Land Portal and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have collaborated on this project designed “…to uncover, democratize and improve the land data and information ecosystem in South Africa” (Land Portal Foundation, 2019). This is one of a number of State of Land Information (SoLI) projects in an international process covering a number of countries. The first part of the project involved in-country teams scoping the information landscape (resulting in this report). The second part involved an open data compliance assessment by the Land Portal Foundation, using the scoping exercise as the basis (resulting in the report titled, State of Land Information South Africa: Uncovering South Africa’s Land Information Ecosystem). The intention is that a third phase, depending on funding availability, would involve targeted capacity building interventions designed to achieve improvement in information management practices (Land Portal Foundation, 2018).
So far the countries that have published SoLI reports include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and South Sudan.
At a strategic level, the State of Land Information initiative focuses “… on gaining more global awareness on the land governance situation in South Africa, with a particular focus on uncovering data and information and using that to inform debate, strengthen advocacy messaging or simply communicating data and information in a way that is beneficial to a wider, non-expert audience.” (Land Portal Foundation, 2019)
The observation unit for the purpose of this scoping exercise is the dataset. In the context of this research, a dataset is defined as “a structured collection of information, including (numerical) data, publications and multimedia contents” (Land Portal Foundation, 2018). This may be a statistical dataset that contains land cover data (for example), but it can also include a database of publications that contains information about (a certain topic of) land governance, for example.
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The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, commonly known as the CSIR, is a world-class African research and development organisation established through an Act of Parliament in 1945 and the organisation’s executive authority is the Minister of Science and Technology of South Africa. The CSIR undertakes directed, multidisciplinary research and technological innovation that contribute to the improved quality of life of South Africans.