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
will soon have an electronic land adjudication system if the
Government adopts recommendations by an international conference.
say 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.
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
challenged the Government to adopt Participatory Geographical
Information System (PGIS).
cited 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," he said.
conference, whose theme was Mapping for Change, was organised by the
Netherlands-based Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural
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 and health.
said community mapping would enable marginalised groups assert their
right to ancestral lands.
said PGIS would help people plan, design, engineer, build and maintain
system, 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.
Julius 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
PGIS, 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,"
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.
Ogiek apply PGIS in combination with information and communication
technology (ICT) as advocacy tools to fight for their rights and
Ogiek 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A 'Good Practice' Sequence Implementing P-Mapping and PGIS
Works - 30 plus steps in the Process and Procedures.
"Purpose, - 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.
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 the map?
Who decides on the
priorities between interests and issues?
Who selects the
information to be included?
Who decides on the
sources of information, including the choice of "key
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.)
Nevertheless, 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.
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, religion, class.
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, and coherent.
Consider 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.
Consider 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
Participation 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.
Participation 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
II. Process and Procedures - the Works:
30 or so steps, ..........
III. Reiteration - Back to the beginning
Participation 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:
mapping, computer and GIS skills;
knowledge, e.g. from older key informants to young people, from
women to men
understanding- about the knowledge and capacities of local
- presentations, negotiation, lobbying, legal entitlements.
Participation must be through the whole sequence and the whole system
- including during the implementation and the changes thereafter.
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
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.
Re-consider 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
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