A neighborhood map

There is little accurate data about cities in Africa and a few effective methods to collect the same. Take Nairobi for example. Nairobi’s population has increased more than tenfold in the last 50 years. This rapid urbanization brought with it a two-tier development process where some areas are rapidly modernizing while others lag behind. Due to the speed with which the city is developing, there’s no easy way to understand and determine which areas are over- or underserved; there’s no easy way for people to share immediate experiences about neighborhoods.

Many data collection initiatives/tools that do exist are extractive and information rarely stays with the people. People are often cut out of the decision-making process, from determining what data points are collected to what happens with the data itself, and because of that, people don’t have access to data that is important to them. The failure to include the communities doesn’t just impact them negatively; it also reduces the accuracy of the data and knowledge about a place.

At Spatial Collective, we have been working on a platform that enables people to express their perceptions about a place through location, topic, and emotion. The spatial location means they can contribute information precisely in the area they are in. The topic section allows them to name or select which issue in particular matters to them. The emotion section allows them to say how they feel about the selected issue using their emotions with provision for further explanation. The platform does not dictate what is important about a place; the people will tell us.

Below are some preliminary results from Kibera.

The map above shows approximately one hundred perceptions from about half a dozen citizens of a small village in Kibera. The colors in the red specter are showing more negative perceptions/issues/feelings while the colors in the blue specter more positive.

If we focus on specific topics, such as security, waste, infrastructure, etc. we can extract very valuable data about a place. The map below shows only data that touch on waste and river in the area.  

Further, the map below displays a message touching on security at a specific open space inside the village.

Not everything needs to be negative. The next map below displays only positive perceptions of the people about a specific place in the village in Kibera. 

Finally, when we aggregate the data, we see the density of perceptions in each area of the village.

We are in the midst of platform development so more coming up soon.

Please follow and like us:
RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Instagram
LinkedIn

Open Cities Zanzibar

Open Cities Africa Project

Open Cities Africa is an initiative carried out in 10 cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, to engage local government, civil society, and the private sector to develop the information infrastructures necessary to meet 21st-century urban resilience challenges.

The project is aligned with the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery’s (GFDRR) Resilient Cities Program and is implemented through a unique partnership between GFDRR and the World Bank, city governments, and a partner community comprised of regional scientific and technology organizations, development partners, and technology companies to support upcoming or ongoing World Bank-supported activities in the selected cities.

Zanzibar City

For the purposes of disaster risk management, the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar (RGoZ), specifically the Commission for Lands (COLA) and the Department of Urban Planning, have noted the need to update their Zanzibar Master Plan with locations of all the built structures and flood-prone areas in the city.

Spatial Collective, the implementing partner of Open Cities Africa, spent many months on Zanzibar working with the local stakeholders and coordinating various data collection activities. The goal was to generate and visualize datasets critical to disaster risk management and to build the capacity of government staff, university students, and communities in the process.

The main objectives of this project were to:

  • Finalize the digitization of buildings on Unguja Island, the largest island of the Zanzibar Archipelago.
  • Ensure that the dataset was of acceptable quality by the stakeholders.
  • Assign building reference numbers to the entire dataset following very specific nomenclature put forth by the Zanzibar’s Commission for Lands.
  • Carry out community mapping of amenities and a household survey in six of Zanzibar City’s shehias or wards.
  • Provide a series of visualizations and in the process transfer knowledge to State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) and Zanzibar Commission for Lands (COLA) students and staff.

Digitization

Building upon the previous efforts, the main objective of the Open Cities Project on Zanzibar was to finalize the digitization of all the buildings on Unguja Island. For this reason, a digitization workspace with several computers and a localized network for accessing and sharing data was established at the Commission for Lands.

A dozen former students from the Zanzibar State University used the workspace to digitize about 160,000 buildings, mostly in Zanzibar City. These buildings were added to the pre-existing dataset of 200,000 buildings, completing the digitization of Zanzibar Archipelago’s largest island.

The entire dataset was re-checked for errors and building reference numbers were assigned following the nomenclature put forth by the Commission for Lands.

Fieldwork

After the digitization was complete, it was time for fieldwork. The aim was to collect data critical to the Commission for Lands’ urban planning efforts, specifically on flooding, waste management, and transportation.

The stakeholders agreed to carry out a household survey and GPS data collection in six shehias or wards. Twenty former State University of Zanzibar students, several Commission for Lands staff, and community representatives from each shehia were trained and participated in mobile and GPS data collection.

Altogether, 2,100 buildings were surveyed using Open Data Kit and ONA software. The data touched on registering building types, collecting basic demographic information, documenting people’s experiences of flooding, determining access to waste management services, and assessing transport patterns and habits of residents. GPS data collection of relevant amenities was also carried out in the area.

At the end of each day, the data was sent to the Zanzibar’s Commission for Lands where it was stored and visualized.

Capacity building

Likely the most important effort in this project was directed to working with existing data communities on Zanzibar and building capacity of University students and the Commission for Lands staff.

A dozen full-time digitizers were engaged between July 2018 and end of October 2018 and approximately 30 people were trained and participated in GPS and mobile data collection in January and February 2019. The trainees and data collectors were former SUZA students and COLA staff, community members, shehia administrators, and local emergency responders.

At least 25 training events were at the Commission for Lands touching on QGIS essentials, quality control and quality assurance, and OpenStreetMap.

To raise awareness about the project, half a dozen public events were held in and around Zanzibar City, and a large delegation from the Island attended both FOSS4G conference in Dar es Salaam and MapBox training on Zanzibar.

In February 2019, the Open Cities Zanzibar team had the privilege to present its work to the Director of Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Practice at the World Bank.

Final Products

Between July 2018 and February 2019, 160,000 buildings were digitized and added to the pre-existing dataset of 200,000 buildings on Unguja Island, completing the digitization of Zanzibar Archipelago’s largest island.

The buildings were checked and corrected for errors and building reference numbers were assigned to each building. Several roads on Unguja Island and about 20,000 buildings on Pemba Island were also digitized.

In February, a household survey of about 2,100 households and GPS mapping within 6 shehias was complete. An interactive map of the area and several printed maps were made openly available. All the drone imagery is also made available to the public under a creative commons license.

Finally, a series of blog posts, social media posts, and manuals documenting and promoting Open Cities activities Zanzibar were written and shared with the public.

Way forward

Zanzibar has been through some sort of a renaissance of geospatial activities and open data in recent years. The whole archipelago was mapped using drones and hundreds of thousands of buildings were digitized just in the last two years. More importantly, dozens of youth worked on these projects, gaining crucial skills in mapping and other geospatial activities.

To keep the positive momentum going, it is crucial to develop a working environment for these emerging data and technology communities on Zanzibar. The Islands needs something like an urban laboratory, where creative ideas could come to fruition. A place like that could support the government in its endeavors and perhaps, more importantly, find innovative ways to share the data back with the people.

Please follow and like us:
RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Instagram
LinkedIn

Applying ICTs to the Data Capture Element of Land Registration: Lessons Learnt and Recommendations

This is the next in the series of blog posts on research into applying ICTs to the data capture element of land registration. It follows the previous blog post titled: Testing ICTs and Affordable Mapping Tools for Demarcation of Land Under Real-World Scenarios.

In our research conducted in 2017, we aimed to test whether:

  1. Cheap and widely available tools that can be used for land demarcation exist.
  2. These tools can reach the demarcation threshold required by the Kenyan government in terms of accuracy and attribution.
  3. Communities, using these tools, can replicate the work of a professional surveyor.

We find that cheap and widely available tools that can be used for land demarcation indeed exist. Kenya is a major technology hub of Africa. Mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions are higher than 80 percent and the percentage of individuals using the Internet was as high as 26 percent in 2016. These new technologies “help marginalized communities communicate, conduct business, receive nearly real-time feedback from crisis areas, alert populations about health risks, fight corruption, climate change, and alleviate poverty.”[1] Given the central role of communication costs in collective action, the growing abundance of cheap, broadly distributed and sophisticated information and communication technologies can affect the nature of collaboration in community-based development initiatives.[2]

When we tested a series of off-the-shelf GPS and mobile tools to see whether they can achieve the accuracy and attribution standards required by law, we found that environmental factors greatly affect the nature of measurements of different terrains. Lower accuracy and precision were observed in the forest with high canopy cover and low field of view for all devices. The measurements improved significantly as the environmental factors (canopy and terrain) improved, in the village and lowlands. Relatively high canopy cover and low field of view had the greatest effect on the measurements.

We find that these tools cannot reach the accuracy threshold required for demarcating fixed boundaries as these boundaries require three to four-centimeter accuracy under the Kenyan law. However, apart from the heavily forested areas, most devices were able to collect location data within three to five meters, as required for general boundaries.

Furthermore, we found that a pairing of mobile and GPS dependencies may provide the most optimal and cost-effective measurements in the face of environmental and terrain challenges and limited network connectivity.

Working with communities and a professional surveyor, we find that communities can lead the process of land demarcation and can replicate the work of a professional surveyor both in terms of accuracies and attribution required in rural areas (general boundaries). Smartphones can store the necessary attribute data from the field in a digital format, fulfilling the requirements to document people, land and associated rights.

We find that these tools provide an excellent alternative to the system that is currently used in rural areas where most parcels are registered only through pen and paper, and sometimes by measuring tape, and the information is stored in paper format at the County offices. The tools are also much cheaper and easy to use than the professional grade surveying equipment.

Some bottlenecks can be removed by using these affordable technologies:

  • Lack of affordable tools.

The tools are widely available, affordable, and easy to use by communities.

  • Local communities have no access to information.

With these tools, information can be easily collected, stored and shared.

  • Local communities are not able to value their land.

Applications can be built to streamline the valuation of land based on the data input.

  • The registration process is unclear or unknown to the communities.

The tools can be used for information sharing.

  • The relationships between Kenyan national, community and individuals in terms of property rights is difficult for communities to comprehend.

This is a systemic issue that the tools cannot address on their own.

  • Antiquated procedures sustained through inertia in the titling process and an inability to explore, let alone adopt new technologies to replace old methods.

This is still an issue in Kenya, however, the tools provide for an excellent alternative to the current system of paper-based data storing, etc.

  • Technical tools used to capture vital information on mapping are often too expensive, difficult to operate, rely solely on connectivity, and require extensive training/maintenance and complex processing solutions. In some cases, the skills needed to record information accurately often built up over many years of experience including formal qualifications.

Training is relatively simple and most processes repeatable to a satisfactory standard, and the possibility of having units available at sub-county level that can be rented out to communities makes it cost effective and affordable.

As practitioners, we see the need for simplification and streamlining of the functionality of various hardware and software used for documentation of community lands. The use of affordable and widely available ICT tools can empower local people to rightfully claim land and thus eradicate future land disputes and conflicts amongst them. There are ample opportunities for policymakers, lawmakers, technical experts, and administrators to use these insights to influence and shape their land rights agendas, as well as support efforts to better include local people and accurately map boundaries in Kenya.

Authors: Primoz Kovacic, Michelle Gathigi, Justus Muhando, Alan Mills

 

[1]Kovacic, Primoz. 2014. Digitally Enabled Collective Action in the Areas of Limited Statehood, Implications of Information and Communication Technology for Collective Action on Hazard Mitigation and Environmental Management in Mathare, Kenya. Masters Thesis

[2]Kovacic, Primoz. 2014. Digitally Enabled Collective Action in the Areas of Limited Statehood.

Please follow and like us:
RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Instagram
LinkedIn

Testing ICTs and Affordable Mapping Tools for Demarcation of Land Under Real-World Scenarios

This is the next in the series of blog posts on research into applying ICTs to the data capture element of land registration. This blog post follows the previous blog post was titled: Testing ICTs and Affordable Mapping Tools for Demarcation of Land under Ideal Conditions.

In the previous post, we looked at how some available and affordable ICTs and GPS units behave under ideal environmental conditions. We measured each tool’s relative accuracy and precision over a known trigonometric point in Nairobi. In this blog post, we examine how these same tools behave under varying environmental factors.

Study Locations

Beyond their technical specifications, the performance of each tool to collect location data is affected by a variety of environmental factors, in particular, those narrowing the field of view to obtain mobile connectivity or be in the line of sight of GPS satellites.

For the purpose of this study, simple accuracy and precision tests were done in 2017 in Taita Hills, Kenyan Coastal Region. The hills provide a number of locations within a compact study area that gives a variety of environmental conditions, namely:

  1. Forested land in the hills (high altitude).
  2. Village communities consisting of subsistence farming in the hills (between highlands and lowlands).
  3. Savannah, relatively flat farmland with an open canopy (lower altitude).
  4. Urban environment represented by the town of Voi (lower altitude).

Point Measurements under Varying Conditions

Our particular interest was how canopy cover, terrain, mobile connectivity (for mobile devices), and survey conditions, affect accuracy and precision measurements of boundary points of parcels.

The purpose of this exercise was not to conduct rigorous scientific measurements of each tool but rather to test how the environment affects the measurements of locations with a specific focus on the demarcation of land.

Eight sites with varying environmental conditions were selected for testing. At each site, a reference point was measured with Leica Real Time Kinematic GPS which is capable of very precise measurements (up to a millimeter). Each device was then placed on top of the reference point where location data was continuously collected for about 10 minutes. We find that environmental factors significantly affect the nature of measurements. Lower accuracy and precision were observed in the forest with high canopy cover and low field of view for all devices. The measurements improved significantly as the environmental factors (canopy and terrain) improved, in the village and lowlands. Relatively high canopy cover and low field of view had the greatest effect on the measurements.

Variable network connectivity conditions were observed in the village and in the forest; however, as the first test in Nairobi showed, network connectivity did not have a significant effect on improving accuracy and precision of measurements.

A much higher relative accuracy and precision were obtained by the two GPS devices (Bad Elf and Garmin) compared to the mobile devices. These two devices have superior GNSS chipsets to those of the mobile phones.

If we place top ten measurements for each device on the horizontal line that indicates the distance measured from the reference point, we see that the measurements have higher accuracy (proximity to reference point) and precision (proximity to each other) under the more favorable environmental conditions (canopy cover and terrain).

How do these findings affect individual parcel measurements?

If the previous tests give practitioners a rough idea of what to expect in terms of each device’s relative accuracy and precision as they relate to various fieldwork conditions, the next test indicates how this affects the capture of boundary points and the demarcation of individual parcels.

For this experiment, ten parcels with varying environmental conditions were measured with a Survey grade GPS unit (Leica1200 with RTK) for reference. At each reference boundary point, the location was obtained using one of the devices, and specific records of the terrain, canopy cover, network availability, time of data capture, and ability to collect a point on each application were recorded.

Ten parcels were measured using Garmin e-Trex and Bad Elf GPS units, Samsung S7, Infinix Zero 4 Plus, Samsung Tablet, and an iPhone, and overlaid on top of parcels measured with professional grade Leica GPS. Below are the results from some of the parcels.

If we compare the areas of parcels measured with each device, we see that the difference in the areas measured changes based on environmental factors. In these measurements, we combined the canopy cover and field of view into one indicator called Canopy Cover expressed in percentage points. As demonstrated in this chart, the results improved when the field of view increased and canopy cover decreased.

According to one professional surveyor:

Canopy cover and field of view are two things that influence the GPS measurements the most.

Did these selected affordable tools reach the threshold in terms of accuracy?

The answer is yes and no.

These tools cannot reach the accuracy threshold required for demarcating fixed boundaries as these boundaries require three to four-centimeter accuracy under the Kenyan law. Apart from the professional grade GPS unit, none of the tools reached this level of accuracy. However, apart from the heavily forested areas, most devices were able to collect location data within three to five meters, as required for general boundaries.

Next blog post will look at whether the communities can replicate the work of a professional surveyor using these technologies.

Please follow and like us:
RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Instagram
LinkedIn

Testing ICTs and Affordable Mapping Tools for Demarcation of Land Under Ideal Conditions

This is the next in the series of blog posts on research into applying ICTs to the data capture element of land registration. The previous blog post was titled: Technical Thresholds Required for Demarcation of Individual and Community Land in Kenya.

The idea of communities demarcating their own land is predicated on a series of assumptions:

  1. That cheap and widely available tools that can be used for land demarcation exist.
  2. That these tools can reach the demarcation threshold required by the Kenyan government in terms of accuracy and attribution.
  3. That the communities, using these tools, can replicate the work of a professional surveyor.

To test these assumptions, we conducted a series of experiments in 2017 in Taita Hills, Taita Taveta County.

We first examined the process of demarcating land both for new grants and for subdivision of land. We described these in the previous blog post. Specifically, we focused on the accuracy and attribution of spatial data required by the professional surveyor and government offices.

Second, we completed a series of tests of affordable and ubiquitous technologies for capture and demarcation of land to see whether they achieve the thresholds required. We tested these tools under varying environmental conditions to see how they affect the measurements. We will describe the findings in several upcoming blog posts, starting with this one.

Finally, we assessed whether communities can replicate the demarcation of land by the professional surveyor using these tools. We did this experiment by allowing community members to follow the professional surveyor and replicate his work.

The first test of the tools was done under what can be considered ideal conditions with a clear field of view and good mobile network connectivity. We found that even under these conditions there’s a certain level of accuracy and precision of location measurements that each tool can achieve. Accuracy refers to the closeness of a measured value to a standard or known value and precision refers to the closeness of two or more measurements to each other.

When we placed our GPS units and mobile phones above a known trigonometric point to demonstrate what type of accuracy and precision can be achieved in ideal circumstances, we found that accuracies and precision of tools vary.

As we can see, the points taken with GPS units (BadElf and Garmin) fall between 1 and 3 meters from the known trigonometric point while the points taken with mobile devices fall between 1 and 5 meters.

The measurements of GPS devices are relatively precise, especially the measurements of the Bad Elf GPS unit. The precision is indicated by the closeness of points on the horizontal line. We also noted that access to the network data (with or without data) does not affect the accuracy or precision of the measurements of mobile phones.

Next blog post will describe testing in so-called real-world scenarios.

Please follow and like us:
RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Instagram
LinkedIn

Technical Thresholds Required for Demarcation of Individual and Community Land in Kenya

This is the next in the series of blog posts on research into applying ICTs to the data capture element of land registration. The previous blog post was titled: Registration of Private Land in Kenya.

Following the fit-for-purpose principle, the accuracy of data capture of boundary points can be considered as a variable based on building density, topography and other requirements. In our research, we were interested to see whether affordable tools can reach the standards required by the Kenyan law for the demarcation of individual and community boundaries.

There are several ways in which boundary of a parcel can be represented and demarcated. The boundary can either be a physical, man-made or natural feature, and the accuracy of it varies whether the boundary is considered as fixed or general.

Fixed boundaries are high precision boundaries and used mostly in urban areas. Permanent marks (beacons) are put on the ground to demarcate land whereby their details, including coordinates, are kept at the respective survey offices and can be replaced in case they are lost or tampered with on the ground. The accuracy required for the demarcation of new boundary points for fixed boundaries is ± 4 centimeters.

General boundaries are less precise boundaries defined by natural features such as rivers, streams, trees, rocks, ridges, etc. The accuracy of these boundaries is as low as ± 3 meters depending on the corridor/area. These boundaries are mainly found on agricultural lands and in rural areas.

The process of land demarcation touches on either creating new grants or on the subdivision of existing grants for both fixed and general boundaries. Creation of new grants represents a transfer of rights between government lands to private lands, while the subdivision of existing grants points to divide the land into smaller pieces.

The process of land demarcation for fixed boundaries:

New grants

  • National Land Commission (NLC) gives allotment letters to individuals.
  • An individual is required to pay a certain amount for allotment to become valid.
  • Once the amount is paid, beaconing is done by the surveyor as per required accuracies (± 4 centimeters).
  • Computation files and survey plans are prepared and signed by a licensed surveyor and submitted to the Director of Surveys for checking and authentication.
  • Deed plans are prepared, the new Land Record (LR) numbers are offered and submitted to the Survey of Kenya for checking and authentication.

Subdivision

  • A subdivision scheme plan is prepared by the surveyor.
  • The plan is then signed by a registered physical planner and a copy of the existing title deed is attached to it.
  • Once the subdivision scheme plan has been approved and a copy of the title deed attached, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) publishes a public notice to which it attaches a copy of the Part Development Plan (PDP) and sends it to the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning.
  • Once the subdivision scheme plan is approved, the land may be subdivided. This is granted by the respective county government.
  • The surveyor delineates the land and puts in the beacons at boundary points (accuracy ± 4 centimeters).
  • A computation file and a survey plan are prepared and signed by a licensed surveyor.
  • They are then submitted to the Director of Surveys for checking, corrections, and authentication.
  • Deed plans are prepared and the new LR numbers are offered and submitted to the Survey of Kenya for checking and authentication.
  • A copy of the old title deed is submitted to the lands department where it is revoked and new titles are released.

The process of land demarcation for general boundaries:

New Grants

  • The government decides to adjudicate a certain area.
  • Director of Surveys sends land adjudicators to the area for confirmation.
  • Adjudicators collect names and other relevant information, such as an approximate area of each parcel, of the owners of these lands, etc.
  • Adjudicators delineate the land usually using a measuring tape and a pen and paper (accuracy ± 3 meters).
  • Title deeds are prepared and distributed to new owners.

Subdivision

  • Search is facilitated at the local county survey office for the Land Reference number (LR) for the plot in question.
  • Information on the owner of the land and the approximate area of the land in question are collected.
  • A subdivision scheme plan is then prepared.
  • The title deed (if applicable), LR number, information on the owner and on land, and the subdivision scheme plan are gathered and attached to the application for the consent to subdivide.
  • The mutation form (indicating the information on land, the title deed (if applicable), and IDs of the owners) is prepared, filled, and signed.
  • Documents are submitted to the district board for checking and authentication.
  • The mutation form is forwarded to the land registrar for registration and titling where the old title deed is revoked and new title deeds with new LR numbers are offered.
  • Once the consent to subdivide is granted, the surveyor goes to the ground to delineate the land (accuracy ± 3 meters), often using measuring tape and pen and paper.

Authors: Primoz Kovacic, Michelle Gathigi, Justus Muhando, Brian Odongo Christopher, Alan Mills

Please follow and like us:
RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Instagram
LinkedIn

Registration of Private Land in Kenya

This is the next in the series of blog posts on research into applying ICTs to the data capture element of land registration. The previous blog post was titled: Affordable Tools for Demarcation of Land are Widely Available.

In one of our previous posts, we wrote about the requirements and the process of registering community land in Kenya. In this post, we describe the process and requirements for the registration of private un-surveyed and surveyed land in Kenya.

Registration of Private Un-surveyed Land

Registration of Private Surveyed Land
Authors: Primoz Kovacic, Michelle Gathigi, Justus Muhando, Brian Odongo Christopher, Alan Mills

[1][2][3][4][5][6]

[1] A search is a document from the land registry showing the details of the land, the current owner, size, and if they are any encumbrances or restrictions. This stage is very important as it shows if someone else owns the land of if the land has been registered before. It takes three to five days.

[2] This certificate is proof that there are no outstanding fees to be paid to the Municipality.

[3] For Agricultural Land, the LCB must give its consent. This Application is made using a prescribed form.

[4] The property is valued, amount endorsed on the transfer form and this is what is assessed for stamp duty.

[5] This service is not officially charged. You are only required to pay for the valuer’s transport services to get to the property.

[6] Stamp Duty is now exclusively applied for on the iTax portal. See procedure here.

[7] Stamp duty is valued at 4% (of the value of the property) for urban land and 2% for agricultural land.

Please follow and like us:
RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Instagram
LinkedIn

Affordable Tools for Demarcation of Land are Widely Available

We cannot do the all the work alone. There are not enough of us.

Joe Kheti, Kenyan Surveyor

This is the next in the series of blog posts on research into applying ICTs to the data capture element of land registration. The previous blog post was titled: Registration of Community Land in Kenya.

According to some studies, an estimated 70 percent of the property in emerging economies is undocumented and a majority of smallholder farmers around the world farm without the protection of having legal rights to their land documented by government records.[1] According to the World Bank, 62 percent of people in Sub Saharan Africa live in rural areas. In Kenya, the number is 74 percent.[2] Undocumented rural land in Africa is estimated at approximately 90 percent; in Kenya, the number is 60 percent.[3]

In February 2017, the Land Surveyors Board of Kenya states there were 108 licensed surveyors in the country with the population of about 48.46 million (or 1 licensed surveyor per approximately 450,000 people) and an area of 580,367 km².[4] One complaint that is often heard among surveyors is that there are not enough of them to adequately document all the land in Kenya.

At the same time, Kenya is a major technology hub of Africa. The “availability of mobile technology, access to the Internet, and provision of government services (referred to as e-government) and open data initiative all contribute to a growing information ecosystem in the country”.[5] The International Telecommunication Union states that in 2016 mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions in Kenya were 81.28 per 100 people and percentage of individuals using the Internet was as high as 26 percent. The number is likely higher in 2019 (this research was done in 2017).

Information and communication technology tools are widely used in development in Kenya, with more focus on the poor and the marginalized as the producers and innovators with ICTs.

Initiatives and innovations that target “land matter”, as it is often called in Kenya, have been somewhat scarcer than initiatives and innovations in other sectors. However, there are some activities currently planned or ongoing in the country that touch on land management. For example, the Kenyan government plans to digitize all of its 57 land registries, introduce digital mapping, and complete the national spatial infrastructure by 2022.[6] The country also aims to use space technology to help ascertain property boundary rights registration and issuance of land title deeds to millions of applicants.[7]

While these are mainly top-down initiatives, our research looks at off-the-shelf, easy to use, hand-held mobile and GPS units and their potential role in the community’s participation in land demarcation and land registration. We believe that the learning curve for these tools is less steep than perhaps for other technologies since these tools are ubiquitous and often used in other aspects of life in Kenya, such as communication, entertainment, access to information, Internet, and mobile banking.

Selection of Tools

The idea of communities demarcating their own land is predicated on a series of assumptions. One of the assumptions is that cheap and widely available tools that can be used for land demarcation exist. In our research (conducted in 2017) we selected the following tools for testing:

These GPS and mobile tools were selected because they are among the most commonly used brands in Kenya, had the newest chipset technology at the time, their cost is permissible for use by the communities or local NGOs, and have the most commonly used operating systems in Kenya (the following tools were not used in the research: [8] [9] [10]).

More coming soon.

Authors: Primoz Kovacic, Michelle Gathigi, Justus Muhando, Alan Mills

 

[1] See: https://nextbillion.net/four-bottom-up-solutions-to-strengthen-land-rights-emerging-markets/

[2] See: https://tradingeconomics.com/kenya/rural-population-percent-of-total-population-wb-data.html

[3] See: http://www.ardhi.go.ke/?p=718

[4] See: http://www.lsb.or.ke/membership/licensed-surveyors/

[5] Kovacic, Primož and Jamie Lundine. 2014. “Mapping Kibera. Empowering Slum Residents by ICT.” In Bits and Atoms: Information and Communication Technology in Areas of Limited Statehood, edited by Steven Livingston and Gregor Walter-Drop, 115-129. New York: Oxford University Press

[6] See: https://www.delivery.go.ke/flagship/registrydigitization

[7] See: https://www.nation.co.ke/news/Ministry-to-use-space-technology-in-land-mapping/1056-4115066-1olvpy/index.html

[8] Trimble TDC100: Due to issues with the shipment and customs this device did not arrive on time for testing.

[9] Smartphone with improved GNSS: Not able to test the tool, due to a delay in shipment.

[10] Samsung Tablet A 8 Inch: Not included in the research in the end.

Please follow and like us:
RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Instagram
LinkedIn

Registration of Community Land in Kenya

This is the next in the series of blog posts on research into applying ICTs to the data capture element of land registration. The previous blog post was titled: The Process of Land Adjudication in Kenya.

The Land Registration Act 2012[1] aimed to ‘revise, consolidate and rationalize the registration of titles to land [and] to give effect to the principles and objects of devolved government in land registration.[2] Unlike the former regime where each legislation created its own registry thus making the land registries distinct and confusing,[3] this Act provided for the creation of land registration units by the National Land Commission in consultation with the national and county governments.[4] In each of the created land registration units, a land registry was maintained[5] comprising of:

  • the land register;
  • the cadastral map;
  • parcel files containing the documents that support existing entries in the land register;
  • any plans which will, after a date appointed by the Commission, be geo-referenced;
  • the presentation book with a record of all applications numbered consecutively in the order in which they are presented to the registry;
  • an index, in alphabetical order, of the names of the proprietors; and
  • a register and file of powers of attorney.[6]

The aim was to improve efficiency and reduce the time required for conducting historical searches. The other register to be maintained is the Community Land Register but this is subject to the provisions of the intended legislation on Community Land.[7] Accessibility was also enhanced using electronic means.[8]

The Community Land Act[9] was signed into law by the president of Kenya on 31st August 2016 and it commenced operation on 21st September 2016. The Act specifically provides for the recognition, protection, and registration of community land rights; management and administration of community land; and the role of county governments in relation to unregistered community land.

In addition, the Act gave communities the opportunity to collectively use and manage land communally owned by forming community assemblies and Community Land Management Committees.

Although regulations under this Act are yet to be issued, this was another step to safeguard community interests through legislation. Communities can now freely enter agreements with investors to enable environmental, social and economic impact assessment; rehabilitation of land; capacity building; and transfer of technology.

Below is a summary of the process and requirements for the registration of community land in Kenya:

PROCESS RELEVANT OFFICE
A community[10] claiming an interest in or right over community land shall register its rights[11] under the Land Registration Act. They must also have a plausible justification for why they are registering the community land as a collective, e.g. common ancestry, similar culture, etc.
The community land in Kenya shall vest in the Community. Members of this community must be listed during the registration process.

The community shall elect representatives to manage and administer the registered community land on behalf of the respective community.

Before submission of the community formation and registration documents to the registrar of societies, the local chief must authenticate these documents by applying an official stamp to the application documents and letter. Chief’s Office
The elected community representatives must then present these authenticated documents at the Registrar of Societies. The Registrar of Societies then provides the community with a registration certificate after due diligence. This means the community is officially registered, but their interest in the land has not been documented. Registrar of Societies/ Registrar Community Land
The registered community identifies a surveyor, who is duly licensed to practice as a land surveyor. The surveyor provides an index map of the country and dials down to the specific area of land of interest on the official map of the area. The surveyor gets a general map of the area from Survey of Kenya, Folio Register (FR) which is represented by the FR number. Survey of Kenya – Registered Surveyor

(Department of Survey/independent surveyor)

 

With the FR map, the Survey of Kenya indicates the reference points for the parcel, these guide the surveyor in placing new coordinates on the ground relative to the official control points. Once the points are marked, beacons are planted to mark the new points. A list of coordinates demarcating the boundaries is then established in relation to these points. Survey of Kenya
There is an official template called the deed plan that shows the reference point, the new points, and the resultant maps. The deed plan is taken to the land control board for scrutiny and verification. The board may invite any other interested parties or neighbors to authenticate a claim to ensure no claimants are ignored in the process. Land Control Board
If no complaints are raised and the whole process is verified, the board verifies and authenticates the maps. The licensed surveyor then takes the map to the Survey of Kenya. Once confirmed, the parcel is given a new number (parcel number). This number is taken by the Survey of Kenya to the land registrar. The registrar registers the ownership of the land and the community receives a title for the land. At this point, the land is legally owned by the community. Ministry of Lands

The next blog post in a series: Affordable Tools for Demarcation of Land are Widely Available.

Authors: Primoz Kovacic, Michelle Gathigi, Justus Muhando, Brian Odongo Christopher, Alan Mills

[1] No. 3 of 2012.

[2] Preamble.

[3]For instance, the Government Lands Act (GLA) created registries only in Nairobi and Mombasa while the former Land Titles Act (LTA) created one only in Mombasa. Only the Registered Land Act (RLA) had registries in administrative districts.

[4] Section 6 of the Land Registration Act.

[5] Section 7 of the Land Registration Act.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Article 63.

[8] Section 10 of the Land Registration Act requires that each of the Registrars to make the register accessible to the public by electronic means or any other means as the Chief Land Registrar may reasonably prescribe. This is in line with Article 35 of the Constitution on the right of access to information held by the State.

[9] Article 63 (5) of the Constitution.

[10] The community is a consciously distinct and organized group of users of community land who are citizens of Kenya and share common attributes.

[11] Unregistered community land shall be held in trust by county governments on behalf of the communities for which it is held.

Please follow and like us:
RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Instagram
LinkedIn

The Process of Land Adjudication in Kenya

This is the next in the series of blog posts on research into applying ICTs to the data capture element of land registration. The previous blog post was titled: A Short Note on Land Laws in Kenya.

While the previous blog post briefly describes the classification of land in Kenya according to the new constitution, the following posts will focus on practical ways of registering and acquiring titles to land in Kenya. In our research and work, we were specifically interested in the processes of land adjudication, land registration, registration of community land, registration of private surveyed land and registration and transfer of private un-surveyed land, and the process of land demarcation.

There are various ways to acquire title to land and they include[1]: allocation; land adjudication process; compulsory acquisition; prescription; settlement programs; transmissions; transfers; long-term leases exceeding 21 years created out of private land; or any other manner prescribed in an Act of Parliament.[2]

The Constitution of Kenya acknowledges the existence of Community Land, however, as of now, the unregistered Community Land is held in trust by the County Governments on behalf of communities.

Land Adjudication is “the process of final and authoritative determination of the existing rights and claims of people to land.”[3] In Kenya, the Land Adjudication Act[4] provides the guidelines for the land adjudication process. These involve determining and recording of rights and interests of individuals residing on registered Community Land for the purpose of facilitating the registration of titles.

Ideally, the government must work together with the communities when it comes to the land adjudication process. To ensure that community members and the public are informed about the process of land adjudication we break the process down below:

1.     A formal written petition is delivered to the Commissioner of Lands with a request to have an area earmarked for adjudication. This petition is copied to the County Commissioner.
2.     Land Adjudication Board convenes at the Ministry of Lands to deliberate and approve the adjudication petition.
3.     A directive is issued to the Department of Survey based on the results of the Board deliberations to visit the site, conduct reconnaissance of the terrain, and give recommendations.
4.     The reconnaissance mission provides its professional recommendations to the Land Adjudication Board for consideration.
5.     Based on these recommendations, the Board deliberates and, if satisfied, approves the adjudication request.
6.     The Survey Department proceeds to formally survey the areas earmarked for adjudication (adjudication areas).

i. Landowners in presence of Land Adjudication Officers identify their land boundaries.

ii. The boundaries are demarcated by Adjudication officers using enlarged aerial photographs, ground survey methods or both.

iii. Land adjudication committees are set-up to ascertain and arbitrate rights and interests in the land.

7.     After the survey work is complete, the Survey Department generates a Registry Index Map (RIM) of the area and a Land Adjudication register which contains parcel numbers, the name of the owner, size of land and a map sheet number.
8.     The map is given to the Ministry of Lands which issues Land Reference Numbers (L.R. Numbers).
9.     These, together with the Map of the area are returned to the community for public examination. If all parties agree, the Director of Land Adjudication signs a certificate of finality and the L.R. Numbers are issued to individuals.
10.  For the owner to get a title after completion of adjudication process they need to provide the following:

i. Original and copy of the national identity card

ii. Personal identification number from the Kenya Revenue Authority

iii. Recent and clear passport photographs

iv. Ksh 500 for registration; Ksh 500 for adjudication; Ksh 250 for the title

The next blog post will focus on the process of land registration, specifically on registration of Community Land.

Authors: Primoz Kovacic, Michelle Gathigi, Justus Muhando, Brian Odongo Christopher

[1] Section 7 of the Land Act of 2012.

[2] See Community Land Act of 2016

[3] See: http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/X2038E/x2038e08.htm

[4] Cap 284 Laws of Kenya

Please follow and like us:
RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Instagram
LinkedIn