Stakeholders in land management are taking steps to develop area specific and workable base maps as part of efforts to sanitise land use.
To that end, representatives from the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands, the Lands Commission, the Licensed Surveyors Association of Ghana (LISAG), among other institutions, met in Accra yesterday to brainstorm and deepen their collaboration to enhance their work.
A base map is a prerequisite for effective spatial planning and ultimately ensuring the sustainable and judicious land use.
Basically, it is a map that presents the developer of a land its features by giving him/her an idea with respect to the placement or location of specific projects on that land.
The Director of Spatial Planning at the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUSPA), Chapman Owusu-Sekyere, who moderated the meeting, said although land sector agencies could not escape blame for the poor planning of cities in Ghana, they were handicapped, since they lacked incentives, such as base maps, to enhance their work.
He added that the lack of current base maps had made the work of those agencies very difficult over the years.
"Presently, planning is chasing development in the country, but it should be the other way round, where we pave the roads in the areas and give out permits before development," he indicated.
He said LUSPA had introduced a three-tier planning system — the spatial development framework, a broad layout and the structural plan — but noted that the authority would still need a base map in determining the usage of land for the future.
He said LISAG, as well as the other institutions, was partnering LUSPA to get the needed base maps.
Mr Owusu-Sekyere expressed confidence that with the present cooperation among the respective institutions, "we will be able to get the needed base maps to plan our cities."
In a presentation on the overview of spatial planning practices in metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), a Senior Spatial Planning Officer of the LUSPA, Celestina Deku, stressed the importance of base maps in planning processes, pointing out that some of the challenges confronting the sector had been inadequate or outdated base maps for plan preparation, as well as the high cost of the maps.
She also mentioned poor demarcation and translation of local maps as one of the difficulties hindering their work and stressed the need for effective collaboration to ensure the availability of up-to-date base maps for spatial planning and urban management.
She said collaboration with the other players in the sector would help iron out overlaps in land-related functions for effective service delivery and promote the sharing of knowledge on best practices.
"It will also determine the best strategies for leveraging the potential of the sector towards a transformed and revitalised land sector,” she said.
A representative of LISAG, Florence Lamptey, said her outfit was ready to liaise with the LUSPA, MMDAs and landowners to provide the needed base maps for effective land use planning and land administration at the local level.