The Crowdsourced Cadastre - 21/08/2012

Crowdsourcing (1)

Rohan Bennett and Paul van der Molen, ITC, the Netherlands

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There is nothing new under the sun. Or is there? Cadastral practitioners are becoming increasingly interested in ‘crowdsourcing’. Using location-enabled mobile phones, citizens could themselves perform – at least partially – adjudication, surveying, demarcation, and recordation. Some suggest it could revolutionise cadastral establishment and maintenance. At first glance the concept appears highly innovative. It could help lower costs of registration, speed up recording, deliver more complete cadastral coverage, and improve the relationship between citizens and their governments. But, have we been through all this before? As part of GIM International’s dialogue on Cadastre 2034, the authors discuss the potential of crowdsourcing applied to cadastres.

On the surface, proponents of crowdsourced cadastres appear to be agitating for the deconstruction or circumvention of our well-established cadastral and land registration institutions. They deliver a strong case. Daniel Roberge, current chair of Commission 7 of the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), explained in GIM March 2012 how more than 25% of the world’s 6 billion land interests remain unregistered. At current rates it will take decades or centuries to get near full registration in some places. So, putting aside the debate as to whether land records actually result in economic and social development, the majority of land administrators agree that we need faster, cheaper, and more fit-for-purpose methods for building and maintaining cadastres in many countries, if not in general. In this way, the crowdsourced solution provides another instrument in the expanding land administration toolbox.

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Last updated: 27/02/2018