A new trajectory for spatial data infrastructure evolution in the developing world

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Spatial Data is a key resource in the development of cities. There is a lot of socio-economic potential that is locked away in spatial data holdings and this potential is unlocked by making the datasets widely available for use. Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) have served this primary purpose; to make data accessible through the use of web based technologies. However, SDIs have not had their anticipated impact at local levels of governance. They have traditionally served as platforms that facilitate access to raw spatial datasets. They have not fully facilitated for the use of these datasets and therefore have attracted minimal attention from decision makers and users. This research suggests a new trajectory for SDI evolution; a trajectory that will allow them to evolve into more relevant platforms for confronting the urban crisis in developing nations and thereby ensuring that they have the societal impact that they are intended to. The research explores the characteristics of the mainstream efforts to counter urban crises in the developing world to determine how the new SDI should be re-conceptualised to more adequately assist in responding to the urban crisis. This leads to the incorporation of Evidence Based Practice (EBP) into SDI through the use of urban indicators and knowledge creation processes to reflect on the pressing societal issues. From the new SDI concept, an architectural design is implemented as a “proof of concept”. At the heart of this new concept is the SDIs ability to provide access to more than just raw spatial datasets but useful information products that are based on these data. This proves that EBP can be incorporated into SDI to make them more efficient in responding to the urban problems in developing nation and consequently more relevant Information Infrastructures for urban decision makers.

Includes abstract.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 107-113).