Building a comprehensive GIS

Swedesurvey was given the responsibility to assist Buffalo City, South Africa, in building a comprehensive GIS that will support the objectives of the Integrated Development Planning. In the first phase GIS strategies were formulated which were implemented during the second phase. Jointly by BCM and Sida it has also been agreed on that the support to the GIS Unit will be extended. The extension -'BMC GIS Phase III'- run for a period of 1.5 years.

The Municipality of Buffalo City with about one million residents is an amalgamation of three municipalities: King William's Town (a historical crossroad in Eastern Cape); East London (a major port and industrial city) and the surrounding rural areas. Like other municipalities in South Africa, Buffalo City is confronting a serious (geographic) information management problem. While the area of jurisdiction has expanded to embrace rural committees, little or no base line information such as socio-economic and environmental data is available to support planning and management activities.

Likewise, the focus on Integrated Development Planning with objectives to combat the highly inequitable spatial distribution of resources within the fields of housing, infrastructure and social services as well imbalances between supply and demand across sectors, stresses the need for relevant and updated data as well as methods to analyse and improve the situation.

The consultant’s input in the second (implementation) phase was continuously linked to the IDP work and constituted about 12 months over a period of two years.

The Strategy was designed in a way that enables the following specific objectives to be met in the phase two implementation process:

  • Education of decision makers to think futuristically using a paradigm of spatially based decision making within local government;
  • Establishing an integrated and co-ordinated approach to spatial data management and information flows;
  • Develop capacity within the human resources of all departments who will implement, maintain and operate the range of tools, enabling technology and data-sets which are part of the organisational GIS;

Demonstrate the value of GIS based decision making for the municipality based on an analysis of savings and increased revenue.