Examining Potential of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems in Monitoring Land Uses Changes.


North Kaputei is a rapidly changing area in Kitengela location of Kajiado district. Located about 30kms southeast of Nairobi city, the area has experienced a lot of physical growth, which can be attributed to its close proximity to the capital city of Nairobi. Its land use development is characterized by the extensive residential and commercial activities in contrast to the rural characteristic which it had exhibited. The land use activities have taken place in a comparatively high rate over the last twenty years thus overshadowing the administrative and planning efforts of the area.

This study was set out to examine the nature and trend of land use changes in North Kaputei focusing on the socio-economic factors influencing land use changes such as rampant subdivision, cheap housing, low land values and other factors with their subsequent impacts were also examined.

The study's objectives were therefore to: examine the nature and trend of land use changes in North Kaputei over the past twenty years; Examine the range of data needed to monitor land use changes; examine the current methods and technologies for geo-data gathering, analysis and information management and assess their deficiencies in the study area; and finally to investigate the potential role of applying GIS and RS techniques in geo-data acquisition, processing, analysis and information management for effective land use management as compared to the existing conventional methods in the area.

 The study hypothesized that lack of up-to-date, reliable and readily available land related data and information management contribute to haphazard land use development with the current methods of gathering and analyzing land use changes being inefficient and inadequate for monitoring and managing land use changes in North Kaputei.

The methodology adopted involved the visual digital interpretation of land use according to the land use classification from satellite images for the year 1987, 1995 and 2000. Subsequently land use maps were crossed with each other to identify and quantify the pattern of land use changes using GIS tool. The study also employed primary and secondary methods of data collection for qualitative and quantitative data.

The study revealed that an area that was typically rural countryside has gradually evolved into an urban environment such that past settlement patterns in North Kaputei had developed without much land use planning and management. The land use management in the study area was therefore admittedly out of step with the speed of land use development.

The effectiveness and deficiencies of the land use management institutions in the implementation of development control provisions has been examined based on the premises that effective land use management takes place within an institutional, policy and legal framework and this requires a well-organized land information system for monitoring, capturing and managing land use changes. It was also found that the relevant institutions do not have adequate resources to monitor and control development in North Kaputei.

Management of land use changes requires spatially accurate and timely information on land use and changing pattern. Monitoring provides the land use administrators, planners and policy-makers with required information about the current state of development and the nature of changes that have occurred. The study concluded that remote sensing and Geographical Information system (GIS) provides vital tools which can be applied in the analysis at the district and as well as at the city level. Remote sensing becomes useful because it provides synoptic view and multi- temporal land uses/land cover data that are often required.

The problem concerning the optimal use of land resources and improved land management is increasingly being magnified by the rapid urbanization. This intensifies the pressure on land and related resources. Therefore, there is need for continuous monitoring of land use changes as a basis for planning development and control of land resources. The study recommended an integrated land information management system that is equipped with various factors such as institutional setup, organizational procedures, legal framework, human and financial resources, and implementation plan for its suitability. The study thus weighted the use of GIS to build automated land information system for efficient management.




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