Is Technology a Blessing or a Curse

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Is technology a blessing or a curse in land administration?
Prof. Peter Dale. University College London. Email: pdale@ge.ucl.ac.uk Presented at the UN-FIG Conference on Land Tenure and Cadastral Infrastructure for Sustainable Development, Melbourne, Australia 25-27 October 1999 ABSTRACT This paper looks at the use of technology in the acquisition, storage, processing, and communication of cadastral data. If cadastral systems are to service the broader interests of society and support sustainable development then it will be important to address the core issues of the information society, including the protection of intellectual property rights and the privacy of the individual. Computerisation is not only changing how cadastral systems operate but also how and by whom the data are used. The most significant development will however be in the ways that value is added to the data through new forms of analysis. Key Words and phrases: Automation, Cadastral Surveys, Computerisation, Data Analysis, Electronic Commerce, Privacy, Tenure, Use and Value.

1. Introduction Anyone who has visited an old Deeds Registry with its piles of paper and bundles of files often tied with pink ribbon will have realised that there must be a better way to record land transfers. Often described as ‘mausoleums of parchment’, the old deeds registration systems were both inefficient and, from a land management perspective, ineffective. They contained much data but little information. The computerisation of such records is leading to major changes in our understanding of land markets - but only slowly. Furthermore the use of information technology (IT) is creating a number of problems that did not arise in the olden days. This paper reviews some of the issues surrounding the use of IT, from data capture through data storage, retrieval, analysis and display to the general use of land related information. The most time consuming and expensive task in building a modern land administration system is the collection of new data and the conversion of old records into digital form. In an estimate of the time and cost of the current land reform programmes in east and central Europe where cadastral mapping is being updated, a recent study (ACE, 1998) has suggested that for a medium-sized central European country with a population of 10 million people, an area of 100,000 sq. km. and around 75,000 cadastral maps, there would be:

High Medium accuracy accuracy cadastral cadastral mapping mapping ________________________________________________________________________________ a. Establishing basic technical infrastructure b. Loading / verifying title data c. Loading cadastral mapping (high accuracy) d. Cadastral map data conversion (medium accuracy) e. Operational costs at 25 Million US$ per year f. Re-investments / renewal / maintenance at 10% per year g. Value-added services development 5 - 10 years 5 - 7 years 15 years 7 - 10 years 10 years 10 years 5 - 10 years 35m.US$ 25m.US$ 1,500m.US$ 250m.US$ 35m.US$ 25m.US$ 35m.US$ 25m.US$ 75m.US$ 250m.US$ 35m.US$ 25m.US$

Activity

Time until completion

_________________________________________________________________________________ h. Total costs for 10 year period in millions of US$: US$ 1,870m. US$ 445m.

Similar costs arise in new land titling programmes. World Bank figures suggest that recent major property formalisation projects have had total estimated costs ranging from US$20 million to more than US$250 million with loans ranging from US$2 million (to support feasibility studies) up to approximately US$100 million (Dale & McLaughlin, 1999). In general these costs have covered: 1. institution strengthening: 10 - 15% 2. mapping: 20 - 25% 3.adjudication and surveying: 30 - 50% 4.registration: 20 - 25%. Of these, items 2, 3 and 4 have all involved new technologies. 2. Data Capture The creation of a modern land administration system may involve new surveys of existing or intended land parcels, or the...
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