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1 NOV 2021

Insights into real estate registration and cadastre

Please note, this document was reissued in October 2022 as Practice Information. It was previously published in November 2021 as an Insight Paper. For more information on the document category changes, see the text part way down on this page Upholding Professional Standards

Effective land administration and real estate registration is a key governance, social justice and economic requisite for any developed or developing country. It forms the basis of any functioning land and property market and when ineffective (or non-existent) is the source of almost insurmountable problems. From a lack of land & property taxation revenue, to non-functioning land/property markets, insecure tenure (and all that entails including the inability to issue mortgages or invest), decreased public health intervention, lower infrastructure development, increased conflicts & disputes and much more besides. So how does a nation move towards a functioning real estate & cadastral system? that benefits the public & enables economic development? After all, over 70% of global land & property is unregistered – putting a brake on any hope of economic and social development in many nations.

These insights are focussed less on the academic and more on the practical and technical needs of any land initiative - from tech innovation, to governance and capacity building and the role of licensed surveyors. The expert authors draw on their own professional experience during decades of working at the sharp end of land administration and registration practice in numerous countries.

In Ukraine, the time for processing an application for registration of a new parcel went down from an average of a month and a half to 21 minutes. It is not always necessary to change the law to make the submission of digital reports and plans obligatory. It is a question of training surveyors.

The insights also investigate numerous important aspects of land administration and highlights the issues that any new intervention or initiative needs to take into account for it to be successful. The authors use the Theory of Change (Toc) concept to highlight important processes and interconnections, look at the important of governance, capacity and professional practice, highlight the dangers of corruption and emphasise the need for a strong legal framework.

The insight also features surveying, boundaries and cadastral practice (with some insightful commentary on direct experience from around the globe), a feature on revolutions in surveying methodologies, fit for purpose concepts and underlines the need for professional and licensed surveyors. It finishes on appropriate IT systems, Land Information systems, LADM and the UN GGIM Integrated Geospatial Information Framework IGIF.

The insight is divided into the sections below.

  • Introduction to real estate registration and cadastre
  • Understanding the context and the challenges
  • Implementing and sustaining a programme of reform
  • The legal framework
  • Boundaries and the cadastral survey
  • IT systems for cadastre and property registration
  • Land information services (LIS)

Further reading from the authors can be sourced @ Real Estate Registration and Cadastre. Practical Lessons and Experiences.