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National Spatial Data Infrastructure(NSDI)

Introduction The National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) was established by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources through a project. It was set up to create a network of organisations and to be a unified collection of spatial data. The objectives of the NSDI are to:
  • create a reliable Hub for all the Geographical Data in the country,
  • be the basis for Titling at a nationwide level,
  • enable recognition of people’s right on their land,
  • create the basis for updating topographical maps
  • create a hub that will enable sharing and coordinating geographical data between ministries and other agencies
In 2016 the Ministry drafted the NSDI strategic plan whose three main goals were
  1. to Develop institutional capabilities for sharing geospatial information and services
  2. Enable citizens to access high-quality digital geospatial information and services anywhere, anytime, on any device
  3. Promote the use of geospatial data to stimulate innovation and improve the quality of services for the citizens.
Administration of the NSDI The NSDI is administered through the Surveyor General’s office and is managed by the NSDI Project Manager with staff under the Assistant Surveyor General (Mapping) who are responsible for the day-to-day activities of maintaining the data and the infrastructure. Information Technology (IT) support is provided by the Ministry’s IT section. Institutional Arrangements The NSDI is governed by a Technical Committee chaired by the Surveyor General and a Steering Committee chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR). Members of the Technical Committee are drawn from the following institutions:
  1. Surveyor General, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources
  2. Director of Forestry, Ministry of Green Economy
  3. Director of Physical Planning, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development
  4. Head of Geomatics Department, University of Zambia
  5. Commissioner of Lands, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources
  6. Director of Resettlement, Office of the Vice President
  7. Director of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture
  8. Chief Natural Resources Officer, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources
  9. Principal Economist, Ministry of Finance
  10. Registrar of Lands and Deeds, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources
  11. Interim Statistician General, Zambia Statistical Agency
  12. Principal Systems Analyst- Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources
  13. Director of Planning and Information, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources
  14. Director of Smart Zambia Institute,
  15. Director Zambia Information and Communication Technology
Authority (ZICTA) Policy framework: The Ministry through the Technical committee has developed the National Spatial Data Infrastructure policy which is yet to be tabled to Cabinet. The policy has the objective of enabling the three key elements of availability, accessibility and usability of data, with principles of open data and geospatial information as a public good, enhancing data sharing and elimination of duplication. Current Status The NSDI consists of a Geodatabase (Replicated at 3 sites: at the Ministry, at the National Data Centre and at the National Remote Sensing Centre), Web Services to enable users use the data stored in the Geodatabase and a GeoPortal for users and the public who may not have a GIS system of their own. Under the NSDI the government has acquired aerial imagery at 20cm ground resolution along stateland areas and 10cm orthophotos for 15 major towns. The following layers have been developed and can be found on the portal and also at the Zambia Data Hub (currently this is not working as procurement of ArcGIS licensing is on-going)
  1. Cadastral layer: All properties that are surveyed and includes customary lots from Eastern Province which were captured through a USAID funded project
  2. Aerial orthophoto imagery (captured in
      • 15 major towns at 10cm ground spatial resolution
      • Pleiades satellite imageries of 88 townships nationwide at 50cm resolution with a coverage of 25 Km2 per township.
      • Stateland areas at 20cm
      • SPOT7 Satellite Imagery of the state wide area- covering the entire country area at 250cm resolution for 712,089 km2
  3. Digital Terrain Model (“DTM”) at 10m grid for City Areas, 25m grid for the State Land Area and provision of SRTM DTED-1 (1Om-20m accuracy) DTM for the area covered by the satellite imagery
  4. Health facilities
  5. Schools
  6. Points of Interest
  7. Roads layer: this is obtained from Open Street Map
  8. Railways
  9. Forest Reserves
  10. Administrative boundaries i.e. Provincial and district
  11. Settlement extents (found on the Zambia data hub)
  12. Other layers not for public display: Lusaka Water and Sewarage utility layer and ZESCO layer
NSDI/GRID3 collaboration GRID3 (Geo-Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development) works with countries to generate, validate and use geospatial data on population, settlements, infrastructure, and boundaries. GRID3 combines the expertise of partners in government, United Nations, academia, and the private sector to design adaptable and relevant geospatial solutions based on capacity and development needs of each country. GRID3’s work in Zambia is implemented within the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) framework under the guidance of the NSDI Steering and Technical Committees. Followed by institutional and data landscape analysis in Zambia the GRID3 Implementation Plan was approved by both the NSDI Steering and Technical Committees in November 2018 and in January 2019, the Implementation Plan was signed by representatives of the Surveyor General’s Office, Zambia Statistics Agency, Ministry of National Development Planning (MNDP), and University of Zambia (UNZA). Since then, GRID3 has partnered with key Government of the Republic of Zambia stakeholders to produce modelled population estimates at a high spatial resolution across the whole of Zambia, as well as a comprehensive settlement dataset and a harmonious boundary dataset. GRID3 project has developed the following datasets which are downloadable under the Zambia Data Hub. To supplement the NSDI platform with a functionality of data download, NSDI has utilized the Esri ArcGIS Online licenses to produce a dynamic data repository referred to as Zambia Data Hub. The Data Hub allows for data download and visualization, which became increasingly important during the onset of COVID-19 pandemic when the need for geospatial data became urgent to aid the COVID-19 response.
Datasets Version Public Availability
Bottom-up Gridded population Estimates 1 Yes
Settlement Area Extents 1 Yes
Operational Points of Interest and names 1 Yes
Operational Health Facility Layer 1 Yes
Operational School points and names 1 Yes
Figure 1: GRID3 Activities in Zambia Since the start of NSDI and GRID3 engagements in 2018, and release of geospatial data sets in 2020, several examples of impactful data use have been observed and recorded. Some of the most prominent examples are listed below, further descriptions of use cases can be explored on (by selecting Zambia).
  • Production of microplanning maps to support health campaigns: COVID-19, Malaria, Polio, HPV (MoH)
  • Development of a sampling frame for conducting WASH survey in Luapula Province (GIZ)
  • Analysing gaps in service delivery for Integrated Development Planning (MLGRD)
  • Modelling Cholera risk to support Identification of Cholera Hotspots
  • Map of agricultural camps harmonized to District boundaries
Future activities of NSDI
  • Passing of the NSDI policy in 2023
  • Updating of the Cadastral Index
  • updating the satellite imagery for the whole country as basis of the land audit
  • Develop land-use maps working with the National Remote Sensing Centre
  • Updating topographic map series using available satellite imagery and ground truthing
  • Linking the NSDI to ZILAS