Towards Open Source Kenya: Creating and Sharing a GIS Database of Nairobi | Land Portal
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Resource information

Date of publication: 
December 2016
Resource Language: 

In order to make good decisions about the future direction of cities we need data to contextualize
and make recommendations that are based on past results and potential models for the future. Yet
access to information including GIS is challenging, particularly as data is often seen as a
commodity or source of power by those who control it, a dynamic more severe in contexts like
Kenya. By generating GIS data for our own transportation model and then sharing it with those
interested in doing research on Nairobi, we experienced firsthand some of the power dynamics
associated with accessing and generating information in the developing country context. The
project had several important lessons: 1) Simply developing data does not make it open, how
“open access” is provided to the data is just as important as making it freely available 2)
Developing data can show commitment to a particular place or project that can help generate
support for stronger partnerships and project goals; and 3) Openly sharing data about place might
help push those with access to information to share information as well. Overall this research
project illustrated that sharing data can help support a more open access eco-system locally by
establishing a culture of data sharing, but only if those interested in using it have the technical
ability to both access and use data sets provided.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 
Sarah Williams, Elizabeth Marcello, Jacqueline M Klopp

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