University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

Font Size: 
(Not) Integrating cultural heritage in the National Spatial Data Infrastructure of Botswana. Some considerations and challenges.
Stefania Merlo

Last modified: 2011-12-18


The Government of Botswana, through the initiative of National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), started in 2002, has established an intellectual and practical basis for the use of geographic information and GIS for the purpose of research, monitoring, planning and infrastructure development in the country.

As it has been the case in other countries, data that would allow an improved and efficient evaluation of cultural resources, with the aim of allowing their sustainable management, have not been included in the project. The involvement of heritage representatives from the National Museum of Botswana (repository of all archaeological records in the country) was not planned and, as a consequence, not only no input was given on the requirements of cultural heritage data to be incorporated in the infrastructure, but heritage practitioners remained in the dark for what concerns digital data (spatial and not spatial). To date, heritage management in Botswana continues to be mainly paper based. Although some records have been ported to digital platforms no coherent and appropriately documented systems have been created so far to store such data.

Why is the state of heritage spatial data digital documentation so far behind when compared to other sectors (land survey and mapping, e-government, etc.) in Botswana? This paper explores the history of the development of the NSDI in Botswana and the parallel universe of the challenges faced by heritage agencies, practitioners and researchers in integrating heritage data and SDI technology.


SDI; Botswana; heritage management