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Spatial Data Infrastructure in Africa: A synopsis of the SDI Africa survey questionnaires received Compiled by the Directorate: National Spatial Information Framework, Department of Land Affairs, South Africa Background to the survey In November 1999, the Interim Task Team for Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) in Africa initiated a survey on SDI programmes or projects with an SDI-building component in Africa, in order to inform possible options for creating structures to foster and harmonise SDI initiatives across the continent. The questionnaire was disseminated through UN/ECA as well as informal networks. This synopsis covers questionnaires received before 3 March 2000. Programmes and projects documented through the SDI Africa survey Information from the following organisations / programmes was received [the abbreviation used to refer to this response in this synopsis is indicated in square parentheses]: The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Food Security Programme, based at the Regional Remote Sensing Unit (RRSU) in Harare, Zimbabwe [SADC-FSC] The Biomass Programme of Uganda [Uganda] The Seychelles GIS Centre [Seychelles] Regional Tsetse and Trypanosomosis Control Programme (RTTCP) covering the SADC countries of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi, with the Ministry of Agriculture, Zimbabwe, as lead agency [RTTCP] Kenya wetlands conservation and training programme [Kenya] Environmental Support Project, Ethiopia [Ethiopia] National Spatial Information Framework, South Africa [SA-NSIF] Swaziland, Surveyor General’s Department [Swaziland] Botswana, Department of Surveys and Mapping [Botswana-DSM] Namibia, Surveyor-General [Namibia-SG] Namibia, National Remote Sensing Centre (Ministry of Environment and Tourism) [Namibia-NRSC] Morocco, Centre Royal de Teledetection Spatiale (CRTS) [Morocco] Lesotho, Committee for Environmental Data Management 1 [Lesotho] Algeria, Institut National de Cartographie et de Teledetection [Algeria] CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products, Australia: a global programme on tree cultivation, with some (limited) activity in Africa [CSIRO] Of the above, four of the projects focus distinctly on environmental issues or issues relating to the natural resource base; there is a clear aim to these project or programme, and the creation of elements of SDI could be seen as flowing from this main aim. Six of the programmes documented could be described as “national” programmes, i.e. formally supported by the national government, to serve national interests, not limited to a particular sector. One national programme, namely Lesotho, is focussing particularly on the environmental sector. While not necessarily labelled as such, these programmes tend to involve a conscious development of the “classic” components of SDI. The Ethiopian project, while focussing on 1 Completed by the Directorate: NSIF, Department of Land Affairs, South Africa the environmental sector, specifically targets enhanced data management, and is not limited to spatial information. Three of the projects documented encompass more than one country. Roleplayers (spatial data users and producers) identified: Government: National government departments are indicated as significant players in every response received. It is anticipated that regional offices of government will become involved in Ethiopia. Parastatals (utility providers) are mentioned in Botwana. Private sector involvement: private sector activity is mentioned explicitly in South Africa and Namibia. Responses from Uganda and Kenya indicate little private sector activity. Private sector activity in Morocco is focussed largely on application development. Private sector involvement in Zimbabwe relates to training and systems development. User Groups: There is a GIS User group in Zimbabwe. Other organisations: Universities and national and international NGOs are described as both data users and producers. UN agencies are mentioned particularly in connection with environmental projects. Co-ordination The following agencies were identified as being involved in leading the co-ordination of geographic information related activities for a particular region or sector: Information Section of National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in Uganda; Surveyor General’s Office, Department of Agriculture, in Zimbabwe; National Spatial Information Framework, Department of Land Affairs, in South Africa; In Botswana, the Government Computer Bureau has been tasked with this (currently, the Department of Survey and Mapping plays a co-ordinating role with respect to spatial information); Le Conseil National de l’Information Geographique (National Council for Geographic Information), comprised of representatives of the principal national institutions which produce and use geographic information, in Algeria; A co-ordinating committee, the Comite National de l’Information Geographique (CNIG) is being formed through the Department of the Prime Minister in Morocco; at present informal co-ordination in Morocco is achieved through regular meetings between several Departments; a newly created body in Namibia (not named). The following plans to achieve co-ordination were also mentioned: The office of the Surveyor-General will take on a co-ordinating role in Swaziland in the future; There has been an initiative by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to development a regional network of data producers in Eastern Africa; A Protocol for Inter-agency Co-operation has been drafted in Ethiopia, and parties will shortly be signing the agreement. Components of the programmes Broad characteristics of and activities associated with these programmes are summarised below under the appropriate headings. These include components common to national SDI initiatives elsewhere, as well as other facets, such as capacity building. Creation of basic data sets: National data sets are described as being created or available in all the responses. SADC-FSP is involved in deriving SADC-wide data sets through integrating data sets pertaining to individual SADC countries. Metadata: Captured metadata is available to potential data users in Seychelles, South Africa, SADC-FSP, Botswana, Namibia, Ethiopia and Lesotho. There are plans to capture metadata and provide this digitally in Morocco. Metadata is being captured in Swaziland. While metadata is not formally captured in Uganda, most custodian organisations know the standards to which their data were captured. Neither the capture nor publishing of metadata is widespread in Kenya. The Clearinghouse concept: An FGDC-clearinghouse clone has been implemented by SA-NSIF; SADC-FSP also publishes metadata through this clearinghouse. A clearinghouse has also been established in Ethiopia. Plans for a clearinghouse in East Africa were discussed at the Regional Integrated Information Systems Strategy workshop organised by IGAD (held in Jinja, Uganda, 26-29 July 1999) [Kenya]. Plans were drawn up but never implemented in Kenya for a national clearinghouse. Standards development and alignment: SADC-FSP, SA-NSIF, Botswana-DSM, Namibia-SG, Algeria (through its National Council for Geographic Information) and Lesotho are developing standards. Standardization in alignment with international standards is being addressed in Morocco through the Direction de la Normalisation within the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. A standard datum is used in Uganda. The lack of a body driving standardization is identified as a problem in Kenya. Policy pertaining to spatial information dissemination and access: Pricing policy is being developed in Botswana, Seychelles, SA. No consistent policy across different agencies in Kenya. Policy / legislation governing access to and dissemination of data being addressed by Botswana, SADC-FSP, Namibia. No formal policy regarding distribution of data in Lesotho, but agreements concerning updates etc are made between users and suppliers. Not being formally addressed in Kenya, where MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding) are often used. Capacity building This is actively being pursued in Namibia (both SG and NRSC), SADC-FSP and the Kenyan Wetlands Conservation programme. Liaison with other structures: Seychelles has links with MAPS in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates and is in communication with SA-NSIF. Botswana is involved in Global Map. The RTTCP mentions links with the RRSU in Harare. SADC-FSP has links with SA-NSIF and GSDI (through the Technical Working Group) The Ethiopian project has informal links to WISARD and IAC in the Netherlands and ANZLIC. CEDAMA of Lesotho has links with SA-NSIF Algeria has no liaison with other similar initiatives. Data and information dissemination: Web-sites are described as available (Morocco - www.crts.gov.ma; SA-NSIF – www.nsif.org.za, SADC-FSP – www.zimbabwe.net/sadc-fanr/intro.htm , Uganda – www.imul.com/forestry ) or planned or under development (Botswana, Ethiopia) in all but three responses. (the RTTCP project , Lesotho and Algeria). Hard copy is mentioned frequently as means of distribution (e.g. maps included in hard copy reports produced by SADC-FSP, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana) Digital data is mentioned as being supplied on CD-ROM After identifying the appropriate sources for spatial information through consulting a spatial data catalogue, potential users then make direct contact with custodians (Ethiopia) Challenges identified in relation to establishing National or Regional SDI / RSDI: The challenges to be overcome in establishing NSDI or RSDI, as indicated by respondents, have been grouped in the following categories: Lack of resources, Policy issues, Standardization, Technical Contraints and (of course) Other . Lack of Resources : Financial: the costs of setting up and running such infrastructures [Seychelles] ; limited financial resources [SA-NSIF] Human: Dearth of professionals and competence, expertise [Namibia – SG, Namibia-NRSC]; limited human resources [SA-NSIF] Lack of a clear policy framework: Absence of legislation to compel compliance [Namibia-SG, SA-NSIF]; Operational Data Policy [SADC]; legislation for spatial data distribution [Seychelles] ; no existing policy of copyright and cost recovery [Lesotho] Lack of standardization: Standard data (exchange) formats [SADC-FSP]; lack of standardization and metadata [Lesotho]; existence of incompatible systems [Namibia – SG]; no standardization or body driving standardization [Kenya] Technical constraints: Improvement of the communications infrastructure required [SADC-FSP]; a slow government intranet which inhibits the provision of spatial data via the internet [SA-NSIF] level of technological development of countries [Namibia – NRSC] Attitudes: lack of co-operation between institutions [Uganda]; sustainable co-operation between participants [Ethiopia; lack of culture of co-operation and spatial data sharing [Lesotho] co-ordination between countries [Seychelles]; government policies / attitudes to national data/information access [Uganda], lack of support and understanding of what the NSIF entails from senior managers in government [SA-NSIF]; lack of support of senior managers [Lesotho]; lack of understanding of SDI and its importance by those with the power to make decisions [Botswana] fears of losing autonomy [Namibia – SG] concept of SDI not readily understood by the public [Botswana-DSM] Other: Reliability of available information [Namibia – NRSC] A lack of professional leadership which could lead to conflict with respect to implementation [Botswana-DSM] Questionnaire meta-information Most of the questionnaires (9) were received via e-mail. Three were faxed, and one arrived through snail mail.
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