage of existing geographic data or to facilitate future inclusion of the geographic context of data being gathered. Data with geographic components are particularly well-suited to support monitoring and evaluation (M&E) efforts and evidence-based decision making within family planning activities. The use of geospatial technologies in the family planning context has been hampered by limitations that often exist with the data. This document seeks to address some of these limitations by presenting key concepts involved in the collection and use of spatially referenced family planning data.

Janine Barden-O’Fallen, director of the MEASURE Evaluation Population and Reproductive Health Associate Award, said the publication was significant for two reasons.

“First, it provides a useful guidance on how the geographic context can be used to support family planning decision making and improve data infrastructures,” she said. “Secondly, it provides detailed explanations of issues relevant to the collection, analysis and use of the spatial data. A number of appendices include helpful resources for spatial data analytics, including notes on geographic information systems (GIS) mapping software, tools and resources, data portals and related M&E tools.”