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Assessment of spatial data infrastructures

Antony K Cooper
Elsona van Huyssteen
Sonali Das
Maria Coetzee
Gerbrand Mans


A Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) is an evolving concept, essentially consisting of policies, institutional arrangements, Geographical Information Systems (GISs), data bases, networks, Web services and portals to facilitate and coordinate the availability, exchange and sharing of geospatial data and services between stakeholders from different levels. This article aims to provide some information on the role and value of SDIs and their potential relationship with, and contribution to other geospatial and evidence-based tools and technologies within the South African planning context and system. For this, it provides a brief overview and comparison of the key characteristics of the SDIs in South Africa, China, Brazil, Australia and India. The article highlights some of the complexities and use of an SDI and the value of, and need for an SDI to support the spatial and land development planning envisaged in the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA).