Nasarawa State Government, Nigeria embarked on a large-scale investment to develop a modern geospatial data infrastructure

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Nasarawa State Government, Nigeria embarked on a large-scale land-based investment of US$16,876,561.00(2.7 billion Nigerian Naira), using modern geospatial technologies to develop a modern geospatial data infrastructure for the state.


Nasarawa State is one of the thirty six (36) federating states of Nigeria. It was created in 1996 and is located in the north central part of the country. It is bound by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja to the west, Kaduna and Plateau States to the north, Taraba State to the east and Benue and Kogi States to the south (See Figures 1 & 2). It has a total land area of 27, 290sq km. with a population of over two million people, where most of them practice subsistence agriculture.


Presence of naturally made land is a very important resource to the government and people of the state. In this context, the proper management of land in the state is imperative. Its close proximity to Abuja, FCT (See Figure 2) has made the state to always react to events that it has no control over. Development activities within Abuja, FCT in the last 38 years has significantly affected in Nasarawa State. Most of the impact has been on land and could be said to always be negative in a lot of cases. For instance, a large number of the FCT’s work forces are resident in the neighboring Karu Local Government Area of the state. Though no reliable official figures are available, various estimates put the figures at between 45% and 50% of the FCT work force living in Nasarawa State and commuting daily. This has multiple effects on housing needs, transport and other social services. Past administrations of the state have unfortunately not been able to address land issues within the entire state. Land and important means of production were completely ignored until the year 2012.



The state government realized early in 2011 that the entire system of land administration and management within the state was in chaos. Records available within the lands department are old and not easily retractable if and when needed. Under this scenario it was easy to see that no meaningful development could be achieved without putting in place a modern system that could address the serious issues in a holistic manner once and for all. In addition to this the state government was (and is still) in a precarious financial situation. It could not depend on the federation account allocation for its sources of funds if it wants to serve its people properly. Due to this issue, the state government decided to look inward and harness the land resources at its disposal. It decided to embark on a large scale land-based investment of US$16,876,561.00(2.7 billion Nigerian Naira), using modern geospatial technologies in order to develop a modern geospatial data infrastructure for the state. The project has three components – Orthophoto Mapping, Geographic Information Service and Urban Planning & Urban renewal, commenced in May 2012.




Under this project, the state land mass of 27, 290sq km was flown. Six townships were flown at 10cm GDS, while the remaining parts of the entire state were flown at 25cm GDS. The data acquired were stored in a GIS platform of Nasarawa Geographic Information Service (NAGIS). Land use and land cover maps were also produced for the entire state. This is an unprecedented development as not more than one state in Nigeria has performed such a feat so far.


This paper essentially set up to examine the impact of this large scale land-based investment by the state government:


– The development of spatial data infrastructure in the last two and half years as well as the challenges faced during the implementation stages. Lessons learnt so far as well as the remarkable improvement in service delivery recorded in land administration and land management practices are unprecedented.

Project overview

The development of spatial data infrastructure in the state – known as Nasarawa Development Platform Project – was conceived to address the many issues of Land Administration and Management within Nasarawa State. The sharing of a common border with Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Abuja City makes for a strong case for addressing squarely the problem of urban poor in respect of land ownership and its attendant social consequences. This project has three components:-

  • Digital Aerial Mapping of the Whole State and Six selected Urban Areas Nasarawa Geographic Information Services (NAGIS).
  • Urban Renewal & Planning of three Townships (Lafia, Keffi& Karu)

Commenced in May 2012, the project spilled over to the year 2015 even though it had an initial completion period of 24 months at a total cost of UD$ 16,876,561.00

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