At least, there are 1,194,525 houses in Lagos State, South West Nigeria housing the over 17 million population, the Lagos State Geographic Information System, GIS has revealed.

The GIS/Digital Mapping of project was commissioned by Governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday as the first in Nigeria and third in Africa behind South Africa and Kenya.

Through the GIS, the entire landmass of Lagos State, all industries and factories, roads, individual houses, among others have been captured while it makes it easy to transact businesses without necessarily leaving one’s house.

A GIS integrates hardware, software and data for capturing, managing, analysing and displaying all forum of geographically referenced information.  It allows for viewing, understanding, questioning, interpreting and visualising data in many ways that review relationships, pattern and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports and charts.

Speaking on GIS and its implication for Lagos State, Mr. Zul Jiwani, Orion Technologies, Canada disclosed that approximately 1.2 million houses had been captured in Lagos State using the GIS and Digital Mapping system.

According to Fashola, the project took about three years to fly over every inch of the 3,755 square kilometers of the state, to photograph every inch of land and building “which we have now successfully captured.

“The photographs are accurate to a point of 11 millimeters.  At the same time, we took data and bathymetric charts of the depth of every inch of water in the state in order to aid navigation and advise on dredging and strengthen our capacity for flood control.

“What we have today enables us to see from our offices, every building in Lagos and every piece of land without going to personally visit the site.  It allows us to determine the exact size of every piece of land; its precise boundaries and its topography from a desk in our offices.

“With GIS, we can know the number of street poles, water pipes, length of streets, nearest bus stops to your house, nearest school, nearest market, nearest hospital, among others.  We can therefore now produce and print plans and documents in quicker time, while citizens can obtain maps of landed property online and pay by electronic means without visiting Alausa,”  Fashola added.

According to him, “the Lagos Navigation System that helps commuters find streets and locations around our state from their computers or in their vehicles is now delivered with this project.

“We are also able to plan better the location of utilities of power, water supply, waste management facilities and so much more.  It will be a most useful asset in locating people and events, using GPRS and connecting with the GSM for detection of crime, responding to emergencies and so much.  With this GIS facility, the possibilities are simply endless.”

Commissioner for Science and Technology, Dr. Kadri Hamzat said the state government commenced the comprehensive Digital Surveying and Mapping of the whole state which resulted in the establishment of Enterprise GIS to provide various developmental activities in both the rural areas and other major towns in Lagos State, saying that the GIS was implemented using seven modules.

He stated that GIS is used for enormous amount of infrastructure and geographical planning, stressing that with GIS “you can map change to anticipate future needs.  Specifically, a Police Commissioner of the Inspector General of Police might use GIS to study how crime pattern change from month to month and at different locations to determine the development of officers.

“When rain falls, with GIS, it is possible to determine how it affects rivers and marsh lands.  This is possible using location reference system such as the longitude and latitude and perhaps elevation,” he explained.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga