ifgi participates in technology innovation for land tenure security in East Africa

Sub Saharan African countries like Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia have an immense challenge to rapidly and cheaply map millions of unrecognized land rights in the region. Over the next four years the Institute for Geoinformatics (ifgi) at WWU will collaborate with partners from East Africa and Europe to develop an innovative suite of land tenure recording tools that responds to that challenge. The project its4land, in which researchers will develop this suite of tools, will involve partners from both industry and academia. The its4land project has been awarded a 3.9 million euro grant from the Horizon 2020 ICT-programme of the European Union. its4land is a collaborative project led by the University of Twente (Netherlands). In addition to the Institute for Geoinformatics at WWU, partners include KU Leuven (Belgium), Bahir Dar University (Ethiopia), Hansa Luftbild AG (Germany), The Technical University of Kenya (Kenya), Institut d'Enseignement Superieur de Ruhengeri (Rwanda), and Esri Rwanda Ltd (Rwanda).

Land Tenure Security

Sub Saharan Africa needs to rapidly and cheaply map millions of unrecognized land rights in the region. Land administration systems, the technologies and processes that maintain information about people, land, and tenures, are recognized as a crucial tool for delivering sustainable economies, environments, and social cohesion: land tenure recording helps to deliver tenure security, dispute reduction, investment opportunities, and contributes to good governance. Existing recording and mapping approaches have failed: disputes abound, investment is impeded, and the community’s poorest lose out.

Geospatial technology

its4land combines an innovation process with emerging geospatial technologies, including smart sketchmaps, UAVs, automated feature extraction, and geocloud services, to deliver land recording services that are end-user responsive, market driven, and fit-for-purpose. Ifgi brings to this project five years of experience in automating sketch map interpretation. Team lead for the project at ifgi, Prof. Dr. Angela Schwering, has expressed how exciting an opportunity it is to participate in the project: “after five years of theoretical research it is very exciting for us at ifgi to be able to make the next step and bring our cumulative knowledge to help address a real societal challenge. Smart sketchmaps enable us to support data collection and provide a means to mediate information exchange and integration for land recording services .“

H2020 on ICT

The project is funded with a grant from the EU Horizon 2020 ICT working programme focused on international partnership building in low and middle income countries. The work programme aims to reinforce cooperation and strategic partnerships with selected countries and regions of mutual interest, in sub Saharan Africa – by enabling collaborative, ICT-based, innovative projects that respond to end-user communities, and broader EU themes on content technologies and societal challenges.