National Spatial Data Infrastructure for Integrated Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (ZAN-SDI)

Project Description

The importance of geospatial information and its essential role in the sustainable development has been widely recognised and raised interest towards nation-specific infrastructures, National Spatial Data Infrastructures (NSDIs). The “Sustainable Management of Land and Environment” II (SMOLE II) project, supported by the Government of Finland in 2010-2015, started the process of establishing the Zanzibar Land Data Processing Centre and created a Zanzibar Land Information System (ZALIS) which can be considered as the first steps towards NSDI and future development of the geospatial and geoinformatics sector in Zanzibar. This Project aimed at supporting the Government of Zanzibar to continue these efforts through capacity building.

The coastal and marine ecosystems and natural resources, including coral reefs, sea grasses and algae, coastal forests, mangroves and sandy beaches, form the basic foundation of the local culture and the social and economic welfare of Zanzibar. Currently, the rapid expansion of the settlements and the growth of the tourism industry are causing pressures on land and sea use changes and consequent conflicts. Such challenges call for integrated coastal and marine spatial planning and management. Large amounts of relevant, spatially explicit, accurate and accessible data on both human activities and environmental variables are needed to allow integrated coastal and marine spatial planning and management in Zanzibar.

Beach in Zanzibar
A traditional landing site for artisanal fisheries in Unguja, Zanzibar. © Markku Viitasalo

The Overall Objective (intended long-term impact) of the Project was creation and improved utilisation of geospatial information in spatial planning and management in Zanzibar. The Project Purpose (immediate objective) was improved capacity of the project partners in Zanzibar to collect and manage marine and coastal information and to use National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) effectively in integrated coastal and marine spatial planning. The Expected Results of the Project are:

  1. Increased capacity for developing and maintaining the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI)
  2. Increased capacity for ecosystem-based planning and management of coastal zones, maritime activities and the marine environment
  3. Improved geospatial capacities at the partner organisations

Development of Zanzibar Spatial Data Infrastructure

As a starting point for development of NSDI for Zanzibar, the design and components of Finnish NSDI were introduced to Zanzibari partners as reference for implementation. Benefits for NSDI in Finnish organisations were presented and demonstrated during professional visit in Zanzibar and particularly during the professional visits in Finland. Special attention was given to the process of setting up an SDI piece-by-piece and to the required commitment of all stakeholders.

The design of SDI in Zanzibar was developed based on a general SDI structure. Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) is a concept that is used in defining the framework and components that are needed for sharing and providing access to geospatial information. The more detailed contents of these five components: data, metadata, coordination structures, human resources and technical infrastructure were defined jointly by Zanzibari and Finnish partners.

A review of the current status of data/services/GIS in the Zanzibar partner organisations was carried out. For each data theme existing date sets were identified and the owners of each data set were identified. The role and tasks of the data owners were discussed. On-the-job training in data management was provided to selected partners. The training for data management and data publishing was also given during a professional visit in Finland.

Mohamman Zahran
Mr Mohamman Zahran (Zanzibar Land Data Processing Centre) presents the proposed coordination structure of ZanSDI. © Photo: Riitta Teiniranta

The current technical capability of the partner organisations did not allow the creation of a full-scale permanent solution for data sharing. Alternative options to ensure adequate technical infrastructure for data sharing were studied, and the plan for future development was discussed. The first version of Geoportal (Geonode and GeoServer) was set up at SYKE´s Azure environment (cloud service). Open source solutions for data sharing and creating map applications were installed at the demo enviroment and introduced to the relevant staff. The first datasets and their metadat were added to Geonode. Training on metadata and data management was provided to Zanzibari partners.

A proposal of required operative coordination bodies for setting up and running a well-functioning NSDI was discussed and agreed upon. The relevant bodies include and SDI Support Team with a technically-oriented operative supporting role, a Coordination Team (consisting of ZAN-SDI Focal Points at the premilinary phase) dedicated to investigating and preparing actions and tasks for NSDI development, and SDI Managers Group with funding and directing power and, finally, a high-level SDI Board with a decision-making mandate.

Integration of Costal and Marine Spatial Planning

Ecosystem approach and marine spatial planning concept and their significance were introduced to Zanzibari partners, trough generic lectures and discussions in the workshops and seminars, various visits and meetings.

A large amount of new spatial information on marine issues, especially human activities and biodiversity, were collected in collaboration with researchers of the State University of Zanzibar and the University of Turku through Participatory Mapping. New data on human activities on the coastal and marine areas and biodiversity hotspots were also collected through interviews with local experts, dive centres, fishermen and villagers, as well as extensive field work carried out jointly with the Department of Fisheries Development. The skills regarding remote sensing, spatial analyses and field work were identified and assessed. Remote sensing methods and products (satellite and aerial pictures) for the area, and their usability for underwater inventories were identified and discussed.

Zanzibari partners were familiarised with methods of combining field information with remote sensing data and evaluating the validity of the remote sensing analyses. Aerial images for the area were acquired and used in training and in the preparation of the North-East Unguja Special Area Plan (NESAP). The NESAP document was drafted with the assistance of the sub-contractor African Architechture Matters (AAM). The draft NESAP was presented to, and feedback was received from stakeholders, from NGOs to ministries, in a major stakeholder meeting. Feedback was also received from local communities in several village feedback meetings in the NESAP area. The biodiversity hotspots that were identified in the sea area, and relevant recommendations were incorporated into the NESAP. Two areas with high conservation values (Mnembra atoll and a coral reef area outside Kiwengwa village) were particularly identified.

Participatory mapping in Kiwengwa
Participatory mapping in Kiwengwa village. The villagers mark marine activities and uses on the sea on maps of the northeast coast of Unguja. © Photo: Markku Viitasalo

In addition, detailed Local Area Plans (LAPS) were also jointy developed for Kiwengwa and Pongwe, with the assistance of the sub-contractor AAM. Three protection levels of significant marine biodiversity values were proposed: (Level 1) areas with very high socio-ecological value, in need of stricter protection; (Level 2) areas with high ecological or social value which need specific consideration in spatial planning but where some sustainable use of the marine resources can be allowed; and (Level 3) areas with lower ecological value, where national Marine Park legislation applies (Figure 2).

The societal, economic and political/policy obstacles that may prevent reaching ecosystem-based management of coastal and marine areas in Zanzibar were assessed and discussed, and three measures of management was proposed: 1) establishing formal Marine Conservation Areas; 2) preparing and implementing Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning; and 3) establishing Locally Managed Marine Areas together with shehias. All three measures should be used at the same time in relevant costal and marine areas.

Geospatial Capacity Building

The third component of the Project involved the establisment of a geospatial expert network and design of a geospatial training plan for the partner organisations, and training the selected experts with geospatial information related skills. The Department of Geography and Geology of the University of Turku was subcontracted for the implementation of this component in collaboration with the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA). Altogether 22 different training modules were prepared and implemented in the Project. In addition, institutional geospatial competence profiles and competence development plans were jointly finalised for Zanzibar partner agencies.

Services provided by SYKE

Altogether thirteen experts of SYKE’s Data and Information Centre, Marine Research Centre and International Affairs Unit participated in the implementation and management of the Project in collaboration with the Zanzibar partners and experts of the National Land Survey of Finland and University of Turku.

More Information

Pekka J Salminen, Project Manager, International Affairs Unit, SYKE
Riitta Teiniranta, Development Manager, Data and Information Centre, SYKE
Markku Viitasalo, Research Professor, Marine Spatial Planning, Marine Research Centre, SYKE

Problem solving in Zanzibar with the expertise of the Finnish Environment Institute 2019-07-02
Underwater nature of Zanzibar, Tanzania, is spectacular with its coral reefs, seagrass meadows and mangrove forests. Marine life is however facing severe threats as coastal zone is affected by increasing tourism, coastal building, overfishing and also climate change.
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Published 2016-05-24 at 12:54, updated 2020-10-22 at 13:05