Symposium on Innovative Technologies for Land Administration

24 - 25 June 2005, Madison (WI), USA

This symposium, held at the University of Wisconsin, has been organised by FIG Commission 7 on Cadastre and Land Management.

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University of Wisconsin, State Historical Society, Madison, venue of the Symposium

Land Administration includes processes of land registration, cadastre, valuation and land inventory. Every country in the world pursues these activities in one form or another. Whatever the stage of development is, technology plays a role in executing these tasks. Developing countries are challenged by pro poor land management and administration, 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. Unconventional approaches are urgently needed, both from a conceptual and technological point of view. Technology plays an important role, although its success depends on the link with society's needs. In particular technology is a major facilitating factor for speeding up processes. 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.
The Symposium

About 60 experts in ICT, Land Administration, Surveying representing the Geo-ICT industry and Land Administration organisations participated. The relevance of the alignment between the business of Land Administration and ICT on strategic and operational level and the, often underestimated, impact on organisations was underlined. The Land Management Paradigm was introduced and discussed. An impressive introduction on reconstruction Land Administration in post conflict conditions and the role, (non-)acceptance and implementation of information technology in this was given.

Leading industries as Oracle, ESRI, Intergraph, Bentley, CARIS and Leica gave their view on the further developments in data acquisition, processing and dissemination related to land administration. There was a lot of attention to 3D data processing and 3D Cadastres, GPS based data collection, with very nice examples from Seiler Industries, distributed data management in an open environment. Intergraph gave its view on simplifying the business of land administration. DataGrid International had a very impressive contribution on Strategies and technologies for integrated land administration and management of national resources. Focus in this presentation was on developing countries with easy to learn and efficient technologies for data collection. International Land Systems, gave a view on using ICT to drive business processes change with land registry offices. Representatives from the Open Geo-Spatial Consortium and the US Federal Geographic Data Committee highlighted that standards enhance the data and that spatial data infrastructures should be developed internationally. The importance of standardisation of the Cadastral Domain was item of discussion. A remark in relation to this was that the discussion on a deed based or title based system should stop and that the focus should be on well performing land administration systems, and in many countries organisations failed in this, because of both institutional and managerial reasons.


According to the chair of the Commission 7, Paul van der Molen, the outcome of the symposium are to be used to further develop an opinion on the role and importance of ICT in land administration to the World bank, the United Nations, governments and professionals. 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. During the symposium it became clear that these goals are hard to achieve if one doesn’t take the support of ICT as a prerequisite. The World Bank, an important funding organisation of land administration in many countries, and other international organisations see low cost approaches sometimes as in conflict with ICT. The Commission feels there might be a need to redefine the role and importance of technology in realising the world's objectives. What came out of presentations, is that most probably low cost approaches require high technology. One further consideration is the awareness of land administrators of 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. If they don’t do this well, replacements is an option as usual in private business life. A specific example related has been discussed during the symposium.

Paul van der Molen & Christiaan Lemmen
FIG Commission 7