Land Information System in the present day context
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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
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.
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.
International Scenario :-
During the last decade, Canada Initiated two major programmes in LIS.
In UK, National Land Information System (NLIS) was adopted. Under this programme 'DOOMS DAY 2000' with objective to survey the whole country by 2000 AID - for uses in wide area of net work.
In Newzealand, the Department of Survey and Land Information has 3 computers being used for automated processes.
In Austria, Northern Territory Land Information System consists of a digital Cadastral map of the territory with unique parcel identifier to a textual database "MPPN & T"
The University of New South Wales has taken up programme in Thailand "Thailand Titling Pegant" with aid from World Bank.
Malaysia presents an interesting example of a developing country that is in the process of introducing new and innovative Land Information. The Malaysian Prime Minister's department has been instrumental in creating a data bank and Urban Information System in Kelang Valley, a system established to facilitate regional development, planning, monitoring and co-ordination. Growing interest in Land Information System has resulted in improved land administration.
In 1983, a tender was called for the supply, delivery, installation, testing and maintenance of computer system with supporting software and application packages on a turnkey basis to meet data processing needs of a computer assisted land surveying system in Johor state survey development, Malaysia.
More recently, the Malaysian government had convened a seminar on LIS in Kaula Lumpur. Here it was resolved that the Government should establish an Integrated National Land Information System and institute a central policy and co-ordinating committee to formulate and co-ordinate Information System development among the Federal and State agencies.
LIS in The Present Day Context
If we are integrating all the three cadasteres, it has to come through legislations as an Act of Law. For property Cadastere and fiscal Cadastere we can definitely use modern technology such as use of GPS System for demarcating village boundaries and Total Stations or EDMs for measuring land parcels and for plotting and drawing purposes, we can use computers extensively.
Scope of Photogrammetry :-
Aerial photography can be used with advantage to speed up but, photography has to conform to rigid specifications for accurate measurements. Tilt and relief distortion have to be within limits. Shadows and dead ground have to be surveyed by ground methods.
A neat model of 60% forward overlap and 30% lateral overlap-photographs, 23 cm x 23 cm covers an area of 1: 48 sq.km. on 1: 10,000 scale. For photogrammetric survey, the B-8 plotters with measuring marks of 70 microns could be used effectively. The accuracy depends on post-pointing and positioning of floating point on the marked models. In LIS, land parcel corners, if they do not appear on the photo, then this cannot be done with greater accuracy. Hence, LIS has always resorted to pre-pointing which ensures correct identification and high accuracy. Recently, Cyprus is resorting to LIS using GIS model. It is an island with most of its lands being plains. Most of our states, U.P., Bihar, Gujarat & Rajasthan are plains with vast cultivation. This model can be accepted using 152 mm focal length camera and 1: 10,000 scale photography; digital photogrammety can be used technically.
Such a survey has to come up with legislation. But then, who will give the legal certificate with regard to correctness of shape, size, area etc., on the ground. The greatest handicap with regard to photogrammetry is that you cannot do setting-out. Hence we have to have a right mix-up of both technologies - classical and modern. Further, in photogrammetry only random sampling & checking is done, whereas, in LIS, 100% checking is done.
For topographic details, we can have photogrammetric/graphic cadastere and for Land Parcels and village boundaries we can have numeric cadastere using DGPS and Total Station etc. Both the digital data can be merged on the computer and attribute data relating to legal and fiscal cadastere can be linked to the merged data through GIS software like 'Arc-info'
Those giving guidance, must become more familiar with conditions under which the systems will have to work. The problem is not simply technical. It is the human dimension that will determine success or failure.
Finally, whatever is attempted must be designed for the future as for the present. Maintenance is more important than initial system creation. The system should be capable of change with increasing levels of refinement of both the hardware and software and skills of the persons operating.
If India is to make a quantum leap forward, land information should lead to better decisions about the use of land and better management of resources.
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