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CPI June, 2024 = 31.93% Y/Y | GDP Growth 2023 = 5.7%....Level of GDP Rebased 56.4% in 2018 | Population (2021 Mid-Term Census) = 7,548,702 (Male = 3,727,747 (49%) Female = 3,820,955 (50.6%) | PPI 2022 - Q2 =20.33% Y/Y | PHC Projection 2022 (Medium Variant) = 8,494,260 | Population (National - 2015 Census) = 7,092,113


The division of Cartography and Geographic Information Systems (CGIS) was introduced into main stream Statistics Sierra Leone during the 2004 Population and Housing Census. During this time Stats SL had only three Divisions namely Economics Statistics, Data Processing and Censuses & Surveys. It was in the Censuses & Surveys Division that Cartography and GIS were housed.

It is however important to note here that the field of GIS was relatively new in Sierra Leone despite the tremendous role that the technology played in the implementation of the 2004 Population and Housing Census Project (PHC).

The most crucial aspect of census is the Cartographic/GIS field mapping exercise, because a good number of other planning exercises depend on it. GIS Technology was key to the success of the 2004 PHC. It was after the successful completion of the 2004 PHC that the need arose to split the Censuses and Surveys Division into two –: the Demographic and Social Statistics and Censuses & GIS divisions respectively.

The then CGIS division as it was formally known was charged with the responsibility of coordinating census and GIS related activities in the overall Stats SL setup. The division at that time had a core skeletal staff totaling seven including the Director and a secretary/data entry operator. Gradually the division started expanding both in terms of manpower and operations as it became the hob of the institution through the provision of technical support to other departments within the office and providing GIS related services to the wider community.

This situation continued throughout the years leading to the planning and implementing phase of the 2015 Population and Housing Census wherein the census operations was directed from this department.  The situation changed again shortly after the completion of the 2015 Census field work when the census component of the division was transferred to the Demographic and Social Statistics Division (DSSD) and the division came to be known as the Cartographic and GIS division (CGIS).

Divisional setup

The division falls under three main sections namely: Cartography, Geographic Information System (GIS) and Environmental Statistics. Each section is charged with its specific task. It is worth noting that all these three sections operate within the GIS framework and they are interdependent and functions more or less as a single entity within the wider Stats SL context. The sections and their responsibilities are as follows:


Geographic information system (GIS) is a computer-based information system that enables capture, modeling, manipulation, retrieval, analysis and presentation of geographically referenced data. They are basically database management systems that allow the concurrent analysis of information from diverse sources, as long as they have geographic location coordinates. They also permit the analysis of spatial association between different dimensions. They allow the concurrent analysis of variables, which are observed at different levels such as infrastructure (hospitals, major roads, colleges, primary schools or health posts).


  • Production of digital maps

The introduction of spatial/automated maps in decennial censuses and sample surveys at Stats SL started during the 2004 PHC.  For the first time in the history of censuses, digital maps were used for enumeration for both the 2004 and 2015 PHC. Since then, the division has taken ownership by reproducing spatial maps for inter-censal surveys and researches.  With support from both government and donor partners, the division benefited from capacity building and support to the GIS lab with state of the earth GIS equipments ranging from large scale plotters to enhanced image adapted computers and Geographic Positioning Systems (GPS) machines.  As a result, smart maps of different scales have been produced for different activities.  Spatial analyses of various phenomena have also been undertaken with best results.

The division normally collaborates with other ministries, departments and agencies in their respective day to day activities that require GIS expertise. The division has in the past assisted the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in their capacity building drive in GIS. A couple of health personnel were trained and an elaborate mapping of different categories of health facilities was undertaken and subsequent spatial analysis was done. Similar capacity building venture was undertaken in the Ministry of Education Science and Technology etc.

The collaboration between National Election Commission (NEC) in the delimitation of constituencies and wards since 2006 to date. Another example is the collaboration between the Ministries of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs, the Office of National Security and Environmental Protection Agencies in the discharge of some of their activities. Also help in the capacity building of non GIS personnel both within and without Stats SL.

  • Provision of GIS services to the general populace: Apart from MDAs and NGOs, the public at large are always knocking at the door of the CGIS division for various services such as maps and other GIS data that they need for their own personal use. These include students from educational institutions requesting maps for their study areas as a requirement for their dissertations. The redistricting and de-amalgamation process has generated so many interest from the general public including politicians, Civil Society Groups, local authorities and Private institutions that has resulted in immense pressure on the division to provide the required datasets.

Capacity Building

  • GIS is still relatively new in this country and the need for the expertise is growing daily as most institutions have come to embrace its use in their day to day activities as can be seen in the explanation above relating to the collaboration between Stats SL and MDAs. As a result, capacity building remains a focus for the division where-in programs are designed to help build the capacity of our own staff and staff of other institutions based on the emerging themes in the field of GIS as it relates to the day to day operations.


Cartography is the art and science of geographically representing a geographical area, usually on a flat surface such as a map or chat. It may involve the super imposition of political, cultural or other non-geographical divisions onto the representation of a geographical area.


  • Updating of the EA frame: The national frame used in the sampling process for all surveys/research in the office is housed in the CGIS division as a classified document. However, this frame is created as a result of each census conducted and since censuses are conducted once every ten years (decennial). The frame is updated from time to time so as to avoid getting outdated. The updating of this EA frame forms part of the routine activities of the division.
  • The main exercise is to re-define the boundaries of the EA; in the urban areas it involves quick household counts and updating social facilities (Markets, Schools, Health facilities etc.) which also serve as reference points around the EA boundary.  For rural EAs the update is usually about localities.  The challenge is mainly in the urban areas with rapid population and peripheral growth.
  • Census cartographic mapping: Census mapping supports enumerators and supervisors to carry out their specific assignments that include identification of enumeration areas, location of households, agricultural holdings, establishments and demarcation of supervisory areas on the basis of size, population and manageable distances.
  • Census mapping assists in eliminating omission and duplication of information; ensuring that data are allocated to the proper administrative units; determining the number and distribution of census personnel; and comparing data from other censuses or surveys. Maps are needed during all stages of a census or survey. They are required in the planning stages, data collection and analysis and presentation of the results. 
  • This process involves conducting quick counts of households in localities and demarcating localities, parts of localities or a combination of localities as EAs depending on the number of households as prescribed by the census/survey methodology.
  • Listing and segmentation: The Cartographic section in the CGIS division plays a crucial role in the implementation of every survey conducted by the office irrespective of whichever division is coordinating that survey. Most surveys/research require listing of households before the commencement of main data collection. Segmentation of Enumeration Areas (EAs) exceeding the normal 80-120 households is required if enumerators should be given equal work loads.
  • Compiling and analyzing geographic data and mixing it into publishable maps.

Capacity Building

For the listing and segmentation processes to commence, the personnel recruited for the exercise must be trained – A training normally spearheaded by the CGIS division. In addition to the training of these personnel, each selected EA should have a map showing the enumerator or lister the location and description of that EA without which the personnel would not be able to know his or her assigned place of work. The provision and effective use of those maps is the sole responsibility of the CGIS division.


The Increasing population growth, booming economy, rapid urbanization and the rise in community living standards have greatly accelerated the need for Environmental Statistics. In the last years, a large number of research studies have been undertaken to determine influential factors affecting waste management systems in the country. Organization/institutions, usually responsible for waste management (Waste from Mining and quarrying, Manufacturing, Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply, Households, Hazardous) have the challenge to provide an effective and efficient system to the inhabitants. However, they are often faced with problems beyond the ability of the authorities to handle mainly due to lack of required data, organization, financial resources, complexity and system multi dimensionality.


The Environmental Statistics Section of the CGIS Division is relatively new and is charged with the responsibility of data collection relating to the following areas:

  • Waste from Mining and quarrying
  • Waste and water from Manufacturing
  • Waste from Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
  • Waste and water from Households
  • Waste from Hazardous
  • Municipal waste managed in the country

Capacity Building

Since this is a new Section in the CGIS Division, knowledge on Environmental Statistics is limited and therefore there is a need for capacity building to meet the challenges related to the job.


Due to the decentralized nature of the country, Stats SL also is a decentralized institution with offices and staff in all the Districts.  The functions of GIS, Cartography and Environmental Statistics staff in these Districts are more or less the same as those described above. However, these staff mainly deals with local councils and district staff of devolved ministries to carry out their day-to-day activities that require GIS, Cartography and Environmental Statistics expertise.

In addition to working with local councils and devolved ministry staff based in the districts, including NGOs operating in the districts, these staff are charged with the responsibility of daily fieldwork of map updating, facility mapping and helping to build the capacity of colleague Stats SL staff from other divisions and other institutions under the supportive supervision of a senior staff of the division from headquarters (HQ).


As explained earlier in the introduction, the division started with a few core staff but has expanded over the years due to the exigencies of its mandate and operational needs. Ideally, the following categories of staff should exist in the division: Director; Deputy Director; Principal Statisticians; Senior GIS Officers, GIS officers, Assistant GIS officers and GIS Assistants.



  • Provides technical advice on statistical and methodological issues to Deputy Directors and Principal Statisticians; authoring sections of technical reports, methodology reports, and other documentary deliverables.
  • Designing experiments and other statistical/methodological research for data collection efforts; analyzing data collected, methodological components of ongoing studies; conducting substantive analysis under direction of the Statistician General; performing confidentiality analyses in accordance with client standards; consulting on questionnaire design.
  • Frequently organizing and conducting cognitive interviews to inform design decisions; being responsible for day-to-day activities on a task or project component, including supervising staff in design and implementation/production activities, projecting resource needs, monitoring task budget and schedule, resolving technical and management problems, monitoring the achieved sample, preparing or reviewing deliverables, and communicating with the client and subcontractor(s).


  • Serving as an internal consultant on survey design issues, as requested by the Director, authoring various sections of the technical proposals, present research papers at professional conferences, and submit articles for publication and journals and any other task assigned to him/her by the Director.
  • Delegate and monitor tasks assigned to Principal Statisticians etc


  • Develop and maintain databases, reports, and mapping
  • Create, organize, manipulate, and retrieve GIS data for reporting, analysis, and presentation purposes
  • Perform quality assurance of GIS data and associated graphic components
  • Use concepts, practices and procedures to extract and provide GIS data to clients
  • Produce maps, reports and databases to communicate the results of environmental hazards analyses to industry professionals, public officials and the general public.
  • Develop and support web GIS applications using Esri Web App Builder, Story Maps and Collector within ArcGIS Online platform.


  • Independently conduct spatial analyses and exhibit production using ArcGIS software
  • Work with project teams and clients to design and effectively employ GIS/Cartographic /Environment Statistics on regulatory and permitting elements of infrastructure projects
  • Develop geodatabase schemas and analysis methods needed to support project goals
  • Use vector and raster spatial analysis models using ModelBuilder, Python or other GIS scripting languages to automate repetitive tasks.
  • Communicate and collaborate with remote team members and individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, both technical and non-technical


  • Create maps, databases and other deliverables on short notice
  • Perform other duties as needed
  • Conduct and document project research
  • Develop, maintain and update data layers and databases
  • Analyze data and present results using Excel and GIS to support a variety of concepts.
  • Prepare maps in ArcGIS under the direction of a  snr GIS/Cartographic /Environmental Statistics Officer
  • Write and format draft technical memos and reports.
  • Support administrative tasks such as invoicing, project management and document control.
  • Represents the Division in an appropriate manner at all times. Demonstrates sound judgement and decision making when interacting with clients.
  • Performs specialized tasks as required, in the area of expertise, with minimal supervision and within acceptable time frames, and at highest quality level.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned.


  • Primary duties typically include data compilation, standardization, and management; geographic data mapping; spatial analysis, cartographic product creation; and project reporting assistance. 
  • Operate computer equipment to digitize line and point data and generate geographic information system (GIS) maps.
  • Works from rough drawings, sketches, GIS data files and verbal instructions; and prepares intricate, detailed, small scale location exhibits on finished maps.
  • Completes and updates metadata records for geospatial data sets. Collects geospatial and resource data using manual and technology assisted methods including GPS and mobile computing technology.
  • Updates geospatial data sets for multiple disciplines
  • Uses GIS software and cartographic tools to create simple thematic and reference maps following appropriate standards for symbology, color, labeling etc.
  • Preparation of environmental and social assessments, environmental impact statements and other projects supporting natural resource management decision making. Produces simple maps and graphics for many varied forest resource programs, planning documents, and a variety of other requirements. 


  • Assist in gathering, analysing, and integrating spatial data and to determine how best the information can be displayed using GIS;
  • Undertake routine spatial data collection to update the sampling frame
  • Support research and survey data collection through pre-listing of households and segmentation of EAs where necessary;
  • Support the preparation of reports and other documents (e.g., monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual) to be submitted by the Director to Management.
  • Assist in facilitating periodic project implementation, assessment and planning (Quarterly, Mid-Year and Year-End);
  • Support training programs organised by the division;
  • Carry out any other assignment as instructed by the Director or any Senior member of the division

Currently, the division is comprised of a Director, three senior GIS Officers, two GIS officers and other middle and junior level staff.  It has a complement of 54 (fifty four) Personnel both at headquarters and the districts.  The staff cadre is based on their qualifications and experience in the office and specifically in the division.

The division is headed by the Director who is in charge of the day to day administration of the affairs of the division including directing its operations across the country.

The Director is supported by heads of sections that play supervisory roles and support the other staff down the cadre.


The CGIS division at Stats SL has tremendous success stories, due to the capacity it has both in human resources and equipment.  The success stories of this division start with the successful conduct of the 2004 and the 2015 PHC respectively. In addition to the two censuses mentioned above, the division has been able to meet all its core responsibilities in providing quality, timely and reliable GIS services to both MDAs and the general public. Below is a list of some success stories worth noting among others:

  • Collaborated with NEC in the delimitation of wards and constituencies for the 2008 local government elections and the 2012 Presidential, parliamentary and Local Councils elections.
  • Just concluded similar activities with NEC for the March 7th 2018 Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Councils Elections.
  • Collaborated with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in the redistricting and the De amalgamation process just concluded where two new Districts and forty-one new chiefdoms were created.
  • Provided GIS support to the successful conduct of the 2008 and 2013 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS).
  • Supported the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) rounds four and six respectively.
  • Have together a comprehensive database for all educational and health facilities nationwide.
  • An up to date National EA frame (Sample Frame) used for all sampling processes for the conduct of national surveys.


The division has a lot of products that are made available to MDAs and the general public; some for free and some for a fee which is basically on a cost recovery basis.  Some of the products include the following:

  • The new Map of Sierra Leone showing Regions, Districts, Chiefdoms and sections (these can be in A0, A1, A3, A4 and customized sizes).
  • Shape files for a wide range of GIS data
  • Database for all educational facilities country wide
  • Database for all health facilities country wide
  • Database for all localities, major roads rivers and social amenities.
  • Census and other household survey datasets.

Director Brima                   Abdulai S.  Brima

Director, Censuses and Geographic Information Systems

  Related Information

+  Divisional Organogram
Divisional Staff