The world is becoming increasingly urban with half of humanity now living in cities. For many of the poorest countries, urban growth is almost synonymous to slum expansion. Slums are informal, illegal and unplanned settlements and are strongly associated with urban poverty. It is in this context that UN-Habitat and Slum Dwellers International (SDI), in collaboration with Uganda's Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development (MoLHUD), have initiated a joint project aimed at addressing the information requirements of the urban poor in the Municipality of Mbale. The initial phase began in August 2011. The results of this project have lead to the formation of the STDM software project. It consists of a QGIS Plug-In implementing functionality required to map unplanned and informal settlements and link them with anonymized tenure data. It is based on a Postgres database schema leveraging PostGIS for geospatial functionality.
Initial Project Objectives
The specific objective of the first phase of activities was to pilot test the Social Tenure Domain Model. The long-term objective is to address the land information requirements of women and men living in slum communities and to build their capacity in the use and application of the land information systems based on free and open source software packages and in mainstreaming the thinking behind the continuum of land rights.
Through the support and intervention from the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development (MoLHUD) and Municipality of Mbale, the community-driven enumeration and mapping exercise of the project was a success. The resulting software was bundled in STDM.
In a second step STDM was customized to be able to modify the enumeration questionnaire and identify the resources available such as satellite imagery and a handheld GPS. The GLTN Technical Team proceeded to make some adjustments to customise the STDM system to fit the purpose. The customised version of STDM was well received and appreciated by project stakeholders including by the slum federation members and enumerators.
Mapping and Structure Numbering
Using STDM, Actogether assisted the Slum Federation and community members to digitize structures from the satellite imagery and produce initial maps. Using the initial map, assigned enumerators and Slum Federation members number all existing structures in the slum settlements using a unique code. They made use of the handheld GPS to identify available community facilities and utilities such as water points, public toilet, dumping ground to update the map as the satellite imagery used in the process may no longer reflect the actual realities on the ground. For example, new structures were built or some structures as reflected by satellite imagery were not existent anymore.
Interviews and Data Collection
As scheduled and communicated with the community, enumeration teams mostly accompanied by local leaders or elders and municipal officials, conducted house to house interviews administering the questionnaire. In addition, they collected other information such as supporting documents and photos, with the unique code painted or written in the structure as a background.
Data Entry and Analysis
Using the results of the questionnaires and collected information including supporting documents and photos, the enumeration teams entered all the data into the STDM system. This process also included the updating of the initial digital maps. STDM, being a simple and user-friendly system, is able to undertake quick analyses and reporting. The slum federation leaders and enumerators were trained on how to use STDM to analyse the data and produce reports.
Data Validation and Continuous Updating
As part of quality assurance, the gathered information were printed and disseminated to community members. Community members then have the opportunity to validate and correct the information. This process enhanced the acceptability of the information and all stakeholders appreciated the fact that the turnaround time between the enumeration exercise and the production of results is relatively fast. After the validation period, enumeration teams and slum federation leaders updated the information in the system. Those community members who were not able to provide their comments and corrections during the validation period may come to the Slum Federation office to update the data. Some Slum Federation leaders and members were trained to manage the system and to continue the updating process.
Most stakeholders including slum dwellers themselves appreciated the added value of STDM in addressing the information requirements of the urban poor particularly for improving tenure security and enhancing planning and access to basic services and infrastructure. Some stakeholders including government officials appreciated STDM as a potential tool for much larger urban development objectives.
At the close of 2010 and early 2011, building from the prototype, the intermediate version was developed within UN-Habitat/GLTN. The intermediate version replaced ILWIS as the GIS component with QGIS. The intermediate version was developed using some data and process from a Kenya-based urban NGO called Pamoja Trust, an affiliate of SDI. This version becomes a QGIS plugin which allows users to make use of the other functionality offered by the software. This version of STDM is the basis for a publicly available version to be launched in June 2014.
- 2014 June first: STDM is published on https://github.com/gltn/stdm
- 2014: Launch of STDM 1.0 at the FIG Conference in Kuala Lumpur
- 2015: Release of STDM 1.2 at the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty in Washington DC, USA
- 2016: STDM as a tool for Improving Land Governance: Global Partners' Experiences and Lessons presentation at the World Bank Conference in Washington DC, USA
- 2016: Next phase: STDM-Online, the Social Tenure Domain Model on the Web.
- 2017 Release of STDM version 1.4
- 2017 STDM Online prototype based on [Sahana Eden] launches at the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty 2017.
GLTN and partners continue to improve the system including the training package. It is also exploring further testing of the tool in other context and currently initiating a partnership agreement with FIG and known universities to review STDM and make further recommendations for improvement.
Identifying Interest Groups
From OSGeo's perspective there are at least 3 distinct interest groups which should be addressed with dedicated outreach material:
- End users
- End users from NGOs who are on site and discover that they need some kind of "geospatial" tool
- End user organizations (NGOs like Slum/Shack Dwellers International) who have a clearer understanding of what is needed but maybe not the means to acquire sustainable solutions based on proprietary software.
- Municipalities who have an area of interest and are dedicated to do something but lack know-how or means
- National bodies with the mission to address land tenure issues (overlap with SOLA)
- who have a budget for a limited period and want to make sure that whatever IT system they support will live beyond the funded period.
- Inform donors how they can tap into Open Source development resources, what they need to take into account to make it sustainable
- Software developers
- of the core projects (OSGeo peers), to make them aware of potential needs arising out of the evolution of STDM
- New software developers, preferably local and regional to the target areas where STDM will be used. These will be critical to support the STDM plug-in, data model and "operations handbook", especially in the transition from externally funded to long term operational.