Technology and Land Administration: developments and innovations.
Paul van der Molen
The Netherlands Cadastre,
Land Registry and Mapping Agency
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.
Consequently the strength of the model also lies in its explicit indication of the need for changes in strategy (which consequently refers to both the objectives specified for the organisation and for the ICT market-place) to be accompanied by changes at an operational level.
3. DEVELOPMENTS AND INNOVATIONS IN TECHNOLOGY.
3.1 Data Acquisition
Earth Observation Satellites, as the Landsat 5 and 7, SPOT, Ikonos, SPOT 5, Radarsat-1, Quickbird provide geo-referenced high resolution images used in mapping, city planning, GIS updating, agriculture, land use monitoring and in land administration.
New approaches should be investigated in relation to LiDAR (Airborne Laser Altimetry). Those systems, operating from an aircraft or helicopter, are multi-sensor systems consisting of a reflectorless laser range system and a positioning system. Combination of the results with tape measurements (street level) and GPS (inner side of the street blocks) could result in cadastral maps produced in an efficient way.
At data collection side, modern technology can be integrated with positioning systems. (Barodie 2004) recognises that effective upgrading of informal settlements requires accurate and up to date social and spatial information. (Home & Jackson 1997) use a point position (collected with hand held GPS) to relate the property identifier number, land cover, crop type, soil condition, and number of structures, etc. (Montoya 2002) combines digital video, GPS and GIS as a rapid ground data capture methodology from a car. Compare the use of the Cyclomedia system in some European cities or the use of video camera's for mapping from planes.
Technologies for 3D Lasermapping (Terrestrial Laser Scanning) for capturing from ground stations objects as 3D point clouds are rapidly evolving. Here are relations to developments of 3D Cadastres (Stoter 2004).
In 2010 the Galileo system (EU/ESA 2003) will be really available and will bring a second revolution in positioning. The GPSs problems in urban areas will be solved. Everything will be easier. Systems will be better integrated. The double number of satellites compared to GPS results in improved efficiency and location based services will get an enormous push. This development disserves much more attention in the cadastral (research) community.
Both theoretical and practical developments in ICT in general, and specifically the ubiquitous communication (Internet), Data Base Management Systems (DBMS) and modelling improvements, and positioning systems can improve the quality, cost effectiveness, performance and maintainability of cadastral systems. Further, the users and the industry accept the standardisation efforts in the spatial area by the OpenGIS Consortium and the International Standards Organisation (e.g. the ISO T211). This has resulted in the introduction of new (versions of) general ICT tools with spatial capabilities; e.g. eXtensible Mark-up Language/ Geography Mark-up Language (XML/GML), Java (with geo-libraries), Unified Modelling Language (UML), object/relational Geo-DBMSs.
The Open Geo-SpatialConsortium succeeded in the development and provision of a comprehensive set of OpenGIS standards related to spatial data management adopted by the GIS and database industries. All those standards support interoperability, data access to warehouses and easy data exchange. This creates new perspectives in both the development of new cadastral systems and in the improvement of or extension to existing cadastral systems. At the moment, the first Internet-GIS applications are already operational in a cadastral context.
3.3 Open Source Products
PostgreSQL is advanced Open Source database software with sophisticated spatial functionality, including 3D, history tracking and spatial clustering.The MySQL database server is a popular open source database and includes spatial functionality. Over five million installations use MySQL to power high-volume Web sites and other critical business systems. Apart from Open Source databases GIS and platforms as Linux are available, indexes of Open Source / Free GIS related software projects are published on the web, with references to OSRS , FreeGIS.org, Metalab Linux Archive, and Fresh Meat.net. and webmapping with Scalable Vector Graphics.
3.4 Software for Land Administration
In order to increase efficiency in handling all kinds of spatial data Sweden’s Lantmäteriet has developed ArcCadastre together with ESRI. ArcCadastre is a tool especially adapted for cadastral and mapping activities with different kinds of spatial management in different situations around the world. It’s a unique solution that extends mapping functionality with survey and cadastral functionality.
Also companies as Caris, Intergraph, and Bentey provide software for cadastral applications.
3.5 3D modeling
The number of tunnels, cables and pipelines (water, electricity, sewage, and telephone), underground parking places, shopping malls, and other cases of multi floor buildings have grown considerably the last 40 years. A relevant question therefore is if traditional cadastral registration, which is based on the 2D parcel concept, is capable to register all situations that occur in today’s world. Although a 3D approach of a cadastre is very new, a number of countries already solved (the legal part of) the problem of 3D cadastral registration (Stoter 2004).
3.6 Standardisation of the Cadastral Domain
Standardisation of the Cadastral Domains relevant because computerised cadastral systems can support a customer and market driven organisation with changing demands and requirements. Customers want to have an efficient on line information service that links to the data base(s) of cadastral organisations (van Oosterom et al 2004). The application software to support cadastral processes is extending continuously in many countries because of changing requirements. In the future the volume of cross border information exchanges are expected to increase, particularly within the European Union. The more remote that the data user is from the data source, the more important it becomes to ensure that the data are well defined – for the obvious reason that remote users are likely to have much reduced local knowledge to assist them in interpretation.
Technically, digital land-information products offer considerably more possibilities for perfect reproduction and fast, inexpensive and easy distribution. Variation in the product range is possible in many ways. Customers want to be served in a professional way, user-friendly tools, information that is timely, up-to-date, reliable, complete, accurate, relevant, if necessary customised, well-integrated with other relevant data sets of other suppliers, good value for money and systems that are compatible with the customer’s working procedures.
Customers want one-stop-shopping (integrated service delivery). Electronic conveyancing techniques such as electronic signatures, encryption, hash values, measures against bit-loss, are applied increasingly. Workflow management techniques will become applicable, which will have a positive impact on the management of daily fluctuating supply and demand, because an allocation of the workload is possible at the location where the work force is available that very moment.
5. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS
Land Administration is not an end in itself; it serves society, whether it is poverty reduction, pro poor land management or 3D legal volumes and their registration. From that point of view all land administration organisations face similar challenges. Land administration should be less bureaucratic, simple, cheaper and more transparent according to many global reports. The World Bank, an important funder of Land Administration in many countries, and other international organisations see low cost approaches sometimes as in conflict with ICT. We feel that there might be a need to redefine the role and importance of technology in realising the worlds’ objectives. Most probably low cost approaches require high technology. One further consideration is the awareness of land administrators regarding strategic management. Many leaders of land administration organisation are kept away from strategic issues and are too busy with daily problems they experience in service delivery. However, leadership is necessary to develop the future, in accordance with clearly set requirements by their governments.
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