PopGIS3: a new tool to visualise development statistics in Tonga


A new online mapping application developed by SPC, and called PopGIS3, is being released today in Tonga – the first Pacific Island country to benefit from this technology. It will allow visualisation of data according to where it has been collected, also called spatial visualisation.

Populations are not distributed equally across Tonga. Neither are expressions of social and economic development, such as economic activity, access to services and school enrolment. Policy makers and planners require comprehensive data and information to make informed decisions and provide equitable access to opportunities to sustain and improve the livelihoods of the people.

PopGIS3 was developed to make population statistics and other socio-economic data and information more accessible, user-friendly and relevant to both producers and users of data. Ultimately, it will allow development policies, plans and programme initiatives to deliver. It can also prove extremely valuable in times of disaster response when accurate maps of disaster affected areas may be needed.

Tonga’s Government Statistician, Viliami Fifita, said that “PopGIS3 Tonga is getting officially launched at the national level during the Tonga Statistics Day celebrations on the 6th of November, which is focusing on the theme of Better data, better lives. I am looking forward to sharing this excellent news, and encouraging Tonga’s decision makers to learn how to use this tool for their day-to-day policy development processes.”

Longer term benefits of PopGIS3 include advocacy and awareness-raising among different groups of clients and stakeholders about the importance of population processes and their interrelationships with other facets of development; it will assist in increasing the institutional capacity of national statistical offices and planning agencies to engage in detailed analysis of social and economic data, and deliver information products in a more user-friendly format.

Data provided includes indicators relating to Populations and Households, Education and more, across a range of geographic levels from Division down to Village. Additional data layers such as school locations and health facilities will be progressively added. Datasets can also be overlaid on satellite imagery to enable data to be better contextualised.

Tonga PopGIS3 is a significant technical upgrade compared to its previous version. It is much faster and supports mobile devices. It allows users to access and visualise important statistics required for evidence-based decision making whether they be in the office, in a meeting, or on the go. 

About PopGIS:
PopGIS is an interactive mapping tool, notably used for policy analysis, planning and research, and monitoring of progress. PopGIS2 systems are currently available in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis-and-Futuna, and one regional site. They will be upgraded to PopGIS3 over the next 6 to 12 months.

Media contact:
Phil Bright - GIS, Innovation and Dissemination Lead - [email protected]

Useful links:
PopGIS3 Tonga
All PopGIS2 sites