‘GeoSlum’-Empowering Local Authorities for Slum Improvement Through an Opensource Geospatial Platform

Ravi Chopra, Sivakumar D.K, Rajat Chopra |  June 2016


Urbanisation has emerged as a key policy and governance challenge in India in recent years. Cities and towns contribute to more than 60 per cent of the GDP. While urbanisation can be an engine of economic development and inclusion, unless managed properly, it can create serious socio-economic consequences which would potentially negate the benefits of urbanisation.
Slums are a clear manifestation of a poorly planned and managed urban sector. In 2001, the slum population in India was 52.3 million, and increased to 65.4 million in 2011, which is a 25 per cent increase. 38 per cent of the slum population is located in large cities. Also in the identified 100 Indian smart cities the total slum population contributes to around 23.8 per cent of the total population.
The quality of planning and decision making for slum improvement by government authorities can be substantially improved by using well managed spatial and socio-economic information of the slums.
The Geospatial Lab at Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), has developed a WebGIS platform, in an attempt to create an innovative system for managing, analysing and publishing cities’ slum information (both spatial and non-spatial). It aims to provide spatial insights on basic infrastructure, other services and facilities, and the environmental condition of slums. This empowers local Government authorities in planning and executing slum improvement plans.
Developed using open-source technology, this platform has been intuitively designed with an emphasis on ease-of-use, for government officers and representatives from slum communities, without having to depend on GIS experts. A simple interface allows users to update the stored information and create new spatial data. No prior knowledge of geospatial technology is required to use this platform.