The Government of Zambia is prioritising urban planning using artificial intelligence to overcome urban poverty and build inclusive, prosperous and sustainable cities.

Geospatial data is the most powerful tool available to city governments in their fight against urban poverty. Computers are taught what to look for in images using training data. The technology then automatically creates mapping quickly and accurately. This innovative technique is a rapid, accurate and cost-effective way to generate a detailed digital map with a multitude of use cases, including the design and management of critical infrastructure services, land use planning, transport planning, land tenure, ownership and administration together with the integration of future census data.

The Zambian Government is working with leading organisations Ordnance Survey (OS), the International Growth Centre (IGC) and the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA) to manage the challenges associated with urban growth. The availability of accurate and up-to-date data for creating well-planned and managed cities has enabled piloting the creation of an automated digital base map of Lusaka, Zambia.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Aerial-map-of-Zambia-By-kind-permission-of-Ministry-of-Lands-Zambia-1024x542.jpg
Source: Ministry of Lands, Zambia

As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic further highlights the need for a better understanding of the city’s informal settlements, Zambia’s Ministry of Local Government is undertaking efforts to promote prosperous and inclusive urban settlements using aerial imagery provided by the Zambia Survey Department in the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, and ensure Zambia’s towns and cities are resilient to support economic growth. OS has utilised its advanced automated process to generate a new base map using artificial intelligence across 420km2 of Lusaka.

OS mapping data will help identify informal settlements, population and density, the number of built structures, the location of transport infrastructure surrounding the formal and informal neighbourhoods, as well as access to electricity, sanitation facilities and clean water.

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Source: Ordnance Survey