PRIO-GRID: A Unified Spatial Data Structure

Session Type: 
Mr Andreas F Tollefsen, Peace Research Institute Oslo
Mr Håvard Strand
Halvard Buhaug

Contributions to the quantitative civil war literature increasingly rely on geo-referenced data and disaggregated research designs. While this is a welcome trend, it necessitates geographic information systems (GIS) skills and imposes new challenges for data collection and analysis. So far, solutions to these challenges differ between studies, hampering replication and extension of earlier work. This article presents a standardized structure for storing, manipulating, and analyzing high-resolution spatial data. PRIO-GRID is a vector grid network with a resolution of 0.5 x 0.5 decimal degrees, covering all terrestrial areas of the world. The released dataset comes with cell-specific information on a large selection of political, economic, demographic, environmental, and conflict variables for all years, 1946–2008. A simple descriptive data assessment is offered to demonstrate how PRIO-GRID may be applied in social science research.

Speaker Bio: 

Andreas F. Tollefsen is Researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo. He holds an MA. in Geography from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He is also the winner of the Stuart A. Bremer travel award 2009.