Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Cheaper, faster, and more than good enough: is GPS the new gold standard in land area measurement?
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/24840/Cheaper00faste0d0area0measurement00​.pdf?sequence=1
In rural societies of low- and middle-income countries,
land is a major measure of wealth, a critical input
in agricultural production, and a key variable for assessing
agricultural performance and productivity. In the
absence of cadastral information to refer to, measures of
land plots have historically been taken with one of two
approaches: traversing (accurate, but cumbersome), and
farmers’ self-report (cheap, but marred by measurement
error). Recently, the advent of cheap handheld GPS devices
has held promise for balancing cost and precision. Guided
by purposely collected primary data from Ethiopia, Nigeria,
and Tanzania (Zanzibar), and with consideration for
practical household survey implementation, the paper
assesses the nature and magnitude of measurement error
under different measurement methods and proposes a
set of recommendations for plot area measurement. The
results largely point to the support of GPS measurement,
with simultaneous collection of farmer self-reported areas.

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