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“Enhancing FCV Operations with Geospatial ICT Tools:” A new World Bank online course explores the use of geospatial technology in Fragility, Conflict, and Violence contexts

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The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital trends in development data. For example, shortly after lockdowns were imposed across the globe, many governments turned to high-frequency mobile phone surveys to monitor socio-economic impact. Meanwhile, throughout the pandemic, project teams at the World Bank increasingly used nighttime light and big mobile data for real-time economic insights, and adopted new data tools for remote project supervision

Digital data collection tools and geospatial technology, like remote sensing, drones, and mobile phones, can deliver important new data and insights to development practitioners, including governments, often without necessitating in-person engagements. This is especially crucial in areas affected by Fragility, Conflict, and Violence (FCV), where access constraints on the ground often result in a lack of insights into specific dynamics and needs, effectively inhibiting operational engagement. However, implementing these innovative data tools, particularly in FCV settings where development interventions are most urgently needed, involves special technical capacity and logistical considerations. 

“The systematic use of geospatial technology, combined with local ICT capacity-building in FCV contexts, can help us get eyes on the ground where we cannot always have feet on the ground”
Bernhard Metz's photo
Bernhard Metz
Senior Operations Officer, Fragility Conflict Violence

Enhancing FCV Operations with Geospatial ICT Tools” is a new course produced by the World Bank’s Development Data Group that sheds light on how these new data and tools can be employed in FCV contexts, and more broadly in development operations. The self-paced course is aimed at non-technical audiences and contains three interactive modules covering the basics of how remote sensing, drones, and mobile technologies are transforming development data. The modules emphasize the importance of localizing capacity to use and sustain these technologies. Each module is accompanied by videos, case studies, practical guides, and knowledge checks.  


  • Remote Sensing (60 min) Basics of satellite imagery and remote sensing; defining objectives for using satellite imagery in your project; acquisition of and processing imagery and more... 

  • Drones/UAVs (45 min) Basics of drones and imagery; assessing whether drone imagery is appropriate; overview of safety, risk and privacy issues related to drones in development; good practices for drone imagery acquisition; engaging local communities and more... 

  • Mobile Phones (60 min) Basics on how big mobile data generated from basic cell phone and smartphone use can be analyzed for development insights; basics on mobile phone for active development data collection in the field and remotely; good practices on data management and more... 

"We have an opportunity to leverage technological improvements in GIS and remote sensing to completely change knowledge and data generation in the developing world."
Photo of Katie McWilliams
Katie McWilliams
Geospatial Analyst and Technical Project Manager, DECAT

Good data is the lifeblood of government policies, services, and accountability, and it could not be more important than in areas affected by FCV. “Enhancing FCV Operations with Geospatial ICT Tools” will build the capacity of global and local data communities to use new sources of development data with a view to more effectively addressing FCV issues, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 16, which calls for promoting peaceful and inclusive societies.  


The course is free and hosted on the World Bank’s Open Learning Campus. Click here for more details and to register. 


The “Enhancing FCV Operations with Geospatial ICT Tools” course was developed from grant funding provided by The Korea Trust Fund for Economic and Peace-Building Transitions (KTF). The KTF is a global fund administered by the World Bank to finance critical development operations and analysis in situations of fragility, conflict, and violence. The KTF is kindly supported by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Republic of Korea. 

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Gabriel Levin

Geospatial Data Analyst, Development Data Group, World Bank

Katie McWilliams

Geographer, DECAT, World Bank

Bernhard Metz

Senior Operations Officer, Fragility, Conflict & Violence (FCV) Group, World Bank

Trevor Monroe

Program Manager with the Analytics and Tools unit. Development Economics Data Group at the World Bank

Manuel González Schuler

City Management and Urban Governance Consultant, World Bank

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