The Land Portal Foundation is developing the State of Land Information Index (SOLIndex), a benchmark and diagnostic tool that tracks the openness of land data globally. The primary challenge the Foundation aims to address is the inaccessibility of poorly managed and localized land data. The SOLIndex aims to make land information more available and accessible at the country level.
Access to information is not a luxury but a fundamental right, crucial for achieving good land governance and access to services such as water, sanitation, and nutrition. It's a core issue in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a fundamental right under the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. The SOLIndex supports transparency, improves decision-making, and provides a diagnostic tool for policymakers, land data custodians, researchers, and practitioners, by exploring the openness of land data at the global and national level.
The SOLIndex Framework
The SOLIndex is based on a framework that evaluates land administration functions and the need for services related to land. It assesses the openness and accessibility of land data by understanding the availability of public sector information and evaluating its openness to provide globally comparable indicators. Four core data categories are identified: tenure data, land use data, land value data, and land development data. Not all categories apply to every country, and thus, the SOLIndex offers flexibility in data interpretation.
The SOLIndex examines key questions such as how much land data is online, accessible, free, updated timely, accompanied by metadata, uses standards, downloadable, openly licensed, machine-readable, and available as linked data. It provides five points of entry for exploring the state of land data:
Big-picture global score
Close look at country-level diagnostics
Deep-diving into individual “open” criteria
Mix + match exploration / downloads
Deep-diving by types of land data
Implementation and Future Steps
The Land Portal Foundation plans to conduct a pilot project in 17 countries by the end of 2023 and expand to include more than 100 countries by 2025. It is actively forming partnerships with entities such as the Land Matrix, Prindex, LANDex, the FAO and the Global Data Barometer to build a broad alliance for the indicator's use and adoption.
Initial results from completed work in pilot countries show positive trends, particularly in Africa, where over 50% of countries have passed access to information laws. This demonstrates a growing recognition among governments that access to information is a fundamental issue that needs to be addressed. The SOLIndex aims to provide a comprehensive picture of land data openness worldwide, aiding decision-making, promoting transparency, and facilitating targeted interventions to enhance data accessibility and interoperability.
The Land Portal Foundation is also collaborating with organizations like the International Land Coalition, Transparency International and the Global Data Barometer to ensure alignment and complementarity with other data monitoring initiatives such as LANDex, the SDG Tracker and the Global Data Barometer's Land Module.
If you're interested in learning more about the SOLIndex, or in forming a partnership with the Land Portal Foundation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to working together to make land data more open and accessible.
As an advocate for open land data, the Land Portal Foundation aims to improve access to land data, engage stakeholders, and support actions that promote data openness. I recently had the opportunity to introduce the State of Land Information Index (SOLIndex) and talk about the Open Up Guide at the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) Partners’ Meeting in Nairobi and show how these tools play a vital role in improving access to land information.
https://landportal.org/event/2023/02/landac-conference-2023 At the Land Portal Foundation, we advocate for open land data and recognize the importance of land data in driving progress in support of sustainable development. We aim to engage stakeholders and develop supportive measures to advocate for the increased accessibility of land information and support capacity building in this regard. The current challenge we face is the inaccessibility of poorly managed land data, often limited to localized sources and overshadowed by information from large organizations. We emphasize the need to make information more available and accessible at the country level.