Goodwill, Friendship and Preferences: Geographic Information Sharing in a Developing Country

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The use of geographic information is increasing as applications become more diverse. In turn, this is stimulating the need to share geographic information data, since individuals or organisations cannot satisfy all their data needs alone. Consequently, there is a growing dependence on others to obtain the full suite of data needed to carry out their activities. Geographic information-sharing is never a straightforward process, hence the need for partnerships and sharing agreements, which may take various forms. An assessment of how organisations and individuals in Rwanda access and share geographic information data in the absence of explicit policies shows that the decision to share data is heavily influenced by goodwill, friendship and individual preferences.

Various types of geographic information datasets are available in Rwanda, which are produced by various ministries and organisations according to their domain of focus. Examples include socio-economic, demographic data and administrative boundaries produced by the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda (NISR). The National Land Centre (under Rwanda Natural Resources Authority or ‘RNRA’) produces fundamental datasets such as orthophotos (0.25m) with about 97% national coverage, land parcel boundaries (scale 1:2,000 for rural and 1:1,000 for urban), national land use and development master plan (1:2,500) and topographic maps. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resources produced Rwanda’s digital soil database (1:50,000), while the Ministry of Natural Resources produced forest cover maps (1:40,000) in 2007. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has produced trade datasets comprising trading centres and days of operation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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