IMPLEMENTING A REAL ESTATE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM USING OPEN SOURCE GIS SOFTWARE
Keywords:Real estate, management, open source, GIS
Developing real estate in Kenya today has become a profitable business that is growing day by day. Many Kenyans living in towns and cities buy, build or rent a house. The aim of this project is to create a GIS system that can be used as a tool for those people who want to buy, sell or let their home in a fast, cheap and convenient way. By just looking at the GIS based site on the Internet, the interested buyer already gets most of the information without having to leave home or work. A topographic map of the area is acquired and then georeferenced to provide the background on which the parcels of land (plots) are displayed. Major roads and other important features and institutions in the area are captured and displayed alongside the plots and houses. The system is then put on the internet using Mapguide open source and then tested using Mozilla Firefox web browser.The research creates an online GIS system that allows users to search for land parcels (plots) for sale and houses to rent in Kasarani area. Users can run searches that suit their needs, e.g. search for a plot costing 500,000 Kenya shillings or a house costing 10,000 Kenya shillings per month in the area.All the land parcels satisfying this search criterion will be displayed for the user to select one that satisfies their needs. Conditional searches providing a range of results can also be performed e.g. one bedroom houses costing less than KSH10, 000 in the area. All houses satisfying the criteria will be displayed for the user to select one that satisfies their needs and then zoom into the area surrounding that house. This allows for closer analysis of the desired features. Spatial queries such as buffering, distance and area measuring can also be performed by the user.The system produced can be used by the realtor and the developers to help display choices available and easily make decisions using the map before making the physical visits on the ground. The use of open source software makes the system available to Kenyans realtors who may not afford expensive proprietary software based systems.