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Mission with the Geographic Resources for Development Center (GRDC) – Nigeria

Geographical Resources for Development Centre (GRDC) metadata clearing house node is now open to the public. The clearing house can be accessed by navigating through the GRDC website. The clearing house is open to public use by individuals and organisations who want to publish their metadata on Nigerian datasets. It is also a service that is advantageous to individuals, researchers and organisations of any size in publicising themselves as well as their datasets. It will also make the public aware of available datasets, contact information, services and capabilities of the clearing house users and avoid duplication of projects.


Figure 1 shows the homepage of the GRDC GeoNetwork powered clearinghouse. 

This service is offered without a charge to the public. Individuals and organisations can apply for an account by filling out the form available from the GRDC clearing house site. Training and support on metadata issues is also available for individuals or organisations. If interested please indicate this when applying for an account. The metadata clearing house project is the product of collaboration between GRDC and Geography Department of University of LagosNigeria. It is proudly supported by the GISCorps through the GSDI small grant award for 2010 and Geocat. If have any comments, suggestions or you will like more information about the project or how to get involved please send an email to Anthonia Ijeoma Onyeahialam-Okoro, the founder of GRDC at:

Figure 2 shows the page to request an account.

Project Background

The Geographical Resources for Development Centre (GRDC), a non profit organization in Nigeria, requested a volunteer to assist in setting up a metadata clearinghouse. This clearinghouse will house metadata related to projects and research occurring within Nigeria and, ultimately, other regions in Africa.

The mission of GRDC is to promote the effective use of mapping technologies in development related programs. They seek to support all organizations, in the effective use of mapping technologies in development related programs. Established officially in 2006, it works with local and international partners in capacity building efforts, coordination of data gathering, provides a spatial database of development required information (demographic & vulnerability indicators) in the mapping formats used to identify where poor people are and advocate for their needs. GRDC’s capacities support a range of development innovators in helping them plan and target assistance in communities where it is needed most. Their idea is that knowing where people are and what they need is the first step towards achieving the common search for solutions to the problems of vulnerable people.

Figure 3 shows the page where the metadata record can be uploaded.

It should be noted that this project was a result of a partnership between GISCorps and the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association (GSDI). The GRDC project supports the goal of GSDI “…to promote international cooperation and collaboration in support of local, national and international spatial data infrastructure developments that will allow nations to better address social, economic, and environmental issues of pressing importance.”


Figure 4 shows the page where the metadata can be uploaded in batch mode.

Alison Fischer, a GISCorps volunteer from British Columbia was recruited for this mission in January 2010. She recently completed and launched the clearing house website to the public. She enlisted the aid of a service provider, GeoCat, to host and maintain the clearinghouse and developed training materials to support the GRDC staff in the operation of the clearing house.


Figure 5 shows the aggregate results after a search is conducted.

Another example of aggregate results can be seen in here.

The GRDC clearing house allows the publication or search of metadata. It also reveals metadata quality rating that advises the public on what to expect from each dataset if requested. By publishing metadata, users can contact the data owners via contact information provided to make a data request.  The next phase of the project is aimed at sensitising and creating awareness to the public on the existence and use of the GRDC metadata clearinghouse.  Other tasks are additional customisations to validate Nigerian datasets and accommodate research data.

Latest Update

In order to accomplish the new tasks we recruited a second volunteer earlier in the year. Hassan Adekoya, a GIS professional from New York is now working with Alison Fischer, as well as with GRDC contact, Anthonia Onyeahialam-Okoro and the GeoCat team. Part of the training includes sourcing and testing ways of creating metadata independent of software being used by the public, test running metadata uploads, addressing validation errors that can occur in order to make GRDC more independent as well as providing technical advice on the collaboration efforts between GRDC and The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).

As it is an ongoing project, updates will be made periodically.

The project gave me a chance “…to gain experience in another area related to GIS, and also to see the obstacles that organizations in other countries face – and how they overcome them…” My advice is to “…try to be flexible with your hours and be understanding that other cultures may communicate differently even if they speak the same language…”

Alison Fischer, GISCorps Volunteer
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