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Global Roads Data Development

Global Roads Data Development



The objective of this Task Group is to develop a Global Roads Open Access Data Set (gROADS), version 2 data set (version 1 of which was released in June 2013), and to further international collaboration on roads data development and data sharing. These activities have been and will continue to be carried out on an internationally collaborative basis, building on existing partnerships among several organizations, including:

•    Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia University
•    Group on Earth Observations Systems of Systems (GEOSS)
•    Information Technology Outreach Services (ITOS) of the University of Georgia
•    Japan Geospatial Authority
•    Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL)
•    OpenStreetMap (OSM)
•    United Nations Cartographic Section (UNCS)
•    World Food Programme

The ultimate goal of the Task Group is to strengthen international science and applied uses of data for the benefit of society by providing improved roads data to the world community on an open access basis.

Deliverables planned for 2016

A co-authored data set, the Global Roads Open Access Data Set, Version 2 (gROADSv2) (November 2016), and potentially a peer-reviewed article on the evaluation of Open Street Map.


Activity Plan

For 2015

  • May-Dec. 2015    Begin adding country data to gROADSv1 to make a v2 data set

A. de Sherbinin and A. Nelson (owners/organisers) & CIESIN staff (participants)

  • Dec. 2015    Report documenting the spatial accuracy and completeness of the OSM data set, which will be considered for publication as a journal article

M. Maron and A. de Sherbinin  (owners/organisers), CIESIN and OSM (participants)

Task Group Intern

The Task Group will host from September 2015 to February 2016 an intern from the Ecole Federal Polytechnique de Lausanne, Bogdan Cirlugea. Bogdan will be hosted by the Task Group chairperson, Alex de Sherbinin, at CIESIN offices in Palisades, NY.  Bogdan comes with strong geospatial and road mapping skills, and will be contributing to the validation of OpenStreetMap data and to the compilation of new data for gROADS v2.

GEO Side Event

The Task Group will be represented at the GEO-XII side events and plenary meeting in Mexico from 9-11 November in Mexico City. gROADS was an approved activity under the GEO 2009-2011 work plan, and seeks to continue its connection to this important community.


For 2016

  • Jan. 2016    Teleconference of TG members

A. de Sherbinin (owner/organiser) and all members (participants)

  • Jan.-Sept. 2016    Continue adding country data to gROADS v1 to make a v2 data set

A. de Sherbinin and A. Nelson (owners/organisers) and CIESIN staff (participants)

  • Sept-Dec.2016    Complete documentation and beta release of gROADS v2

A. de Sherbinin    (owner/organiser) and CIESIN staff (participants)

Main contacts

Alex de Sherbinin (Chair)
CIESIN, Columbia University P.O. Box 1000, Palisades, NY 10964, USA
adesherbinin (at)

Andrew Nelson (vice chair)

Professor of Spatial Agriculture and Food Security

Head of Department of Natural Resources

Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC)

7514 AE Enschede

The Netherlands

dr.andy.nelson (at); a.nelson (at)

+31 53 487 4444

Executive Committee Liaison

Dr. Der-Tsai LEE (Academy of Sciences located in Taipei, China)

Executive Committee Member 2012-2016

Contact Details: E-mail: dtlee (at)


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