On World Habitat Day 2004, the Kenya municipalities of Nakuru and Naivasha received free Geographical Information System (GIS) software worth over US$15,000 under a joint grant programme from UN-HABITAT and the software producer, ESRI.
The GIS software will help the two cities to improve their information management and plan interventions more efficiently.
Both cities are engaged in establishing databases for their cities, which will serve as the information pool from which electronic maps can be created. Nakuru, well known for its National Park, has already gained experience with participatory mapping involving neighbourhood groups to collect information on water scarcity, sanitation and illegal waste dumping sites.
This activity is crucial for finding the right balance between the needs of a growing urban population and the environmental stability of the park area. A high-resolution satellite image depicting even individual houses served as the background for the mapping exercise.
Naivasha, the “capital” of Kenya’s flower industry, has digitized land use and parcel information for the city center, and also plans to use this information for water management.
The 1,000 Cities GIS Programme has already given out GIS packages to over 150 cities in developing and transitional countries. Application is still open for other cities to participate in the programme. (Read more at: http://www.unhabitat.org/GUO).