I have become a fanatic of intelligent and collaborative government and that could be attributed to the fact that so many elements are currently aligned in a way that makes it easy to stitch together a solution fabric to deliver a value payload hitherto never experienced by the citizens of Kenya.
Every politician talks about the “plenty that is to be found within our borders”, with the unfortunate output of remaining vague and abstract, unable to distill this in a way that communicates effectively .
Enter geospatial data and attendant infrastructure. Geospatial data can be summarized simply as topographical information on the locations and features found on a map, with spatial data infrastructure being the set of standards and policies that govern the creation, sharing and use of the data.
That we know our borders is one thing, that we can pin point the value and potential of any one point is another. Remember the atlas from your school days? It’s modern day relative is the digital map as provided by companies such as Google and Microsoft. Beyond zooming in and trying to locate your house on the said maps, spare a thought on the additional value that you would gain from additional layered data that when visualized in real-time would provide information that would help you make better personal or business decisions.
On the personal
Say you are recently married and are thinking of where to start your family. Would it not be great to be in a position to filter dynamically through neighborhoods that offer close proximity to schools that scored a certain average in KCPE, hospitals with a pediatric wing and recreation facilities within walking distance while having a low crime count? Or if you want to build a new home, would you not like to see what the future plans for areas surrounding the plot you are about to purchase look like?
On the commercial
How about where to set up an industry that requires a certain type of raw material, while still requiring a good road network with at least six months of temperatures that do not dip below 24 Celsius?
And what about these construction companies that unearth piping and server fibre optic and electricity cables that have been laid years before? Isn’t there a smarter way to avoid repetitive damage and resultant financial loss from outages and repairs that have to be undertaken?
For government, what better way to rollout development of infrastructure that will drive business growth and increase revenue collection through tax by connecting the dots and discovering new patterns and dependencies to trade?
Everyone has their own unique value takeout that can be best visualized and shared dynamically on top of enriched geospatial data. The spatial data infrastructure as worked on collaboratively by the Ministry of Lands and the Ministry of Information and Communications must be deployed soon allow for the layering of additional location-related datasets that will open up valuable information that will power decision making on many activities with economic impact.