How Deep Must Be Cadastral Information?

Monday, July 3
2:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Location: Exhibit Hall C

In the quest for theorization of the cadastre, a documentary research led to investigate both the roots of cadastral representation of parcel-lots by large-scale maps and the links between the kinds of information they ought to content with the needs of various land management and registration purposes.
In the present era of digital multi-purpose cadastres (MPC), thus deserving multiple public and private users, the questions to debate among authorities, before launching a cadastral reform over their entire territorial jurisdiction, remain quite similar to ancient ones, although tremendous technological changes. Identifying the cadastre graphical form just as an image to support only two kinds of registration (for deeds or titles) becomes unsatisfactory to address the adequate and necessary deepness of land information.
Before 18th Century, land plans and maps were not necessary despite complexity of parcel divisions and tenures in most European countries. Transfers of land property or title were not frequent outside cities, traditionally kept within the same family by inheritance, and tenure registration were not public, but feudal (nobility, ecclesial) or private (for tenancy).
During the 18th Century, State authorities attempted to prepare inventories of existing land parcels for administrative or fiscal purposes at county or provincial levels (in France, Savoie, Milano, Austrian Netherlands (now Belgium), …). All considered the opportunity and usefulness of cadastral maps at parcel-lot scale. The decision was mostly negative, due to high costs of such a huge project, the opposition of landlords, the lack of trained and skilled surveyors and cartographers, the vagueness of their purpose objectives, and then the imprecision of which types of data to collect, to put in schedules, and to draw on maps.
Even the famous and exemplar Napoleonic cadastre changed three times its perspectives and technical contents before well-structured instructions were issued in 1811, but its completion took forty years. These local maps, designed to be “perpetual” without any future changes needed, showed parcel boundaries for calculation of land and building surfaces and for uniformed assessment of permanent relative land value. So, by doing this, it was expected that the cadastre could also determine individual properties to support the new Civil Code and then reduce trials among neighbours. There was no question yet about property transfer or mortgage registration for publicity, what will become necessary purposes later in many countries and required reforms of cadastral maps, with simpler or more complex graphic elements, depending on purpose.
Since the 1970’s, Land Information Systems (LIS) and MPC became conceptual catchphrases for land use management and control, whereas the individual private lot rest at the core. Legal, economical, and environmental issues complicate the implementation of complete and multi-layer digital cadastres, functioning with different and somehow incompatible sets of data. Just think about the variety of significant identification or reference numbers to locate specific parcels in different systems!
The synoptic quality of a map is well-known to display horizontal geospatial information about an area on sheet or screen. On the other hand, the panoptic quality remains a concern to decide what shall be the deepness of complete and correct data to collect and represent on each layer, their qualities (detail, precision, value, …) and their constraints on interconnection or combination.
That implies different professional or institutional sources, for different purposes, functions, and users. A digital map becomes an analytical instrument, not just a geodetic frame of reference for static representation, registration, and usage. According to FIG concepts of Cadastre 2014 and now Cadastre 2034, cadastral maps aim to make visible all the rights, restrictions, responsibilities, risks, and revenues (the 5 “R”) over land, which are intrinsically invisible. How deeply will we succeed cadastral reforms?

Yaïves Ferland

Professionnel de recherche
Université Laval

Mr. Yaïves Ferland, M.Sc., research professional at Faculté des Sciences de l'Éducation and Départemetn des Sciences géomatiques, Université Laval, Québec, Canada, since 2012.
Professional training in Geomatics (B.Sc.App.) as a land surveyor plus a Master degree (M.Sc.) in GIS and cartography. Strong interest in cadastral studies, cognitive geography, history, geoliteracy and didactics of geography, knowledge mapping and representation, land planning and management, semiology, and toponymy. Serving seven years as Defence Scientist at Valcartier Research Centre of the Department of National Defence. Canadian Delegate to the United Nations Group of Expert for Geographical Names (UNGEGN) during three years. Member of the Joint Commission on Toponymy of the International Cartographic Association (ICA) and the International Geographic Union (IGU). Co-author of articles on land law, bornage, cadastre, educative serious games, didactics of geography and history, high water marks, land disaster risk management. Co-author of two books on land planning and management within municipal governments, and on cadastre and public domain.


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Francis Roy

Full Professor, Head of the Department of Geomatics Sciences
Université Laval

Francis Roy is full professor and head of the Department of Geomatics Sciences at Laval University (in Québec City, Canada). He teaches and realizes research works in the fields of cadastral systems, land property, land administration, land-use planning, and disaster risk reduction. He is particularly interested in land and cadastral reforms in developing countries. After obtaining a bachelor degree diploma in geomatics (Laval University in 1990), he studied in Land Use Planning and Regional Development, and obtained a master's degree diploma (Laval University in 1992) and a Ph.D. diploma (University of Montreal, on 1999).


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How Deep Must Be Cadastral Information?

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