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LandScan Global: Overview

How to access LandScan, a global population dataset.

About LandScan

LandScan Global is a global raster dataset representing ambient population counts at 30 arc-second resolution. It is produced by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and distributed to non-government organizations through East View Information Services.

LandScan data are produced by combining spatial data and imagery analysis technologies with current census data worldwide. LandScan population distribution modeling is tailored to match each individual country and region's data conditions and geographical nature.

Population counts are represented in the LandScan raster dataset through colored grid squares 30 arc-second (roughy 1 sq. km.) grid squares covering the world in a 20,880 row x 43,200 column layout. Population information is also provided for individual countries and for Level-1 administrative geographies within countries (e.g., U.S. States): for these geographies, LandScan Global WMS and WCS attribute tables provide total, male, and female population counts for 17 age categories. All population counts are reported as determined by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Caution!  It's tempting to use several years of LandScan data together to show changes in population. This is not recommended, as LandScan uses continually improving data sources and modeling. What appears as population change may merely be a result of changes in LandScan data collection and processing.

Access to Electronic Resources

As required by license agreements with the resource publishers and/or vendors of these resources, access to these titles and use of passwords are limited to usage by University of Pennsylvania faculty, students, and staff.

In addition, most of the publishers/vendors impose restrictions on the use of their products. This includes prohibitions on: downloading entire journal issues, complete journal volumes or sections of databases in a systematic fashion; electronic redistribution of information; making print or electronic copies for redistribution to non-subscribers or non-subscribing institutions; using products for non-academic purposes. Individual publishers monitor web activity and violation of the licensing agreement could result in cancellation of this service.

Please contact the Electronic Resources Department for clarification on access and use restrictions on a particular resource.

How to Access

Penn students, faculty, and staff have several ways to LandScan Global.

  LandScan Global (current, 2016) LandScan Global Archive 2000-
WebApp View and download data View and download data
WMS Display image in GIS Display image in GIS
WCS Display and download data in GIS Display and download data in GIS
LandScan HD Display and download data in GIS  


The WebApp allow you to view LandScan data anywhere via your web browser.LandScan 2013 sample image: Haddonfield NJ

The WebApp version of LandScan is year-specific: separate applications show individual years of LandScan data. The WebApp map presentation depicts only total population counts for 1 sq. km. grid units, countries,  Level-1 administrative units within countries, and for user-defined custom areas. Pointing and clicking on a map area triggers a pop-up window with total population x age counts for country and specific Level-1 administrative unit; for the pixel display of 1 sq. km. grid units, pointing and clicking also displays total population for the specific grid unit.

The WebApp offers country-level and custom-area data downloading, providing ArcGIS shapefiles with attribute data including total, male, and female population counts with 17 age categories.


Web Map Service (WMS) and Web Coverage Service (WCS) are protocols for accessing spatial data like LandScan online. The WMS serves map images while the WCS serves data that can be manipulated and saved to a local drive. They cannot be viewed with a web browser; they must be used within ArcGIS or other geographic information systems, using a computer on-campus.

 WMS (image only)    WCS (downloadable data)

2016 | 2015
2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010
2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000

2016 | 2015
2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010
2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000

Below are instructions for accessing WMS and WCS via ArcCatalog, the file management application in ArcGIS.

  • Right-click on a year above under WMS or WCS, and copy the URL to your clipboard.
  • Open the ArcCatalog Window within ArcMap. See it>>
  • Double-click either "Add WMS Server" or "Add WCS Server." See it>>
  • Paste in the server addess in the URL field. Click OK. See it>>
  • In the Catalog window, you should now see the WMS or WCS server listed as LandScan_YEAR Dataset on You can now drag and drop the lspopYEAR layer into the map window to view the data. See it >>

LandScan HD

Monrovia. LandScan HD 2014

For selected locations outside the U.S., ORNL has produced ambient population distribution raster coverages using the LandScan model at a larger scale than the standard LandScan releases. The LandScan HD coverages offer raster imagery with a grid of 3 arc-second or approximately 90-meter resolution.

Cities currently covered in the LandScan HD release include (for 2014 data): Abuja and Port Harcourt, Nigeria; Conakry, Guinea, Dakar, Senegal; Freetown, Sierra Leone; and Monrovia, Liberia.

LandScan HD raster imagery may be downloaded from the ESRI ArcGIS website.