2005 Nairobi Land Use and Building Density GIS Data

The Spatial Information Design Lab (SIDL) at Columbia University was hired by CSUD to create a GIS database of Nairobi, Kenya, that focused specifically on the attributes of land use, building density and the road network in Core Nairobi.

The overall purpose of the project was to create a publicly available dataset that allows those interested in Nairobi’s future development to use GIS to make informed decisions on planning and data policies within the city itself. The first experiment of its use was for a transportation modeling project for the City of Nairobi which was presented in Nairobi during a series of transport themed workshops with government officials, technical officers and local community groups in August 2009.

LAND_USE_DENSITY_10_10_08.jpgThe land use and building density file was created by manually digitizing a map which was prepared jointly by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Government of the Republic of Kenya under the Japanese Government Technical Cooperation Program. The map was published and printed by the survey of KENYA 1000 in March 2005 and is copyright protected by the Government of Kenya. The creation of this basemap took place over the course of several months in 2003: aerial photography was taken in February 2003 at a scale of 1:15,000; photogrammetric work was completed in August 2003; field identification was completed in November 2003. The land use file was created with the intention of providing a freely accessible, generalized representation of Nairobi’s land use patterns; it should be noted that the JICA map used to generate the land use file obviously possesses a greater degree of accuracy and detail than the land use file itself.

The downloadable files (see below to download) include a more detailed memo to guide you through the GIS datasets. We recommend reading the memo thoroughly before accessing the data. Thank you for visiting our Nairobi GIS maps wiki and feel free to contact CSUD ( with questions or comments.

Downloadable Files:
(2003 land use and building density data: compressed files)
(PDF of 2003 land use map)
(PDF of building density map)
(Memo explaining how maps were created)