1
Introduction

1.1
PURPOSES OF THIS REPORT

This report is intended to provide guidance to local officials who seek to establish elements of a multipurpose cadastre in their jurisdictions and to the state and federal agencies that seek to assist in this effort.

The specific objectives are as follows:

To provide descriptions of public systems for cadastral products and services that can be permanent and cost-effective in the United States and references to sources of detailed specifications for development of components of these systems.

To encourage commitments by state and local governments to the development of multipurpose cadastres to serve their respective areas but without attempting to prescribe their administrative organization, which will need to be adapted to the existing governmental structure in each locality.

To suggest guidelines for federal and federally supported programs that can have an important impact on the development of multipurpose cadastres.

To encourage the adoption of compatible standards and procedures for the components of a multipurpose cadastre and related records.

Prospective users of this information include the following:

Administrators of local programs needing technical guidelines for program development.

Legislators, especially those who are looked to for expertise and leadership in matters affecting municipal administration and real estate.



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1 Introduction 1.1 PURPOSES OF THIS REPORT This report is intended to provide guidance to local officials who seek to establish elements of a multipurpose cadastre in their jurisdictions and to the state and federal agencies that seek to assist in this effort. The specific objectives are as follows: To provide descriptions of public systems for cadastral products and services that can be permanent and cost-effective in the United States and references to sources of detailed specifications for development of components of these systems. To encourage commitments by state and local governments to the development of multipurpose cadastres to serve their respective areas but without attempting to prescribe their administrative organization, which will need to be adapted to the existing governmental structure in each locality. To suggest guidelines for federal and federally supported programs that can have an important impact on the development of multipurpose cadastres. To encourage the adoption of compatible standards and procedures for the components of a multipurpose cadastre and related records. Prospective users of this information include the following: Administrators of local programs needing technical guidelines for program development. Legislators, especially those who are looked to for expertise and leadership in matters affecting municipal administration and real estate.

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Administrators of federal programs that provide technical or financial support for operations that are important in the development of a cadastre. Professional planners. environmentalists, surveyors, lawyers, members of university faculties, engineers, and others in a position to provide leadership for establishment of cadastres. The land-information officers proposed earlier (Committee on Geodesy, 1980) for designation by state and local governments. 1.2 SCOPE OF THIS REPORT This report follows the lead of the Committee on Geodesy (1980) report, which recommends that local governments be the primary access points for local land information and that they maintain land data compatible with a multipurpose cadastre and transmit these data to higher levels of government when needed. Federal agencies can play an important leadership role by making their land-information systems consistent and compatible with each other to facilitate joint use of the data. Standards to assure this compatibility might be used as models by state and local governments. With the wider availability of geodetic and mapping data in metric units, multipurpose cadastre development programs should consider the use of these units for all their elements and products. We recognize the tremendous costs that could be incurred in a program of conversion from existing English units into metric units. Hence, as initiatives that lead to the development of the various elements of the multipurpose cadastre are of major significance for this nation, these initiatives should not be deterred in any locality by the need to convert to the metric system. However, we would encourage that all cadastral data-management systems be designed to handle either English or metric units and that. whenever possible, metric products be made available. 1.2.1 Suggested Local Procedures for Building a Modern Cadastre This report identifies procedures for the development of a modern cadastre. Standards are suggested where such standards are grounded in adequate prior experience. However, detailed specifications are provided only through references to other publications. Each of the procedures identified is well established in some locality in North America. The report provides a critical appraisal of the available standards and procedures, organized under the major components of the basic structure of a multipurpose cadastre: A reference frame consisting of a geodetic network; A series of current, accurate large-scale base maps; A cadastral overlay that delineates all cadastral parcels and displays a unique

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identifying number assigned to each of them, the latter serving as a common index of all parcel-related land records in information systems; and A series of registers or files that record interests in land parcels, each including a parcel identifier for purposes of information retrieval and linking with information in other land-data files. 1.2.1.1 Densification of the Geodetic Reference Frame Monuments that are precisely located by geodetic surveys are needed at more closely spaced intervals in most parts of the United States, so that positions of land-related data may be determined. Ideally these monuments should be as densely spaced as the monuments for section and quarter-section corners of the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) (Committee on Integrated Land Data Mapping, 1982). 1.2.1.2 Production and Maintenance of Base Maps Large-scale base maps locate the major physical features of the landscape at scales of from 1:500 to 1:25,000. The procedures and standards given herein for the production of base maps have been used for the production of single-purpose cadastres but can evolve readily into standards for production of multipurpose cadastres. Their use will assure not only adequate large-scale maps for the purposes intended but also compatibility among the large-scale maps of the separate counties or municipalities. 1.2.1.3 Preparation of Cadastral Overlays An important task in almost all localities is to establish a legal status for the cadastral overlay as the timely, complete, and available of all existing land parcels. Each cadastral parcel must have a unique identification number. There is need for more than a pictorial representation of parcel boundaries of the kind that traditionally has served limited purposes such as real-property assessment or administration of public services. Functions such as parcel indexing of land-title and other parcelrelated records have more demanding requirements for accuracy and especially currency of the maps. However, this does not require that the cadastral overlay actually serve as the legally sufficient statement of property boundaries. For representations that are legally sufficient statements of boundary one normally must refer to recorded surveys that are drafted at a much larger scale or to the legal descriptions in the landtitle records. Ties of property boundary surveys to the geodetic coordinate system are essential; the procedure used to accomplish them will depend on methods available to a local government. Coordinates of property corners can be invaluable for integrating ad-

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jacent surveys and will facilitate the eventual automation of the production of cadastral maps. 1.2.1.4 Building and Maintaining Land-Parcel Registers and Data Files The unique parcel identification number provides a means for linking the cadastral parcel to land-data files or registers that contain information about land ownership, use, value, assessment, and other attributes. Other parcel identifiers may be introduced to facilitate the use of these land-information records and thus form a family of parcel identifiers. These are the codes that permit sharing of land-parcel data among the agencies in each jurisdiction and with other jurisdictions that maintain compatible multipurpose cadastres. A system of identifiers may be coded to indicate the political districts to which each parcel belongs. 1.2.2 Suggested Procedures for Linking Other Land Information to the Cadastre The report describes successful procedures for connecting other files of land-based information to the basic cadastral reference system. Some of these procedures are feasible only where cadastral files and other records are automated. 1.2.2.1 Referencing Other Land Information to the Base Map and Cadastral Overlay Criteria are offered for judging when maps of the boundaries of land characteristics other than those of parcels are needed. These maps establish overlays distinct from the cadastral overlay. Procedures for describing such boundaries by coordinates, and the potential value of these coordinates for the automation of map production, are described. Limitations of describing the locations of land characteristics by grid cells are compared with those of describing boundaries by coordinates. 1.2.2.2 Direct Comparison of Other Land Information with Cadastral Records The cadastral parcel can serve as a complete and adequate locational reference for many types of social. economic, physical, and administrative data. Thus it is the building block for statistical comparisons among these land characteristics. However. most natural phenomena, and certain other man-made divisions of land, such as for agricultural production, must be attributed to individual land parcels before direct, statistical comparisons can be made with land-ownership information. To do this precisely requires subdividing all records for each parcel that is crossed by the

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boundary of significant natural phenomena. Other, more economical, procedures are described for approximating the attribution of natural phenomena to parcels. 1.3 REVIEW OF THE REPORT NEED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE Land-information systems in governments at all levels are characterized in the Committee on Geodesy (1980) report as being either the traditional title or assessment systems or the more recently developed land-planning and -management systems. That report categorized the problems inherent in our present systems as accessibility, duplication, aggregation, confidentiality, and institutional structure. The concept of a multipurpose cadastre concept was presented as a basis for action to remedy the problems that exist in our current system. The multipurpose cadastre concept was described as “a framework that supports continuous, readily available, and comprehensive land-related information at the parcel level.” 1.3.1 Components of a Multipurpose Cadastre The components of a multipurpose cadastre as described in the earlier report (Committee on Geodesy, 1980) are presented in Section 1.2.1. That report was concerned primarily with the reference frame, base maps, and cadastral overlay components of the multipurpose cadastre. Other elements were discussed to the extent necessary to provide a complete picture of the system. 1.3.2 Improving Land-Information Systems The considerable amount of activity aimed at improving land-information systems in the United States and Canada was identified. Programs instituted at the state and county level to improve land-recording procedures, including records indexing, computer data handling, computer mapping of utility information, control densification, and large-scale mapping, have been in progress for a number of years. Several states have undertaken control surveying and base-mapping programs and have developed land-data files. Federal agencies have developed special programs for particular landinformation areas, such as the Taxable Property Values Survey by the Bureau of the Census and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act studies by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Federal agencies have funded a number of landinformation pilot projects and have assisted local and state agencies in their surveying and mapping activities. An extensive land-information system exists in the Maritime Provinces of Canada, which provides a well-developed model for others to consider. The variety of participants who will each have a role in the creation of a Land-

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Information System was suggested by the statement in the Committee on Geodesy (1980) report that “federal, state, and local governments as well as private contractors have an important role in the development of a multipurpose cadastre.” The basic high-order control surveys already are being done by federal agencies; the closespaced monuments should be set by state or local agencies or their contractors. Small-and medium-scale mapping is well under way by federal agencies. Large-scale maps should be prepared by state and local agencies or their contractors. The basic cadastral surveys of federal land are being performed by federal agencies, while state land is being surveyed by state agencies or their contractors. Local property boundaries should be established by private surveyors with the approval of the chief surveying officer of each county or municipality. The cadastral overlay will be the result of work by surveyors, abstractors, title attorneys, zoning organizations, and courts. 1.3.3 Essential Requirements for a Multipurpose Cadastre The earlier report (Committee on Geodesy, 1980) listed several essential requirements for development of a multipurpose cadastre. These are as follows: The development of technical standards and specifications and the means to enforce these; The development of linkage mechanisms in order to relate other land information to the basic components; An emphasis on gradual, phased reorganization and quality control of existing governmental functions, rather than creation of new functions and agencies; A focus on the county level as the place where much of the work in developing and maintaining a multipurpose cadastre will occur, with appropriate support by state and federal governments; and The development of qualified personnel through encouragement and support of university research and education. The report recommended several specific actions. These are as follows: Federal legislation to authorize and support the creation of a multipurpose cadastre in all parts of the nation; Designation by the Office of Management and Budget of a federal lead agency for promotion of the development of multipurpose cadastres; Continued technical studies sponsored by the federal government to identify consistent land information and display standards for use among and within federal agencies and between federal and state governments—these studies should rely on the authority of state governments to adopt the standards and organize the data collection in cooperation with the federal government to ensure compatibility on a

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national basis, delegating these functions to county governments where appropriate; Authorization by each state of an Office of Land Information Systems, through legislation where necessary, to implement the multipurpose cadastre. In summary, the 1980 report described the nature of land-information problems, established the need for a response to those problems, defined the elements and structure of a multipurpose cadastre as a basis for action, identified the development process for a multipurpose cadastre, and recommended specific legislative and administrative initiatives at all levels of government that would lead to development of a multipurpose cadastre. 1.4 MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE CONCEPTS 1.4.1 Origins Cadastre is defined in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary as “an official register of the quantity, value, and ownership of real estate used in apportioning taxes.” Black’s Law Dictionary defines a cadastre as a “tax inventory and assessment of real property.” The origins of what is accepted as the modern cadastre concept are found in the cadastral systems of Continental Europe that were formed during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Like earlier efforts, these were designed fundamentally for taxation or fiscal purposes. Cadastral-system development was associated with a “ground tax” concept wherein most state revenues were obtained by “levying a ground tax, ultimately based on the taxable revenue of the separate ground parcels, and buildings, subdivided according to their different use as agriculture grounds, meadows, orchards, woods, houses, factories, workshops…” (Henssen, 1973). The ground tax concept evolved over time into complex differential tax-assessment systems, based in part on differing land uses. These complex systems required supporting land-parcel information arrangements. It appears that as early as the seventeenth century the Europeans developed an understanding and appreciation of the cadastre concept for purposes beyond taxation. The evolution of the legal or juridical cadastre is traced from this period (Henssen, 1973). The juridical cadastre was conceived as a system for recording and retrieving information concerning the tenure interests in the land that, as with the fiscal cadastre, required the identification of the people holding an interest in the land and the location of those interests. Howwver, the juridical cadastre required a more rigorous delineation of these interests in order to provide for the secure transfer of title to the land.

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1.4.2 Evolution of the North American Cadastral Arrangements The early North American cadastral arrangements were designed to promote quick, efficient, and secure land settlement. The alienation of public or crown lands, as a means of inducing European emigration. was from the outset recognized as a basic function of government in the English colonies. In order to secure the private interests in land, several land-records institutions were established. These were designed to provide legal notice of transactions involving land and included public recordation of deeds, recording acts. abstracts of title, and opinions of title evidence. Land-survey practices and institutions developed consonant with the desire to achieve and secure alienation of public land. The public-land survey was established during this period. During the nineteenth century the property tax developed as the primary basis for local government revenues. Institutions and practices associated with the real-property assessment process were firmly established as a function of local government along with the concept of uniform property taxation based on value. North American cadastral institutions are distinct in their time and place. They differ from those in Continental Europe. However. all share a focus on fiscal and juridical purposes. The traditional cadastre is often a routine file of parcel-related data designed to meet special purposes with efficiency and timeliness, especially valuation and title. Although these traditional cadastres often draw on data and information from various sources, they are characterized by their special-purpose outputs of products and services. However, the routine use of these files as a source of land information is rarely satisfactory for purposes other than those originally intended. The need is for a multipurpose cadastre designed to provide a wide range of relatable land information. The multipurpose cadastre, in form and substance, must rise to the level of a research and comprehensive planning tool, as well as continuing to serve traditional, special-purpose needs. 1.4.3 Nature of a Modern Cadastre A modern multipurpose cadastre is defined as a record of interests in land, encompassing both the nature and extent of these interests. An interest or property right in land may be narrowly construed as a legal right capable of ownership or more broadly interpreted as any uniquely recognized relationship among people with regard to use of the land. An understanding of the nature and extent of interests in land requires not only traditional fiscal and juridical records but also public-land management, infrastructure, physical, and similar records. These requirements are the inevitable result of the growing complexity associated with a postindustrial society.

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The growing complexity of rights and interests in land also requires improvement in the measurement and representation of the spatial extent of rights and interests and in the institutions associated with measurement and representation of land. Cadastral systems, whether of traditional or modern design, are concerned with information and data about man’s division of the land into parcels for purposes of ownership and use. These systems, and the public and private institutions that support them, have developed because of citizen and official needs for information. As relations between people concerning use of the land become more complex, more and better information is needed. Modern concepts of a cadastral system, as a geographic-information system that employs the proprietary land unit (the cadastral parcel) as the basic reference unit for gathering, storing, and disseminating information, has three basic components. These are as follows: The cadastral parcel, defined as a continuous area of land within which unique, homogeneous interests are recognized. It is defined three dimensionally in recognition of subjacent and superjacent interests and in time. The cadastral record, the source of graphical and/or alphanumeric information concerning both the nature of the interests and the extent of those interests. The parcel index, the system for relating parcels and records. The cadastral system is a combination of people, technical resources, structure, and organized procedures that results in The official recording of data pertaining to the initial delimitation of cadastral parcels and their subsequent mutation; The official recording of data pertaining to all recognized tenure interests in these parcels; The official recording of other parcel-relatable data; and The subsequent storage, retrieval, dissemination, and use of these data. 1.4.4 The Cadastre as Part of a Larger Geographic-Information System A cadastre may be regarded as a part of a larger system of land-related information called a Geographic-Information System (GIS). A GIS is any system of spatially referenced information or data. Spatially referenced information or data have a unifying characteristic—association with a specific place on the Earth’s surface. A GIS is designed to gather, process, and provide a wide variety of geographically referenced information that may be relevant for research, management decisions, or administrative processes. The information contained in a GIS may be classified according to whether the focus of the information is on people or on land. Socioeconomic information con-

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FIGURE 1.1 Types of Geographic-Information Systems (GIS’s). tained, for example, in the files of the Bureau of the Census is people-focused information primarily, although the information has a spatial component. Each element of social or economic data is indexed to a discrete location, as defined in Chapter 6, which may be a municipality or a block or even a building address or parcel number. However, the spatial component is not the principal element around which the system is designed. If the information in the GIS focuses primarily on the land, then the information is part of a Land-Informatiom System (LIS). This hierarchy of systems is diagrammed in Figure 1.1. The spatial context of the data in a LIS is continuous, as defined in Chapter 6, with locations preferably referenced to a plane coordinate system. The focus in a LIS, the land with its spatial aspect, requires a significantly higher degree of spatial accuracy than that associated with a socioeconomic system. The data content of a LIS is more likely to relate to the physical environment than to social or economic conditions and is normally less subject to questions of personal confidentiality. LIS’s, with their emphasis on land-related information and spatial accuracy, can be divided into two distinct sets. These sets correspond to the cultural and natural divisions of the Earth’s surface. Natural LIS’s are concerned with the many ways the Earth is divided according to its physical characteristics such as soils, vegetation, mineral resources, depth to bedrock, and flood hazards. Cultural LIS’s are concerned with the divisions of the Earth into parcels by man for purposes of ownership and use. 1.4.5 Distinctive Features of the Multipurpose Cadastre A multipurpose cadastre is designed to record, store, and provide not only landtenure and land-valuation information but also a wide variety of parcel-relatable information. It is truly multipurpose in that it not only receives information and data

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from many sources, but it also provides relatable services and products for many purposes and to many users. The multipurpose cadastre is the core module of a large-scale, communityoriented information system designed to serve both public and private agencies, and individual citizens, by (1) employing the proprietary land unit (cadastral parcel) as the fundamental unit of spatial organization of land information and (2) employing local government land-record offices as the fundamental unit for information dissemination. The fundamental importance of individual, decentralized decision making about use of the land by individual citizens or local governments is recognized by use of the proprietary land unit and local government offices. The possibility of greater citizen input to and scrutiny of local systems is enhanced by emphasis on parcels and local offices. The multipurpose cadastre system is designed to overcome the difficulties associated with traditional, limited approaches by (1) providing in a continuous fashion a comprehensive record of land-related information and (2) presenting this information at the parcel level. The multipurpose cadastre is a public system, operationally and administratively integrated, that supports timely, readily available, and comprehensive land-related information at the parcel level. The multipurpose cadastre concept is built around an accurate spatial framework, base maps, a cadastral overlay tied to legal records of property boundaries, and linkage to land records distributed about many offices and users. The components of a multipurpose cadastre. as shown in Figure 1.2, are described in Section 1.3.1. Table 1.1 lists some of the many benefits that have been realized FIGURE 1.2 Components of a multipurpose cadastre (in heavy outline) as the foundation for Land-Information Systems (LIS’s).

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TABLE 1.1 Some of the Potential Benefits of a Multipurpose Cadastre to Each of the Major Types of Users Potential Benefits to Local Governments Assures that the best available data are used in each public transaction Avoids conflicts among land records of different public offices Improves accuracy of real-property assessments Provides base maps for local planning and preliminary engineering studies Provides a standardized data base for neighborhood. municipal, county, or regional development plans Avoids costs of maintaining separate map systems and land-data files Encourages coordination among public programs affecting land Improves public attitudes toward administration of local government programs Potential Benefits to State Governments Provides accurate inventories of natural assets Provides accurate locational references for administration of state regulations such as pollution controls Accurately locates state ownerships or other interests in land Provides a standardized data base for management of public lands Provides large-scale base maps for siting studies Simplifies coordination among state and local offices Potential Benefits to the Federal Government Provides a flow of standardized data for updating federal maps and statistics, e.g., for the federal censuses Provides a data base for monitoring objects of national concern. e.g., agricultural land use and foreign ownership of U.S. real estate Provides a reliable record of the locations of federal ownerships or other interests in land Provides standardized records for managing federal assistance to local programs such as housing, community development, and historic preservation Potential Benefits to Private Firms Produces accurate inventories of land parcels, available as a public record Produces standard, large-scale maps that can be used for planning. engineering, or routing studies Speeds administration of public regulations Potential Benefits to Individuals Provides faster access to records affecting individual rights, especially land title Clarifies the boundaries of areas restricted by zoning, wetlands restrictions, pollution controls, or other use controls Produces accurate maps that can be used for resolving private interests in the land Reduces costs of public utilities by replacing present duplicative base-mapping programs Improves efficiency of tax-supported government services, as described earlier in this table

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in lands that are served by multipurpose cadastres. Further details on how each type of user relates to a cadastral system are given in Section 7.2. 1.5 GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBILTIES Financial and personnel commitments by county, state, and federal governments are necessary for the creation of multipurpose cadastres. Gradual, phased, incremental establishment is necessary because the legislative and budget processes of governments tend to address short-term, readily identifiable problems rather than long-range improvements. A recent study of the cost of land records in Wisconsin (Larsen et al., 1978) indicates that the greatest expenditures are at the local level. It may be possible to obtain a substantial portion of the cost of development from savings associated with more efficient operation of land-records systems at the local level. 1.5.1 County Government Responsibilities The content of land records generally is related to functions of local government much more than to functions of state or federal governments. It is at this level of government, close to the individual citizen and to the individual parcel of land, that combinations of human and technical resources with organizing procedures are needed that result in the collection, storage, retrieval, dissemination, and use of land data in a systematic way. A framework that supports continuous, readily available, and comprehensive land-related information at the parcel level must be local in its nature in order to meet the particular demands of citizens and officials close to the making or implementation of decisions about parcels of land. A local multipurpose cadastre must provide a framework that satisfies the needs of other jurisdictions including state and federal governments and the means to transmit state and federal government land information to the local level. Some counties for several years have been improving their procedures for recording ownership, indexing, computer data handling, computer mapping, monumentation of Public Land Survey System corners and other points, and standards for accuracy and completeness of their land records. The result is improvement of individual, routine files of land data. These files are designed to meet special purposes with efficiency and timeliness. However, they seldom are organized so that all the collective data on a given parcel can be available to one local agency. For those counties with adequate resources, modem data-basemanagement systems can provide a solution.

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1.5.2 State Responsibilities The decisions of state governments, or their lack of decisions, will set the pattern for the development of multipurpose cadastres in each state. The adoption of standards that would assure the compatibility among the individual county and municipal cadastres will depend on the authority of state legislation. Whether a local government will take any initiative at all in organizing a multipurpose cadastre will often be a reflection of the expressed interests of state agencies. Many statewide programs stand to benefit from the establishment of multipurpose cadastres that serve each county, which would provide a wealth of data on needs and resources of the state, plus the geographic framework for referencing state administrative records. The report of the Committee on Geodesy (1980) recommended that each state create an Office of Land-Information Systems to provide the needed leadership and to administer grants-in-aid to local governments. Without such leadership the development of multipurpose cadastres will remain scattered and of uneven quality. 1.5.3 Federal Guidelines Guidelines are needed for federally supported programs that may have an impact on cadastral development. Similarly, there are issues related to standards and procedures that must be considered by local officials as they strive to meet local needs for land information. It must be emphasized that, while there are local problems to be addressed by local standards and procedures, nevertheless, Land-Information Systems are dynamic systems and should be compatible with other local multipurpose cadastre systems and with larger networks of information. A balance is needed between demands at the local level and a need to keep open options that permit aggregation of data to higher levels of government.