Land Administration (defined by the UN/ECE as the process of determining, recording and disseminating information about ownership, value and use of land, when implementing land management policies) (UN 1996) includes processes of land registration, cadastre, valuation and land inventory. Every country in the world pursues these activities in one form or another (UN 2001).
Developing countries are challenged by pro poor land management and administration (UN 2004), and aim at enhancing the services of the authorities as soon as possible. These countries are worried how to organise the provision of relevant land information as support of their governance. Traditional approaches to land administration result in design and implementation projects that take a long time, even such that land laws are adapted in order to provide for more simple procedures (Oput 2004) Unconventional approaches are urgently needed, both from a conceptual and technological point of view. In particular technology is a major facilitating factor for speeding up processes, as was shown in the mass valuation for land taxation in the whole Russian Federation in 4 years, heavily supported by IT (Overchuk 2002).
Countries in a further stage of development enjoyed benefits of IT-application at an earlier stage. Many of them now face the renewal of their IT architecture because their existing information systems cannot cope with evolving customer demands and IT opportunities (FIG 2003)
2. DEVELOPING A LAND ADMINISTRATION ORGANISATION
A common characteristic of land administration organisations is the great deal of effort they devote to the determination, registration and dissemination of information pertaining to the ownership, value and use of land. This involves a large amount of data that are subject to many changes, need to be kept up to date, and must be accessible for consultation. Consequently these operations constitute a highly transactional environment. The efficient and effective performance of these duties is possible only with the support of information technology. However what is the appropriate approach to the organisation’s objectives in relationship with the opportunities offered by ICT? MIT’s ‘strategic alignment model’ (Henderson et al 1992) is of use in deciding the approach to be adopted (fig. 1):
Fig. 1. Strategic Alignment Model
The strength of this model lies in its ability to establish a relationship between the strategic and operational aspects of the organisation’s objectives and its ICT policy.
It reveals that in contrast to the past – when the organisation’s objectives were specified prior to the selection of the requisite technology that would provide for the achievement of those objectives – nowadays developments in technology in part determine the nature of the organisation's objectives. An objective stipulating the rapid supply of land information to customers could not be specified in the absence of internet technology which renders this objective feasible. An objective stipulating the daily maintenance of up-to-date information databases can be accepted only when it is known that this is possible with today’s database technology. It would be impossible to specify an objective stipulating the rapid and on-line delivery of notarial deeds and title documents if it were not known that use can be made of developments in the field of digital signatures and the associated security measures. In other words, the formulation of the organisation’s objectives is a shared duty of the general managers and the ICT managers – or, more precisely, of those managers in the possession of a sufficient insight into and management of both issues, i.e. what are referred to as geo-information managers.