New Land Mapping System to Give
People Greater Say
(Does it? -see Ethics and GPS/GIS/PGIS/ICT below)
East African Standard (Nairobi)
Posted to the web September 22, 2005
Kenya will soon
have an electronic land adjudication system if the Government adopts
recommendations by an international conference.
this would expedite the process of land transfer and management, and eradicate
controversy, corruption and political interference which have dogged the
process for many years.
Dr Eric Nyadimo
of the Institute of Geodesy and Land Management, Technische University Munchen,
Germany, told the conference that Kenya should use maps and geographic
information technologies in land adjudication. He said the present system of
land adjudication had major weaknesses and was not economically sustainable:
"It ignores land owners. The exercise is prone to controversy, corruption
and confusion and political interference."
the Government to adopt Participatory Geographical Information System (PGIS).
Germany which used PGIS to streamline land adjudication.
Germany, land consolidation is under the Federal Land Consolidation Act. Land
consolidation is a responsibility of landowners who form the body of
participants that elects a board to oversee land adjudication matters,"
whose theme was Mapping for Change, was organised by the Netherlands-based
Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Development (CTA).
director, Hansjorg Neum, stressed the importance of spatial knowledge
generated through mapping. He said such knowledge would help local communities
in tackling issues related to land tenure, human rights, resource entitlement
community mapping would enable marginalised groups assert their right to
PGIS would help people plan, design, engineer, build and maintain their
introduced in the late 1980s to enhance participatory planning and management,
is successfully being applied in mobilising under-utilised local, physical,
human, institutional and knowledge resources. Development agents are also
applying it to strengthen their understanding of local diversity in natural
and social resources.
Muchemi, executive director, Environmental Research, Mapping and Information
Systems in Africa, said PGIS had great potential to empower individuals and
communities for social change: "PGIS is a process of empowering
communities to plan and manage their livelihoods. The community can then use
the maps to plan on how to use their resources."
communities in Keiyo and Marakwet have put in place a sustainable natural
resource use management plan.
in the higher lands had running conflicts with those in low lands over sharing
of certain resources like water and grazing fields. Using PGIS tools, the
communities identified and mapped vulnerable groups, vulnerable environmental
spots, available natural resources and opportunities for sharing resources.
They then developed a plan on how to protect those vulnerable among them, how
to sustainably and equitably manage, utilise and conserve their natural
resources," Muchemi said.
extolled the potentials of PGIS in supporting the plight of Ogiek, an ethnic
minority living in the Mau Forest. Tinet Forest, which is part Mau, is the
ancestral home of the Ogiek community.
The Ogiek apply
PGIS in combination with information and communication technology (ICT) as
advocacy tools to fight for their rights and interests.
can use PGIS and ICT in assessing and addressing environmental issues, one of
the major factors behind the Government's move to kick them out of the forest.
They can bring out their traditional systems of natural resource management,
utilisation and conservation and hence prove that their existence in the
forest does not have any negative effects on the Mau ecosystem.
Ethics and GPS/GIS/PGIS/ICT
Some notes from a "good practice measures" approach to doing pgis
which I think are nearly all connected with issues of ethical design and
behaviour (practice) :
Mike McCall <email@example.com>
A 'Good Practice' Sequence Implementing P-Mapping and PGIS
II. the Works - 30
plus steps in the Process and Procedures.
- which purpose?, whose purpose?" - analytical and operational clarity
about the purpose of the P-GIS exercise is the key element. Be very
certain about the purpose - why? and which? Get people involved in this
exercise. There are many purpose & justifications for P-Mapping.
Purpose can be translated into the competing intentions of participation -
facilitation, collaboration, and empowerment.
* Local people
and their communities are the principals or partners, not the clients.
Thus the P-GIS initiatives emanate from them, not from the outside. Therefore,
participation is also essential in this process of determining the purpose.
* Ownership of
the products as well as the information/ knowledge inputs is a vital issue.
Who determines the purpose of
Who decides on the priorities
between interests and issues?
Who selects the information to
Who decides on the sources of
information, including the choice of "key informants"?
Who decides on the legend?
i.e. what items will be located on the map.
What are the spatial extent
& limits of the P-mapping exercise, the boundaries. (This always
depends on the purpose.)
a pre-condition is that the legislative and legal and political climate must
be amenable and supportive to participation values and a P-GIS strategy.
The condition may not (is unlikely to) be fully met, so some of the PSP
activities or projects, at another level, will need to be directed towards
strengthening higher political forces towards this.
* P-GIS is
directed towards the marginalized, the unrepresented, the inarticulate, the
resource-poor, the power-deficient. It must show positive discrimination
towards people identified by gender, age, wealth, resource levels, caste,
* Envision from
the start, what are the GI outputs / products going to be - are they of any
use to anyone - if so, for whom? This is again an ´ownership´ issue.
This would imply that the products should be simple, clear, understandable,
testable, and convincing, as well as relevant, reliable, logical, replicable,
collaboratively what might be the negative impacts of the outputs - PSP and
P-mapping can lead to more conflicts, and more concentration of power or
resources in a few hands.
beforehand what are the likely needs for confidentiality of spatial
information - ranging from the locations of rare species or of valuable
medicinal plants, to secret, sacred sites.
* Despite the
necessity for a long-range vision, nevertheless, the approach should remain
flexible, adaptive, and recursive in the actual approach, without sticking
rigidly to pre-determined tools and techniques, or blindly to the initial
objectives (participation is learning).
is always a learning process - and best if it is learning in two directions:
Experts learn the interests,
objectives, limitations, constraints, and variability from the insiders.
traditional leaders, elected leaders, NGO, CBO, civil society, etc) learn
from the expert (planner, GIS, mapper, geographer, doorkeeper to outside
knowledge, contact with outside power). Insiders learn technical knowledge,
and new technical, economic and social skills, but also a wider vision.
is always slow - by procedural design, even if not by definition. This is
equally true of PRA, P-mapping, and P-GIS. Nevertheless, the output results
should be as timely as possible.
* Adherence to
fundamental PRA and Participatory-RRA principles and methodology, especially
in terms of their information needs assessment; and not just blindly use the
tools of RRA to exploit local knowledge.
international survey guidelines such as the AAA [ ] Code of Ethics, which
reminds anthropologists that they are responsible not only for factual content
of information, but also the socio-cultural and political implications
II. Process and Procedures - the Works:
30 or so steps, ..........
III. Reiteration - Back to the beginning
in all the above activities carried out, not only with short-term, functional
participation, but with sustainable, local capacity-building to carry the
activities through, as the empowerment objective. There should be
learning and skills development during the capacity-building process.
This includes a variety of skills:
technical surveying, mapping,
computer and GIS skills;
extending local knowledge, e.g.
from older key informants to young people, from women to men
understanding- about the knowledge and capacities of local communities.
organisational skills -
presentations, negotiation, lobbying, legal entitlements.
must be through the whole sequence and the whole system - including during the
implementation and the changes thereafter.
* The Maps are
never final, static, they are not 'cast in stone' - they should be
triangulated, improved, verified.
Later they should be updated. How to ensure this?
* In all the
steps, above, there should be not just short-term, functional, participation
with local people (e.g. therefore, not just the using of school children or
villagers to carry out the mapping). There should be a deep participation
directed towards the empowerment objective throughout the process,
leading towards sustainable, local capacity-building to carry the community
and other parties through PSP.
Multiple, full-quality copies of
the maps should remain in the community probably with several organisations /
groups. Copies should also go to local governments, local NGOs, etc.
Include the names of the contributors to the maps.
and re-assess the purpose of the exercise -: to what extent was it local
initiative?, or was it external intervention? What will have changed in
the community? Who will have benefited? and, Who will have borne the costs? -
in the long, as well as the short term.
The Open Forum on Participatory
Geographic Information Systems and Technologies is managed by www.iapad.org
and hosted by www.ppgis.net
PGIS, PPGIS and community mapping bibliography is found at http://ppgis.iapad.org/bibliography.htm