By Kory Korir,
Geographic information is a requisite for socio-economic development. This consequentially calls for ways of managing this information. The general population should be armed with information that can enable them understand their environs better, their health, their environment among others. With the modernization that presents itself with advancement in technology, there is an abundance of data that needs to be tamed. This means that the geographic data and information should be of integrity and quality. This can only be achieved if there are clear policies attending to creation of such data structures and standardization.
In Africa, the SDI (spatial Data Infrastructure) has been the everyday talk of most of geoscientists. SDI refers to entities that are linked together to create an infrastructure that can be used seamlessly by governments and organizations in decision making and consists of different components which include; policy, standards, technology, people and data. The talk started way back in 1996 with Algeria being the pioneer but up to date it is only South Africa that has the infrastructure fully developed. SDI is the perfect language for Geographic Information management. The recurrent problems that most African organizations and government departments in the geo information sector face is the acquisition of these datasets. If every organization has to produce its own data, it would be very expensive hence the need for data sharing. It would also prevent duplication of efforts hence come in very handy in minimizing the costs and enabling organizations exploit the full potential of the resources at hand.
Is NSDI as consequence of economic growth and development or is it a force that instigates the aforementioned? There is no definitive answer to that question but having an NSDI enables a country have leverage on managing most of its resources and infrastructure like waterways, transport networks, environmental conversation and help mitigate issues cropping up in the society.