Surveys are directly related to civilisation. In fact, civilisation started when men started to make a record of places and events. Historians say civilisation started in Tigris-Euphrates valley. In fact, records of land surveys were located on clay tablets. The earliest records were located in Egypt about 5000 years ago. The land survey became necessary because of the NILE River which flooded its valley every year and washing of the agricultural land boundaries, which had to be re established after floods.
In India, the land surveys for revenue purposes were made about 1000 years ago during the time of Raja-Raja the Great, of Chola Empire in Tamil Nadu. The record of this survey is found inscribed on the North Wall of Raj Rajeshwari Temple in Tanjavur. The British, in India started Ryot wari settlement surveys in the Salem District of Ex-Madras Presidency during 1793-1798.
Land is the most valuable possession of mankind. It is also an important asset of any country. Without land, there can be no country. Then, the wealth of the nation and its economic development are dependent on the state of the land and its usage. The availability of funds depends on tax collection. It is apparent, therefore, any information concerning land is a valuable information which serves as a key to financial investments, commerce, industry and agriculture.
Land information and methods of presentation
There are several ways of presenting the land information. The most common and popular one is through a map. The second one is through photography, aerial or terrestrial. The third through written records which contain parcel areas, land holdings, assessment values etc. Fourth possible method is the storage through computers. Maps may be scanned and information stored in digital form and then can be retrieved, with coded commands to the computers.
Classes of Land Information
- The first is geological information like shape, size, land forms, minerals and soil.
- The second group is economic information like land use, irrigation, crops etc.
- The third group is legal rights, registration, and taxation etc., are involved.
The most popular type of collecting Land Information is through topographic survey for purpose of planning, but more important stage is the implementation of the plan. It is at this stage the land information plays a major role. No improvements to the land can be made without acquiring rights to the land. These rights cannot be acquired until ownership is asserted. This further, cannot be done without demarcating and surveying the boundaries of the land concerned.
Those classes of land surveys which are executed for the purpose of recording land rights and inventory of land areas, land uses or of determining tax assessments are called Cadastral Surveys. While emphasis is on legal objectives, it involves collection of information on geological and economic aspects. The size, shape and nature of soil of individual land holdings have to be measured. The economic uses of land have to be recorded for appraisal of land values which are necessary for conveyance, transfer, sale, lease or mort-gauge of the land for development purposes.
Classification of Cadastral System
They can be grouped under three general heads.
The Tax Cadastere :
- Tax Cadastere
- Real Cadastere
- Legal Cadastere
It is a system of survey where information is collected for land taxation. The tax may be assessed based on area of land, type of land, value of land and produce of the land. The physical survey may be represented by sketch. Usually, accuracy of the survey is low since main objective is tax collection. The determination of rightful ownership is not done since main objective is tax collection. As long as some one agrees to pay taxes, it does not matter to the govt. who the rightful owners are.
Real Cadastere :
In contrast, the real property Cadastere is executed mainly for the physical mapping of land holding boundaries and locating real other properties for land inventory. Real property includes not only land, but also buildings, trees etc., which are permanently fixed to it. Minerals below the surface are also integral part. However, in the legal courts of many countries, private ownership of mineral deposits does not necessarily follow from the ownership of the land.
Legal Cadastere :
Survey which furnishes information for the Registration of the land. Determination of legal ownership and Registration of legal transactions is called as legal cadastere. The requirements of physical survey of land boundaries preceding registration may not be necessary since registration can be based on old documents. Thus, in general, the legal cadastere is a complement to both property cadastere and tax cadastere.
The most efficient approach is to take all three objectives together and integrate the three types of cadasteres in one system. This, in essence is Land Information System or LIS
Land Information System & The Third World :-
Effective land information is of particular importance to developing countries. They are the ones who are in the dire need of Land Information System to prevent wastage of their scarce resources. The cost of introducing new system is high and the availability of skilled man-power is almost non-existent. The challenge is to produce better Land Information to support better Land Policies.