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its4land

Geospatial technology innovations for land tenure security in East Africa

Project location Ethiopia
Kenya
Rwanda
Starting date 01 February 2016
Completion date 01 February 2020
Client European Commission (Horizon2020)
Partners Westfaelische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (Germany), KU Leuven (Belgium); Hansa Luftbild AG (Germany), Institut d'Enseignement Superieur de Ruhengeri (Rwanda), Bahir Dar University (Ethiopia), The Technical University of Kenya (Kenya) and Esri Rwanda Lt
Project leader Rohan Bennett
Project officer John Horn
Project type Contract research
Budget EUR 3,900,000

Sub Saharan African countries like Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia have an immense challenge to rapidly and cheaply map millions of unrecognized land rights in the region. Researchers of the ITC Faculty of the University of Twente will work on an innovative suite of land tenure recording tools that responds to that challenge in the coming four years. The project its4land, in which the University of Twente develops a suite of tools with partners from Europe and Africa, receives a 3.9 million euro grant from the Horizon 2020 ICT-programme of the European Union.

Sub Saharan Africa needs to rapidly and cheaply map millions of unrecognized land rights in the region. Land administration systems, the technologies and processes that maintain information about people, land, and tenures, are recognized as a crucial tool for delivering sustainable economies, environments, and social cohesion: land tenure recording helps to deliver tenure security, dispute reduction, investment opportunities, and contributes to good governance. Existing recording and mapping approaches have failed: disputes abound, investment is impeded, and the community’s poorest lose out.

Geospatial technology

its4land combines an innovation process with emerging geospatial technologies, including smart sketchmaps, UAVs, automated feature extraction, and geocloud services, to deliver land recording services that are end-user responsive, market driven, and fit-for-purpose. The transdisciplinary work also develops supportive models for governance, capacity development, and business capitalization. Gender sensitive analysis and design is also incorporated. Established local, national, and international partnerships drive the project results beyond R&D into the commercial realm.

H2020 on ICT

The project receives its grant from the EU Horizon 2020-programme, more specific the ICT working programme focused on international partnership building in low and middle income countries. The work programme aims to reinforce cooperation and strategic partnerships with selected countries and regions of mutual interest, in sub Saharan Africa – by enabling collaborative, ICT-based, innovative projects that respond to end-user communities, and broader EU themes on content technologies and societal challenges.

Collaboration

Project coordinator Rohan Bennett, who is an assistant professor at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-information Management at ITC: “Over recent years, our ITC faculty has really firmed as a leader in the development of alternative land tenure tools. Obviously, we don’t do it alone – we work close with partners from all over the world. The exciting part of this project is that we get to fuse cutting-edge European technical expertise with frontline East African land tenure know-how. It promises to be an exciting 4 years.” In its4land, the University of Twente works together with Westfaelische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (Germany), KU Leuven (Belgium); Hansa Luftbild AG (Germany), Institut d'Enseignement Superieur de Ruhengeri (Rwanda), Bahir Dar University  (Ethiopia), The Technical University of Kenya (Kenya) and Esri Rwanda Ltd (Rwanda).

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