Challenges in sharing of geospatial data by data custodians in South Africa
Keywords: geospatial data, metadata, data custodian, data sharing, legislation, spatial data infrastructure, geospatial dataset, standards, data quality, data acquisition, CSI, SASDI, SDI
Abstract. As most development planning and rendering of public services happens at a place or in a space, geospatial data is required. This geospatial data is best managed through a spatial data infrastructure, which has as a key objective to share geospatial data. The collection and maintenance of geospatial data is expensive and time consuming and so the principle of “collect once – use many times” should apply. It is best to obtain the geospatial data from the authoritative source – the appointed data custodian. In South Africa the South African Spatial Data Infrastructure (SASDI) is the means to achieve the requirement for geospatial data sharing. This requires geospatial data sharing to take place between the data custodian and the user. All data custodians are expected to comply with the Spatial Data Infrastructure Act (SDI Act) in terms of geo-spatial data sharing. Currently data custodians are experiencing challenges with regard to the sharing of geospatial data.
This research is based on the current ten data themes selected by the Committee for Spatial Information and the organisations identified as the data custodians for these ten data themes. The objectives are to determine whether the identified data custodians comply with the SDI Act with respect to geospatial data sharing, and if not what are the reasons for this. Through an international comparative assessment it then determines if the compliance with the SDI Act is not too onerous on the data custodians.
The research concludes that there are challenges with geospatial data sharing in South Africa and that the data custodians only partially comply with the SDI Act in terms of geospatial data sharing. However, it is shown that the South African legislation is not too onerous on the data custodians.