Resource Data

Using geospatial data to build sustainable cities

Addressing rapid urbanization in a sustainable way is aided by new and faster mapping techniques. The accessibility of these maps is increasing, giving better access to valuable information for countries facing the urgent need to plan for sustainable housing, water and sanitation.

The implementation of a sustainable infrastructure of roads, waste, water and electricity is not possible without reliable geospatial data. It provides a single source of accurate environmental information to enable rapid decision making by governments and policy makers.

To help demonstrate the importance of geospatial data, Ordnance Survey (OS) has published a set of seven sustainability innovation trends describing the ways the broader geospatial industry is working to tackle climate change.

The World Bank estimates that 54% of urban dwellers in sub-Saharan Africa live in informal settlements. These informal sites lack the infrastructure required to support sustainable, livable and productive urban environments.

Digital base maps for evidence-based environmental solutions

In response to the challenges associated with rapid urban growth, OS, in partnership with the International Growth Center (IGC) and the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA), piloted the creation of an automated digital basemap of Lusaka, in Zambia.

Using aerial imagery provided by the Zambia Surveying Department of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, OS used its advanced automated process to generate a new base map, using intelligence artificial, over 420 km.2 from Lusaka. These precise digital basemaps create a resource of vital importance to decision-makers and planners in the development of evidence-based environmental solutions.

The operating system map data will help identify informal settlements, population and density, number of structures built, location of transport infrastructure surrounding formal and informal settlements, as well as access to electricity. , sanitary facilities and drinking water.

Call to action

The UN urges countries to commit to improving inclusive and sustainable urbanization by 2030 as part of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

OS recently hosted an important workshop with senior leaders from the global geospatial community and issued a call to action for governments reiterating the strategic value of location data in the fight against climate change. The Cambridge conference workshop brought together global mapping agencies to discuss areas where accurate and reliable geospatial data is already having a positive impact and how it will help their governments achieve the four key goals of COP26.

To read the Operating System Sustainability Trends report, click here.

To read the government statement from national mapping and geospatial agencies, click here.

Using aerial imagery provided by the Zambia Surveying Department of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, OS used its advanced automated process to generate a new base map, using intelligence artificial, over 420 km2 of Lusaka. (Courtesy: Ordnance Survey)


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