Rwanda Launches the First-Ever Land-Use Portal in Africa

Redlands, California—Thanks to a new website called the National Land Use Planning Portal (NLUPP), Rwandans connected to the Internet now have easy access to land-use plans and other spatial data on the web, decreasing the time it takes to find such maps and documents. Built on Esri’s ArcGIS platform by the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), NLUPP is the first portal of its kind on the continent of Africa.

"Transparency and making data accessible for the public to use are an important aspect of democracy," says Emily Krunic, director of democracy and good governance at USAID in Rwanda. "Open data makes space for meaningful input from the public, civil society, and the private sector and gives those groups and policymakers access to data to inform civic discussion and policy."

Over the past several years, Rwanda has embarked on developing land-use plans at the national and district levels as well as for urban centers. NLUPP now makes this information available and accessible to all Rwandans. The portal is designed to enhance transparency and provide Rwanda’s citizens with information on how best to use their land, while also providing professionals with the tools and data they need to plan for sustainable development of the country and conduct land-use analysis.

The portal eases the discovery process even for those without Internet access. Local leaders use the resource to assist residents in obtaining current maps and records, which is still much faster than the previous method of flipping through map books and rummaging through file cabinets for information and then making scans and photocopies.

Land agencies are increasingly using Esri’s commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products to digitize and serve their maps and all land-related information. NLUPP serves as a model for other planned land-use portals on the African continent.

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