History of Development

In the beginning, STDM is just known as a concept following the GLTN’s promotion of the continuum of land rights and the emphasis that the conventional land administration approach cannot support the continuum of land rights approach and will not deliver security of tenure at scale. The discussion then is that there is a huge ‘technical’ gap in the process. And there is a need for an alternative technical approach or tool to bridge this technical gap. Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) and its underlying concepts were then identified. The need to further document its concepts and to transform the concept into a practical and functional information tool has been identified by GLTN partners.

STDM Prototype – Version 0.6.10

In 2008, UN-Habitat/GLTN partnered with the International Institute for Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) (now the University of Twente) to develop the STDM design elements (user, technical and functional designs) and a ‘prototype’. FIG and its selected land professionals conducted a peer-review on the draft designs and technical documentation and provided its findings and recommendations to ITC-Netherlands and UN-Habitat/GLTN. The STDM prototype was based on a client/server architecture that had been developed using free and open source software, where all the data was stored in an integrated spatial database (using PostgreSQL and PostGIS) and required Apache Tomcat on the server side, whereas the client was a user interface based on ILWIS functionality/libraries.

The prototype testing was carried out in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia in August 2009. After the first cycle of prototype development, the system was further revised to a far more stable version. In April 2010, the STDM prototype together with the documentation – user, administration and user manuals, was launched in April 2010 during the FIG Congress in Sydney. Other improvements were carried and the final product or version was delivered to UN-Habitat in September 2010.

STDM Intermediate – Version 0.8

In late 2010, minor changes were made in order to simplify the installation process as well as support a wider range of GIS data viewers which could be used to access and visualize the data in the PostgreSQL/PostGIS database. The installation enhancements included scripts that automatically restored the STDM template database in PostgreSQL/PostGIS during the overall installation of the server tools.

In the subsequent months, a decision was made to replace ILWIS with Quantum GIS software to provide the core GIS functionalities. This entailed rewriting the primary keys for spatial tables from GUID-based to integer-based, and creating the data management modules in QGIS where the STDM system was deployed as a QGIS plugin written in the Python programming language.
In this version, changes were made in order to improve the installation process and make it more user-friendly by incorporating a one-click install script which combined the installation of PostgreSQL, PostGIS, QGIS and restoring the STDM template database.
This version of the STDM tool was based on PostgreSQL 8.4, PostGIS 1.4 and QGIS 1.4, and the final copy was released in early 2011.

STDM Pilot – Version 0.9

This version was released in July 2012 and its development focused on addressing land information requirements of the urban poor in the context of participatory enumeration and in undertaking settlement upgrading initiatives. It incorporated major updates on reporting and analysis tools as well as minor enhancements in the data management modules and the one-click installer. The updates included the following:

  • A data import and export module which enables the direct import and export of both spatial and textual data into the STDM database with customizable column-matching options of source and destination data repositories
  • A flexible report generation tool built on top of ReportLab reporting library
  • A charting facility for building high quality charts and plots built using the Matplotlib library
  • A customized map composer tool that links data from related tables and includes support for embedding images stored as binary objects in the STDM PostgreSQL/PostGIS database. This has been used to generate customized certificate of ownership reports

This version was piloted in Mbale municipality (Uganda), where UN-Habitat partnered with Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and its national networks and the Uganda’s Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development (MoLHUD). The pilot enabled the new version of STDM to be tested with the primary data collection process and in real situation. It also enabled to integrate STDM in participatory enumeration tool – another GLTN tool.
During the pilot implementation (learning by doing approach) further updates and minor revisions have been carried out in the version like improving the report generation module to enable the use of custom report layouts, updating the STDM database creation sub-installer, enhancing performance and fixing identified bugs.

Updated STDM Pilot – Version 0.9.5

This version has some revisions and updates made as the result of the pilot experience. The updated pilot version was released in March 2013. The updates/revisions included the following:

  • Support for settlement profiling exercise in addition to the household enumeration process.
  • Incorporation of a configuration wizard that enables users to customize application settings such as lookup values (for dropdown menus), project area and settlement information.
  • In summary, this current version of the STDM tool is capable of importing, storing, exporting, reporting and analyzing tenure-related data and other data sets through a consistent and uniform workflow. Its main features are as follows:
  • It supports the import and export textual and spatial vector data into/from PostgreSQL/PostGIS database using the GDAL/OGR library.
  • Modular arrangement of tenure-related entities such as persons, household, source documents, social tenure relationship.
  • It supports uploading of any file format referenced as a source or supporting documents, e.g. photos, scanned documents, maps, audio and video.
  • It incorporates advanced entity search capabilities.
  • Introduction of a hierarchical archiving of source/supporting documents in workspaces and folders.
  • It supports transferable workspace between projects.
  • It contains advanced report generation capabilities using the Report Builder module.
  • It has a flexible plotting facility for generating charts using the Matplotlib Python library.
  • It supports certificate generation using a custom map composer module.
  • It can generate summary statistics of the STDM data entities.
  • It incorporates a one-click installer for installing all the prerequisite components.

This version was submitted to FIG for peer review and technical assessment. .