The role of GIS in conventional land survey

James, a young land survey expert, was very tired and annoyed from a long day in the field with no success. He sat on the first seat he could find after a long struggle with his laptop bag, the total station, hand-held GPS, the tape and other things that he barely needed for his fieldwork. “Could things be any better?” These are the questions he asked himself every day after the hard work with no or little fruits.

Would there be a day he would go out using a map to give him the exact route to follow to a given destination without going through or over fences and getting lost every day, not knowing the owner of the land and as if it is a must to have two or more owners of the same piece of land and not that they are partners everyone owned that land independently, disagreement with neighbors, mistrust of clients, loss of data and many other challenges that never seizes, every day they grew, multiplied and were much enormous and more suffocating than no other.

In the Kamukunji bar where the county surveyors had a get-together every Friday, James had once heard many surveyors talking about how GIS has helped them greatly but had no time to know what it was, how it was used and how it helps. He started feeling he has been missing a lot, has he been too busy for a better life, an easier life? These words were very devastating to him he had to look at that GIS is and how much he had been missing out. In a hurry, he took out his laptop and was looking for anything about it everywhere, and finally, he found it everywhere he searched.

GIS is a tool that is used in spatial data collection, analysis, management manipulation, and storage,” he read. Its a tool used in all aspects of life, it is used by surveyors in their whole career an example is land administration where all the information about land was recorded on: the owner, the size of land and boundary, right of way, easement, the history of the land, the next of kin, agreements on the land, and many more information that was all he always needed, the exact route he was to use to get to each land and since the information was given by the community it was acceptable by all and was trustworthy and with few disagreements.


This is all James needed to store the data he has been collecting using a geo-database, choosing to the shortest route to access the land, spatial and non-spatial information about different land, easy sketching when subdividing land, it is fast, reliable and effective in all the activities in his daily tasks. This is all that every surveyor in Kenya needs to facilitate the fast and effective operation.

GIS is a very important tool that is used by surveyors worldwide; this region has not been to that point yet where GIS is used in every part of surveying, but there comes a day when no surveyor will work without GIS. A day is coming when governments will understand the role of GIS in the survey section and that day all information will be available freely to all and there will be a great interaction between the community hence fewer conflicts on land, help in land management, land use, and land tenure.

Have you ever imagined a country that you can know who owns what in real-time, how to access that land, in the case of the land claiming by the government for some community project, there is no conflicts on who owns the land for compensation? Where all land customers can buy land from the sellers directly without the presence of brokers and even con men, also all people will have land tenure for the poor, rich middle class and all gender can have the right to own land with or without the ability to afford it. Now this is the future of GIS in land surveying we have to embrace.

Geosymp Staff
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