Opportunities and Challenges for Integrating Statistical and Spatial Data in East African Countries
AbstractStatistical and spatial data integration for effective implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while addressing emerging socio economic challenges and opportunities in developing countries is globally accepted for business, policy making and data driven decisions making process. However in the EAC countries despite of a considerable increase in birth of geographical data producers, vendors and users in EACs whom do not know about each other’s data holding or data needs little is known on the current opportunities and challenges for spatial and statistical data integration. In the recent there are numerous opportunities for integrating statistical and spatial data in EAC countries including availability of geographical data producers, vendors and users in EACs, availability of Geo-network portal, Region STAT and AQUASTAT program and fast emerging trends in technology development such as Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI). Among the challenges confronting the spatial and statistical data integration includes unwatched production of spatial data result much into more duplication of data, poor data quality control, inefficient use of the available data resources, suppression of the geo-information market and frustrated data users, absence of clearing house for EACs countries, lack of common geographic boundaries and data management systems, lack of adequate expertise and skilled labor for data integration, shortage of integrated infrastructure to support the integration initiatives of spatial statistical data, inconsistencies among the structure of the data, lack of regional level and well-defined frameworks. The EAC country Clearing house and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) programs at local need to be promoted for fast tracking the data integration in EAC countries while addressing the current challenges confronting the spatial and statistical data integration .
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