Big Data in Land Records Management in Kenya: A Fit and Viability Analysis

  • Tom Kwanya
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 185)


Big data is data whose size is beyond the ability of commonly used software tools to capture, manage, and process within tolerable time. The concept of big data has been necessitated by the growing capacity of the available information systems to facilitate the capture, processing, storage and use of large volumes of variable but credible data fast enough to generate optimum value for the users.

Land records in Kenya have been over the years managed through paper-based systems which are vulnerable to loss, wear and tear, compromise and poor usability. Consequently, land administration processes became inefficient, time consuming, unreliable, costly and ineffective. To address these challenges, the Government of Kenya in 2007 resolved to automate all land records and transactions by developing and deploying a land information management system founded on big data technology which is capable of holding vast and diverse data sets on land ownership and transactions. The decision to automate land records and transactions was in compliance with the provisions of the country’s National Land Policy launched in 2009. This study assessed how well the technology used by the new electronic system fits the needs and contexts of the users of land records in Kenya.

The study was conducted as an exploratory research based on the fit-viability theory. Data for the study was collected using interviews with 48 users of the new land information management system. The findings revealed that big data has a high fit and viability for the performance of land records and transactions management in Kenya. In spite of the high fit and viability, it was noted that the viability of the system is hampered by inadequate infrastructure, skills, organisational culture and organisational structure. Addressing these challenges through essential infrastructure development, institutional strengthening and capacity building will enhance the viability of the land records management system. The findings of this study may be used by policy makers in other developing countries to model big data projects. The findings may also be used by the managers of big data projects to enhance their fit and viability so as to yield optimum impact for their stakeholders.


Big data Kenya Land records National land management information system NLMIS Apophenia 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Information Studies ProgrammeUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalPietermaritzburgSouth Africa

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