Nairobi GIS Maps: Welcome!

Welcome! Thank you for your interest in the Center for Sustainable Urban Development's (CSUD) Nairobi GIS maps and database. To access the maps and data please use the navigation sidebar at left.

LAND_USE_10_10_08.jpgOne of the first observations made when CSUD began its work in Nairobi was the lack of available maps and GIS data on various urban characteristics. Many times, if the information was available, it was not for public dissemination and/or use. Our partners at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP) at the University of Nairobi had also faced similar obstacles when trying to access maps and GIS data. Interested in improving access to public information, CSUD hired the Spatial Information Design Lab (SIDL) at Columbia University to digitize plat maps of Nairobi and specifically focus on the land use, building density and road network for the area known as “Core Nairobi.” The result yielded detailed maps as well as a thorough database of these characteristics.

ROADS_10_10_08.jpgThe creation of digital maps depicting land use, density and road networks of Core Nairobi is one that has been central to CSUD’s commitment to information dissemination and empowerment at the local level. By mapping these areas and making the information public, CSUD hopes to add an important and effective tool to the dialogue between stakeholders. These maps expand the conversation into a more technical realm, providing increased access to information and powerful evidence to reinforce planning dialogues based on community needs. These maps will also serve as valuable centerpieces and powerful tools to the joint academic collaborations and efforts, guiding students as they research current trends in the urban environment.

With such important GIS maps, it is equally important to keep them updated. In 2010, CSUD worked with GIS specialists at DURP to update the original maps created by SIDL by performing ground-truthing exercises, which is the process of verifying the on-the-ground situation against what was previously mapped. This was a labor-intensive yet critical exercise that will ensure that the maps maintain their accuracy and relevance.

CSUD is truly thrilled to make these maps and GIS datasets available to the public. Both the 2005 and 2010 data sets are available for download on this wikispace for FREE. We hope you find this data useful! We are also eager to hear how people are using this data. Feel free to let us know by emailing us at, and thanks!

We would like to thank the Volvo Research and Educational Foundations for their generous support of the maps and research around it.