Double or nothing: is redundancy of spatial data a burden or a need in the public sector of Uganda

Walter T. de Vries, Beatrice Winnie Nyemera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction. It is believed that data collections in the public sector should be collected once, and used multiple times: redundancy is considered inefficient. A contrasting view is that redundancy provides a reserve, which is crucial to maintain organizational knowledge in the system, and enhancement of system quality. We examined the validity of these views in Uganda.

Method. Data collection involved in-depth interviews and focus groups and used three analytical concepts: systems improvement, organizational enhancement and development.

Results. Of the fifty-five organizations surveyed, at least twenty-three maintained a dataset of spatial administrative boundaries. Although often acquired from the same agency, data users rely on subsequent versions of these data sets which are redundant in content yet differ in accuracy, purpose and discretion.

Analysis. We find that the dominant perceived reasons for redundancy are the possibility to increase data quality and access, the potential for back-up, and ability to compare and check data.

Conclusions. We conclude that redundancy is vital for the development of the public management for Uganda. It allows the public sector to maintain a minimum store of information necessary for public sector activities, thus, redundancy should not be addressed only from a purely information technological perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalInformation research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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