Geographic information system concepts for land management

T. Kleynhans, P. R. Coppin, L. P. Queen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A Geographical Information System (GIS) has recently been developed for the assessment of the agricultural potential of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The main value of this GIS is the integration of agricultural resource information from the SADC countries in order to support regional planning. The development of GIS technology makes it possible to compile, store, retrieve, analyse and display vast quantities of spatial data on, inter alia, the climate, topography, soils and infrastructure of the region. This article aims to give background information on the nature and general application of a GIS. Attention is given to the capabilities of a GIS, the spatial questions that drive analyses, basic database requirements, analytical and operational functions, as well as the applications of a GIS in land reform. More detail on the spatial agricultural resource data captured and its use by means of the SADC GIS will be described in a later article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-530
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopment Southern Africa
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999


A GIS for assessing the agricultural potential of the SADC region has recently been developed by the Agrifutura Project and the Forestry Management Unit of the University of Stellenbosch and funded by the Development Bank of Southern Africa. The FAO/SADC Regional Remote Sensing Project in Harare collaborated with them in the collection of the data. The SADC Agricultural Potential Assessment Project follows on previous agricultural resource assessments of Africa, such as the Agro-ecological Zones Project of the FAO (cf FAO, 1978), which provided valuable methodological contributions and crop suitability maps for the whole continent. It also provided quantities of suitable land per selected crop for various climatic regions, distinguishing between high-and low-input conditions. This was followed by the project which assessed the physical potential 'population-supporting capacities' of countries in five regions of the developing world (FAO, 1983).

FundersFunder number
Stellenbosch University
Development Bank of Southern Africa


    Dive into the research topics of 'Geographic information system concepts for land management'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this