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Thika, Kiambu and Machakos to get a physical address system soon.

Kiambu County Director of Land Survey and Geo Informatics Zaverico Kinyua Gitonga (centre) responding to questions from the press after a stakeholders engagement workshop at a Thika hotel.
Kiambu, Thika and Machakos towns are in the process of implementing a physical address system that will make it possible for anyone to very easily identify the location of a plot or dwelling on the ground.

The system will entail ‘assigning an address’ using a system of maps and signs that will give the numbers or names of streets and buildings, making the towns more ‘user-friendly’ and enable people to get around the city more easily.

This emerged from a stakeholder’s engagement workshop at a Thika hotel facilitated by both the national and county governments.

Speaking at the workshop, Kiambu County Director of Land Survey and Geo Informatics Zaverico Kinyua Gitonga acknowledged the fact that the demographic explosion of people into urban settlement had presented challenges in the identification of locations because more than 50% of the towns’ streets had no names or addresses.

“Houses need a distinctive marker that is easily recognisable through a system which defines their address. This can be done using the street number of the house on the street and the city or town it is in,” explained Kinyua.

He reckoned that at the moment there existed no system of street coordinates or baseline information to help one find their way around a constantly growing town.

“How do you dispatch ambulances, firemen, and law enforcement personnel quickly? How do you locate urban facilities and infrastructure? How do you pinpoint breakdowns in water, electricity and telephone systems? As we talk now, it is very hard for emergency service providers to respond to distress calls in some areas due to lack of a distinct identification system,” he said.

Kinyua added that the system provided an opportunity to create a map of these towns that can be used by different service departments and conduct a systematic survey that collects a significant amount of information about the city and its population. Such information, he said, would make it easily locatable.

“This database, which can take the form of a GIS (Geographical Information System) is the major innovation of street addressing initiatives, particularly in countries with rapidly growing urban areas where devolved governments have lost control of the urbanisation process,” he explained.

Reacting to this new development, Thika District Business Association (TDBA) Chairman Alfred Wanyoike welcomed the initiative which he said will go a long way in boosting business. He called upon the government to hasten its implementation.

“This system will enhance easier location of business premises and ease the movement of people. This will translate to more business as potential customers can locate you from anywhere in the world,” said Wanyoike.

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