I want to use MAST! How do I get started?

MAST is a flexible participatory mapping approach that can be adapted to the local context. MAST can fill different land-related needs depending on a local context, and its uses can include boundary harmonization, resource inventory, land use planning, systematic land documentation, and land registration, if appropriate and necessary.

The General Steps of the MAST Approach

1: Analysis and assessment

In this step, implementers work to understand national, regional, district, and local contexts and engage stakeholders to develop a MAST implementation strategy that is appropriate for the given context.

Examples of MAST assessments include:

2: Mapping preparations

Implementers start by designing an implementation strategy that aligns with the priorities of the community and other stakeholders. They then determine the roles and responsibilities of the local government authorities, communities, private sector actors (if appropriate) and partners in executing that strategy. Implementers ensure that all technical and legal prerequisites are complete and train the institutions that will support MAST at the regional, district, or local levels (including training institutions on the technical requirements for using MAST for mapping, processing, and managing data). Examples of mapping preparations and trainings include:

Examples of mapping preparations include:

  • This MAST Deployment Guide from the LTS Activity, describing how to set up a MAST server and mobile application instance.
  • This Lessons Learned document contains lessons learned from practical implementation of the MAST approach, known as Community Value Land Chain (CaVaTeCo) in Mozambique.

3: Community mapping

Implementers lead community meetings to explain the land and resource boundary demarcation process and promote awareness about its benefits. Together with local stakeholders, they select and train members of the community to work as para-surveyors. The para-surveyors then conduct the mapping, typically by walking the resource or parcel boundaries with other community members and verifying boundaries, owner(s), ownership type, and other characteristics.

4: Validation and delivery of certified land records

A validation period allows the community to review, comment on, correct and, in some cases, contest community boundaries, land use boundaries and associated rules, parcel boundaries or household information. If the national or sub-national government is involved in the MAST process, and particularly if the MAST process will result in government-issued land documents, then the relevant government entity should verify that the information collected meets and complies with local and national standards, land laws, and regulations.
The implementer then works with community leaders and/or the local government to certify land records and distribute land documents if appropriate.

5: Sustainability

This phase is not sequential, but rather parallel to the other steps. Throughout the MAST process, implementers work to 1) (1) monitor and evaluate the MAST efforts, and (2) link MAST with programs and organizations that can provide additional technical services or related additive services and benefits. Aligning MAST implementation with local and national land laws, deploying it in tandem with other economic development incentives, and incorporating lessons learned from monitoring and evaluation can help both the immediate and long-term success of the implementation efforts.

Technologies that Past Partners Have used to Implement MAST

The MAST approach is flexible and can support and respond to land information needs by adapting a wide variety of database management systems, geospatial platforms, and mobile mapping tools. In the past, implementing partners have used a combination of open source and commercial solutions, such as PostgreSQL databases, Open Data Kit, custom open source mobile data collection, and applications for data workflow management, GIS analysis, and reporting. This MAST Github repository contains documentation related to various MAST customization efforts; please note that MAST must be adapted to the local context, and thus it is likely that an implementer will need to adapt the code below to fit local needs and requirements.