The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XL-2
11 Nov 2014
 | 11 Nov 2014

Developing a decision support system to identify strategically located land for land reform in South Africa

W. Musakwa, E. N. Makoni, M. Kangethe, and L. Segooa

Keywords: Manuscripts, Proceedings, ISPRS Archives, ISPRS Annals, Guidelines for Authors, Styleguide

Abstract. Land reform is identified as a key tool in fostering development in South Africa. With two decades after the advent of democracy in South Africa, the land question remains a critical issue for policy makers. A number of frameworks have been put in place by the government to identify land which is strategically located for land reform. However, many of these frameworks are not well aligned and have hampered the government’s land reform initiative in promoting inclusive development. Strategically located land is herein defined as land parcels that are well positioned for the promotion of agriculture, human settlements, rural and tourism development. Accordingly, there is a need to develop a decision tool which facilitates the identification of strategically located land for development. This study proposes the use of geographic information systems (GIS), earth observation (EO) data and multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) to develop a spatial decision support system (SDSS) to identify strategically located land for land reform. The SDDS was therefore designed using GIS, EO data and MCDM to create an index for identification of strategically located land. Expert-led workshops were carried out to ascertain criteria for identifying strategically located land and the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) was utilised used to weight the criteria. The study demonstrates that GIS and EO are invaluable tools in facilitating evidence-based decisions for land reform. However, there is need for capacity building on GIS and EO in government departments responsible for land reform and development planning. The study suggests that there is an urgent need to develop sector specific criteria for the identification of strategically located land for inclusive development.