PLACE provides detailed, timely mapping data for urban and coastal areas to Governments in the developing world at a cheaper price. PLACE employs interconnected innovations. First, an institutional innovation in the form of a data trust that accords data ownership to governments, while facilitating access and ethical use of data by private companies, NGOs, and academics. Secondly, a financial innovation via a sliding scale of payments for access to the data. Commercial users finance data collection and have the right to build their own data products on top of the base maps. NGOs and researchers pay a nominal fee. PLACE is also a technological innovation. It uses low-cost, high-performance drones to provide georeferenced images at 5 cm resolution together with topographical accuracy (elevation) to 6 cm. Finally, PLACE is a market innovation. PLACE builds capacity, and creates demand, for locally run organizations to operate the UAVs and supply imagery on a regular basis.
Impact at scale: PLACE’s addressable market consists of urban areas in the developing world, with a total population of 1.7 billion. PLACE’s data could provide the foundation for a range of public and private services.
Climate adaptation focus: PLACE strengthens the public sector effort to operationalize climate resilience and adaptation agendas. This approach is aligned with GIF’s climate resilience and adaptation agenda.
Team: Senior management (‘partners’) have long and deep experience in property rights, land mapping, and development, and bring strong networks in the private and public sector. It also has experience launching and scaling similar ventures.
Additionality: PLACE needs to build its database of cities, so that it can start charging commercial members, and from there the flywheel for scaling can start. Grant funding from GIF to map cities will catalyse membership (and potential match funding).
Learnings: Our partnership with the Adaptation Research Alliance encourages stakeholder-engaged, action-oriented learning. There are possibilities to work out learning activities with groups such as the Spatial Collective (spatialcollective.com) and Radiant Earth (see here).
Theory of Change
The Theory of Change (“ToC”) rests on the following assumptions: