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4 Organizational Requirements fora Multipurpose Cadastre The preceding chapters have described the many ways in which multipurpose cadastral records systems can serve the public interest, the types of resources now available to build such systems in the United States, and the technical and operational requirements. This chapter suggests how the responsible pub- lic agencies should organize to build a network of such systems to eventually serve all 50 states. The benefits of modern cadastral systems have been clearly demonstrated in other nations. The purpose of this chapter is to show what it would take to build systems that would be of equivalent value to the United States, tailored to the unique institutions of government in this country. 4.1 PROPOSED APPROACH To build a modern multipurpose cadastre will require reorganization and quality control for existing governmental functions, rather than creation of new functions. Each of the components of a modern cadastral system already operates somewhere within each of the 50 states. Many of the required data already are being generated in the legally established functions of local gov- ernment. The most cost-effective way to build a multipurpose system is to link these many existing operations together so that the outputs of data avail- able from each of them can be shared and made available as inputs for others. Some degree of adaptation will be needed in the land records of each partici- pating agency, for example, in definitions of terms, in accuracy and precision 75
76 NEED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE of the data, and in frequency of updating files, to achieve compatibility with the related records of other agencies. The management of the cadastral records system should be undertaken as a joint venture of federal, state, and local governments, with the participation of the largest users and contributors in the private sector. The institution of compatible multipurpose cadastres throughout the country will require the assistance and leadership of a federal lead agency. As each level of govern- ment and the private sector develops a multipurpose cadastre based on its re- quirements, the federal lead agency should assist the various Offices of Land Information Systems in making its cadastre compatible with the national net- work. Compatible cadastres should be based on acceptable standards such as the Standards and Specifications for Geodetic Control (Federal Geodetic Coordinating Committee, 1974) and National Map Accuracy Standards (American Congress on Surveying and Mapping and American Society of Civil Engineers, 1972). Responsibility for maintaining each element of the system, in accordance with mutually acceptable national guidelines, should be as- signed by legislation within each state, responding to local needs and available resources. The major problems, in the early stages of the program, will be the development of a nationally applicable system and the coordination of func- tions through intergovernmental arrangements. As these are resolved in each state, the work should shift to the definition of technical standards and pro- cedures that can be instituted on a national basis. The localities that take the lead in resolving the technology of local land-records systems will be those where land values are higher and, therefore, more likely to be better equipped for early participation in the system. Meanwhile, the economics of bringing other governmental operations in more rural areas up to the technical stan- dards will control how quickly this becomes a national cadastral system. 4.1.1 Roots of the System in Local Government The content of land records is more related to functions of local government than to those of state or federal agencies. For any given parcel of land, there is more likely to be data already on file in the local property-assessment, county surveyor, municipal engineer, building department, and recorder's offices to support current functions than in state or federal offices. When there is a concern for location of the boundaries of a land parcel, the official record is the deed or plat on file at the deed recorder's office. For evaluation or interpretation of that record, one goes to the office of the local surveyor. If the land in question is a recent subdivision, the local engineering or plan- ning office normally will have reviewed the survey and plan of the boundaries prior to official recording. The investments being made by local governments every year in extending
Organizational Requirements for a Multipurpose Cadastre 77 and updating their files on land parcels are substantial. The file contents may seldom be maintained in a form adequate for engineering of a new federal project or for merger with data from neighboring areas in a regionwide or statewide analysis. Nevertheless, the files of local government agencies define the "state-of-the-land records" in most areas, and it would be folly to dupli- cate them rather than build upon them in a national program. We recommend that local governments be the primary access point for local land information. Each element of data in a local file that operates as part of a multipurpose cadastral records system should be the definitive record for that locality. There are advantages to having such records used for as many and diverse pur- poses as may be feasible. The more that any given data element is used, the more likely that any errors or inconsistencies in the data will be spotted, espe- cially in local government applications. We recommend that local governments maintain land data compatible with a multipurpose cadastre and transmit these data to higher levels of govern- ment when needed. 4.1.2 A Local Response to National Priorities Without federal leadership, there will be little chance of compatibility among the land-records systems of the individual states. Likewise, the individual county and municipal records will become compatible with each other only where standards and procedures are resolved by a higher level of government. The status of cadastral records today confirms this point. At the opposite ex- treme are the systems for which the federal government has set high standards for quality and frequency of reporting of local conditions as a prerequisite for receiving federal funds. Incentives of this type, for example, in fields such as water-pollution control, hospital administration, and aid to education, have caused local administrators to respond rapidly to modernize and standardize their data systems. To receive this kind of federal support requires a commitment of the fed- eral government, and especially the Congress, to the new program as a matter of priority. Legislation to assign a single agency the task of coordinating the federal functions relating to the cadastre was recommended in the report by the Federal Mapping Task Force (1973) and is concurred with in 1979-1980 by a concurrent group of the National Research Council, the Panel to Review the 1973 Federal Mapping Task Force Report. We recommend that federal legislation be prepared to authorize and fund a program to support the creation of a multipurpose cadastre in all parts of the nation. An important group of agencies, whose early commitment to a program
78 NEED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE for a national cadastre will be needed, is the present membership of the Fed- eral Geodetic Control Committee as given in Section 2.4.1. Equally critical is support from and, indeed, consequent enhancement of, the major national programs that would naturally use rather than functionally create a cadastral reference system. These programs include the environ- mental impact studies of the Environmental Protection Agency and, with direct pertinence, the Taxable Property Values survey, which the Bureau of the Census currently completes every five years for the Census of Govern- ments, and the National Resource Inventory compiled by the Department of Agriculture. The responsible officials need to be convinced that a program for modernizing public cadastral records into a coordinated system actually is a building block to reach one or even several other goals that have become national priorities, such as pollution control, protection of land areas that are critical for production of energy, and inventory of how much of our land is controlled by foreigners. The Survey of Taxable Property Values, mentioned in Section 220.127.116.11, has singular relevance because it necessarily and naturally nurtures and sustains a cooperative working relationship between the Bureau of the Census at the federal level and thousands of assessing, recording, tax collecting, and auto- mated data-processing officials of state and local governments throughout the country. It typifies federal efforts that continue unabated by virtue of a separate and long-established validity. It thus underscores the reality that record systems are not ends in themselves, at any level of government. Environmental responsibilities provide additional stimulus for support from the parent department responsible for the Census, the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Department's consultants on "The Effects of the National Environmental Policy Act in Corporation Decision Making" urge attention to "essential data bases for use in municipal procedures, and coordinated infor- mation about federal, state and local permits that may be needed for private- ly proposed actions and to coordinate any environmental reviews that may be required" (McCormick and Associates, 1978). The overall concepts of the multipurpose cadastral system that eventually win the support of the federal government will be tailored to the special needs of the United States. Technologies from other nations more advanced in cadastral records systems will be used to the extent that they serve the needs of the locality. Data-processing systems and software will be managed by governmental units commissioned separately by the governments of each of the states. The local governments that are and will continue to be the primary operators of the cadastral records systems have been aptly described as "crea- tures of the state." We recommend that each state authorize an Office of Land Information Systems, through legislation where necessary, to implement the multipurpose cadastre.
Organizational Requirements for a Multipurpose Cadastre 79 4.1.3 Precedents and Support from Other Intergovernmental Programs A variety of other functions of state and local governments, now totally accepted throughout the nation, originally were organized using this same approach of federal incentives to local action. An early example is the federal- aid highway program. The promise of federal funding for half of the construc- tion cost of the arterial highway system, plus associated planning and admin- istrative costs, has been sufficient incentive for the states to adopt extensive standards for highway design, traffic control, and safety systems for the en- tire highway network, far beyond the routes receiving the direct federal aid. Standardization of building codes has been another federal priority that depends on response by local governments with the objective of permitting larger-scale standardization of building components and mass production of them. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has main- tained a gentle but pervasive and effective movement in this direction by making some of its housing and community development assistance programs contingent on coordination of building codes across the state and by sponsor- ing national models. Administration of certain federal aid programs to local governments actu- ally requires a base of fairly accurate information on conditions in each local- ity affected, which then determines the amounts that each will receive. The federal revenue-sharing and block-grant programs, in particular, apportion fixed national total amounts among all localities using formulas that are weighted for local population, income levels, housing conditions, and various other factors. The federal payments in lieu of taxes to local school districts that are affected by children of employees of large federal installations de- pend on accurate, up-to-date reports of these local conditions. If a locality had a multipurpose cadastre in operation, at least two current indexes would be more accurate and up to date for these present federal aid allocations formulasâhousing conditions and annual estimates of population changes. Further, the availability of an organized data base containing the items on which localities already have the definitive records, such as land use, soil productivity, and construction activities, should make possible some more equitable allocations both of existing aid programs and new programs that can be anticipated in the general area of conservation of land and land- based resources. 4.1.4 General Comparison of Roles: Federal, State, Local, and Private Sectors The reliance on local governments to maintain the cadastral records for their respective areas establishes the general pattern of roles to be fulfilled by each level of government and the private sector to support a national network of
80 NEED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE multipurpose cadastral records for the United States. This section presents a general comparison of the roles, although they will vary somewhat for each of the four components of the system as described in more detail in the follow- ing section. Federal agencies should assume larger shares of responsibility for the components involving higher technology, standardization, and multistate integration, i.e., the primary survey control network and the systems of regional maps. Local agencies should assume larger shares of responsibility for the components that depend on unique local activities, i.e., the larger-scale cadastral maps, the land-parcel register, and the land-parcel data files. The most important federal roles in development of a national system of cadastral records could be characterized as providing leadership and support in (1) research and technical standards, (2) financial incentives to state and local governments to organize the records systems, (3) use and support of the local records by federal agencies whose operations relate to the land, (4) monitoring and program evaluation, and (5) setting an example of excellence in federal land records. Furthermore, the multipurpose cadastre will become the official reference framework for much of the local land data used by federal agencies in their routine governmental functions, such as those listed in Section 2.1 and subsections. The essential role of each state government will be the management of the cadastral-records improvement program for its area. State governments have the power to authorize provision of elements of the system by either state or local agencies, plus the use of standard terms and procedures, and to mandate these contributions where necessary. The state, in cooperation with local governments, should assume responsibility for a complete range of system- development activities, including organization of local programs, training and qualifying personnel, administration of financial aid to localities (including any federal funds available), coordination with other programs that generate or use the data in the local files, and the aggregation and forwarding of local data to federal programs. It will be up to each local government to reorganize and maintain the files for its own land area, as mentioned earlier, and to take maximum advantage of them for the planning and administration of local programs. Local govern- ments will be the operating agencies-the providers of this public service- once the cadastral-records systems are in place. Many components of this work may be contracted out to private consult- ing organizations or service bureaus, depending on the technical resources available for each locality. The assistance of private consultants will especially be needed in the earlier stages of development. Many local governments may rely on contractors to own and operate all the hardware, with only the soft- ware and the file content being public property. Such contractors in effect would be "information utilities," whose contracts would extend for periods
Organizational Requirements for a Multipurpose Cadastre 81 of several years at a time but would be renewable only through competitive bidding. At the private level, the utilities should be involved in providing data and financially supporting the cadastral system. Their input and support might be voluntary but could be mandated by the appropriate utility regulatory agency. Meanwhile, the actual users of the cadastral system will be primarily indi- vidual land owners and private business or professional organizations in fields such as real estate, banking, utilities, law, engineering, and economic research and local, regional, state, and federal governmental agencies, regardless of whether the maintenance of the system is contracted to the private sector in a locality. Programs for improvement of cadastral records must be tested against the existing needs and investments of the users of the records systems in each area. Public hearings will help to elicit at least the opposition to the changes. Resistance from parties reluctant to have the extent of their land holdings be- come known should be expectedâmining and petroleum companies, for example. In addition, public-information campaigns will be needed to elicit constructive criticism from citizens who will need to use the improved sys- tems. 4.2 RESPONSIBILITIES FOR EACH COMPONENT OF THE SYSTEM This section suggests how the federal, state, and local governmental roles, plus the roles of private contractors and users, could best be sorted out for each of three aspects of a multipurpose cadastre: (1) the reference frame, (2) base maps and cadastral overlays, and (3) the register of cadastral parcels. However, no attempt is made to specify which agency or agencies within the federal government should assume the lead role. 4.2.1 The Geodetic Reference Network The geodetic control used for cadastral surveys must be a single, integrated network of reference points on the ground, covering the entire area of the land parcels that are to be related to each other. For most purposes of cadas- tral-records systems, this means covering the entire continental United States. Any other arrangement would create intolerable confusion along the bound- aries of the independent control networks. Fortunately, there are other uses of locational referencing systems, such as navigation, which require that control networks be integrated worldwide.
82 NEED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE The reference frame for a modern cadastral records system will consist of many interlocking networks of survey control maintained simultaneously at the federal, state, and local levels, although the local networks may be pro- vided only in the urban regions of the nation where land is more valuable. The National Geodetic Survey provides the "trunk system" of the strongest and most accurate first- and second-order control points established with reference to its continental survey network, with points now available in every state. A state agency must take responsibility for assuring that a sup- plementary network of control points, second order or better, referenced to the national system, can be reached within a reasonable distance of every land parcel to provide a definitive reference for local surveys. The extension and maintenance of this control network should be coordinated with the National Geodetic Survey. Further, states should delegate to their local governments the responsibility for maintaining the even more dense network of survey control points needed to confirm property boundaries, utility-line locations, and similar location-specific data, at least in the areas of relatively high land values. The national network of first- and second-order control points is well established, and there has been constant attention to its maintenance and updating by the National Geodetic Survey, as described in Section 2.4.1. The attention given by state governments to maintaining a sufficiently dense network of supplementary control points, however, has been mixed, and quite insufficient in most states. None of the states, nor the federal govern- ment, currently maintains a network of sufficient density to meet the stan- dards of availability of geodetic control described in Sections 3.1.2 and 3.1.3. Some have come close, at one time or another, through short-term programs to upgrade large areas to a higher standard, such as the Massachusetts Geo- detic Survey sponsored by the Work Projects Administration (Massachusetts Department of Public Works, 1936). However, a network of control points gradually loses its value over time, if the responsibility for maintaining the network has not been assumed as a permanent public function. It has been estimated that an average of 5 percent of the points in a survey control net- work are lost each year because of accidental or careless destruction of survey monuments. A statewide survey program of densification of survey control does not require that state agencies do all the work. One of the more successful state programs, in New Jersey, provides state assistance to county governments that will densify second-order control networks to state standards. The essen- tial role of the state is management and coordination of the overall improve- ment and maintenance program, providing state aid where necessary. The role is seldom effective unless all of these resources and responsibilities are coor- dinated by a single state agency.
Organizational Requirements for a Multipurpose Cadastre 83 A state program can take advantage of monumentation placed by others along transportation corridors or major utility lines, for example. On feder- ally owned land, the federal Bureau of Land Management has been respon- sible for placement and maintenance of section corner monuments in 30 of the states, although these functions are being transferred to a responsible state agency wherever possible, as provided in 43 USC 55. The Bureau of Land Management has issued instructions in 1979 and 1980 for planning the integration of section corner monuments on these federal lands into the national geodetic control network. We recommend that the Bureau of Land Management proceed with its plans to position the network of Public Land Survey monuments that mark the corners of sections and quarter sections that are located on federal land and to integrate them with the national geodetic control network. For the maintenance of geodetic control points, local governments that have sufficient resources, such as counties with substantial urbanized areas, may serve as partners with the state. In many parts of the nation, however, there is no survey or engineering capacity at either the county or municipal level. The state control survey agency should take responsibility for arrange- ments to serve such areas, tailored to local conditions. Maintenance of the control points may be assigned to the state agency itself for many such areas; others may be able to rely on the agencies that manage large public tracts to maintain much of the network, for example, the Bureau of Land Manage- ment for the federal holdings that cover much of the western United States. A special task that is more uniformly a local responsibility is the inspec- tion and approval of private development plans to assure that they meet pub- lic standards for land subdivision. These standards should include placement of appropriate monuments at the key points along new streets, for con- venience of affirmation of property boundaries. Traditionally, stone monu- ments have been preferred, located where the property lines intersect at each corner of a street intersection. However, experience has shown that such locations are often vulnerable during construction. A more ideal system for modern survey equipment is a single monument buried about one-half meter below the pavement at each street intersection, with a removable cover for access. Local monumentation at street intersections is of particular value to utility companies that maintain buried lines. An arrangement for effectively sharing the cost of maintaining the system between the local government and the private utility companies should be considered. 4.2.2 Base Maps and Cadastral Overlays The cadastral mapping function, to be cost effective, must be closely linked to the functions of local government. The primary uses of the property maps
84 NEED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE among the agencies of local government are (1) property assessment, (2) planning and engineering, (3) legal indexing of deeds and other title records, and (4) management of public utility and service systems. Each of these func- tions has its own, special demands for the accuracy or completeness of the map system. Together, they can readily justify and support a modern system of base maps and cadastral overlays. However, when each is left to provide for its own needs, one typically finds that separate, incompatible map systems are produced for the assessment function and for the engineering and manage- ment functions, with added expense to the taxpayer, and with neither system as valuable to other users as would be an integrated, modern cadastre. There- fore, to provide for national compatibility, the development of base maps should be coordinated with the U.S. Geological Survey and the development of cadastral overlays should be coordinated with the Bureau of Land Manage- ment or a designated federal cadastral agency. These local functions that make heaviest use of cadastral maps also con- trol, in their daily operations, the transactions that must be reflected in the continuous updating of the individual cadastral overlays. Where the trans- actions involve changes of boundaries of private properties, powers of ap- proval over the new boundaries and other improvements required of the de- veloper have been given to local governments in most urban areas and should become a standard practice nationwide. This normally involves an engineering review of the subdivision plans, which is the logical time for assigning the new or changed parcel index numbers that are essential for the property register and data files, as described in the following sections. In most parts of the United States, it is the county governments that can best assume responsibility for production and maintenance of the cadastral map (or "property map") system and for organizing the land-records office for this and other related functions serving the county. Recording of deeds is a county function in 47 states (the only exceptions being Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont), and property assessment is also a general county func- tion in 33 states, although shared with a few municipalities in four of them (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1979). Many counties also perform the functions of local governments described in Section 4.1.1. The land-records improvement program legislated in 1977 by the State of North Carolina is a model of this approach. As described in Section 18.104.22.168, the program is managed by a small state office, part of the Department of Administration, which provides technical assistance and leadership in the organization of a land-records office in each county. Responsibilities of the county land-records offices include property mapping and parcel identifica- tion services supporting the four types of user agencies listed above. The State of New York also has invested heavily in a system of property maps produced and maintained by counties for their assessment functions but without the
Organizational Requirements for a Multipurpose Cadastre 85 direct involvement of the recorders of deeds, which has been noteworthy in the North Carolina program. Some states will find that their support for the production and mainte- nance of the map system will need to go further than just technical and financial assistance. In Vermont, for example, all four of the functions listed at the beginning of this section are assigned to the cities and townships, rather than counties, few of which had made the effort to acquire adequate cadas- tral maps prior to 1974. At that point, the state undertook the Vermont Map- ping Program, which so far has blanketed about half of the state with ortho- photo base maps, at a scale of 1:5000, with larger scales for built-up areas. Drawing of the cadastral overlays on these base maps is left to local officials, typically the assessors. The results are of great value for administering the unique regulations of land use and development enforced by the State of Vermont, as well as in local government. It would be valuable for other states that lack a broad-based system of county government, particularly in New England, to emulate Vermont's lead- ership in establishing a standard base-map system, but they should go even further in organizing and monitoring the completion of the cadastral overlays. A state agency should designate some local office to take responsibility for the cadastral overlays and parcel identification for each area, whether it be an office of the city, the county, a special regional district, a regional office of a state administrative agency, or a combination of these that draws on the best resources available in each part of the state. The cost of producing and maintaining accurate and complete property maps has been perhaps the greatest single obstacle to organizing a modern cadastral records system in most localities. It also is an obstacle that must be overcome early in the local improvement program. Federal financial assist- ance for cadastral mapping by local governments will be especially important if there is to be progress in every state toward establishment of a cadastre. Further, a mapping program has other attributes that make it a logical candi- date for federal assistance. Under a federal program, map production is more likely to be coordinated for broader areas, allowing the maps to be produced more efficiently using the new technology described earlier in this report. Supervision of this type of operation may require specialists from time to time, who could be trained and dispatched by the responsibile federal agency as needed to assist the state officials in managing the mapping contracts. The maps are a tangible product, and output can be readily monitored for both quality and productivity of the federal investment. Further, benefits will be enjoyed by a wide range of activities of local, state, and federal government and in private land use and development, far beyond the functions of local government, which would be the direct recipient of a federal assistance pro- gram for cadastral mapping.
86 NEED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE 4.2.3 The Register of Cadastral Parcels The land-parcel register essentially is the inventory of all land in the given district, with records of boundary locations and acreage of each parcel, kept current and accurate to serve the multiple purposes of a cadastral records system. Its purpose is to identify all land-ownership parcels, using numbers that then serve as indexes to other records where descriptions of the land, its ownership, and its resources can be found. By including all streets and other public tracts as well in this total inventory of land parcels, a check of the sum of the acreage figures against the total land area of the district is possible. The register provides the "minimum data set" on land parcelsâthe definitive framework to which all other data files on land then can be attached. Maintenance of the land-parcel register is logically a function of the county land-records office, or its equivalent in that locality. Changes in both the register and in the cadastral overlays maintained by that office should be simultaneous. An early warning of any impending changes normally will have been received during the review of subdivision plans by the local planning or engineering office, when the cadastral office is consulted regarding the tenta- tive identification numbers that should be assigned to each proposed new parcel. The new numbers will remain tentative in the records of the cadas- tral office until confirmation is received from the recorder of deeds that the division of property creating the new parcel has been officially recorded. Each parcel identified in the land-parcel register should be supported by a land-parcel description file containing the recorded plat, plans, field notes, and any other results of surveys that also are part of the public record, all filed or at least referenced under the same identification number. Extraction of the digital data from these records forms a data base for producing cadas- tral parcel maps. Standards for these survey records are described in Section 3.5. At present, the contents of this file normally are kept by the recorder of deeds but should be transferred to the county land-records office once it is established. The completion of these survey records to high, professional standards is one of the most important roles of the private sector in building a multipurpose cadastre. 4.3 NEW COMMITMENTS AND RESOURCES NEEDED The performance needed in each component of the multipurpose cadastre has been discussed at length in previous sections. This section indicates which units of government should be called on to provide the necessary policy sup- port and resources, grouped according to the commitments needed.
Organizational Requirements for a Multipurpose Cadastre 87 4.3.1 Federal Technical Studies to Identify Standards An integrated system of land information must have clear standards for the collection, maintenance, and representation of land data. Many of these stan- dards must be established on national and statewide bases to ensure compati- bility. Among these are standards for mapping, filing, and recording land data. Because a common index depends on a survey base, it is appropriate that standards for land survey and section corner monumentation be at least of a statewide nature. This does not necessarily demand a single standard but could imply a series of well-defined standards, each appropriate to particular types of local jurisdictions. Some standard setting can remain at the local level but should be coordinated with national procedures for accessing the data. We recommend that technical studies continue 10 be sponsored by the fed- eral 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 national basis, delegating these functions to local governments where appropriate. The following tech- nical subjects should be addressed: â¢ Integrating mechanisms for cadastral, cartographic, engineering, and geodetic surveying for federal and federally supported programs; â¢ Integrating mechanisms for the storage and retrieval of other land in- formation in data files; â¢ Procedures for development of local systems, leading to the distribution of prescribed methods and rules for (1) ties to geodetic coordinate systems and (2) adjustment of coordinates for property boundary surveys and related subjects; and â¢ Compatibility among the large-scale maps to be produced by the indi- vidual counties within each state. To recommend the technical requirements for a national system normally does not require formal organization or reorganization of any federal agen- cies. Such studies are completed in almost all fields of national concern from time to time, by bringing together the best available expertise from whatever source, often convened by an executive office, which has the mission to fur- ther the particular program. Agencies that now serve as important sources of expertise in cadastral systems will continue to do so, notably the Bureau of Land Management, the National Geodetic Survey, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Defense Mapping Agency. Other member agencies of the Federal Geodetic Control Committee, given in Section 2.4.1, also will have important contributions to make. Standards for definitions of terms and accessing the
88 NEED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE files will be of concern to many other federal agencies that will use them or whose constituents will use them; notably the Bureau of the Census, the De- partment of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Agri- culture, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The scope of these recommended standards eventually should reach into all areas of technical requirements described in Chapter 3. The technical studies will be time consuming but need not be costly, in a subject area such as cadastral systems where the problems are more in the organization and assignment of responsibilities than in development of new technology. Experts from federal agencies should be available on loan, for limited time, especially if the studies are commissioned by federal legisla- tion. The same should be true for a sufficient number of state and local gov- ernmental representatives to participate in the studies. However, the most difficult commitment to obtain for the success of the studies will be the designation of the coordinating or host agency, preferably an agency with a new legislative mandate to foster standard procedures for a multipurpose cadastre on a definite schedule. The ideal host agency would be the one created for the other type of supportive federal role described in the following section if, and when, this can be accomplished. In the meantime, the National Research Council could provide a valuable head start in these technical studies by convening several panels to cover the technical subjects listed in the recommendation above that are not being covered by current studies of other federal agencies. 4.3.2 A Program of Federal Assistance To gain the cooperation of the 50 states, and the commitment of their re- sources to a national multipurpose cadastre, will require an intelligent "soft" approach with flexibility to bargain with each state in relation to its current needs and resources. This mission is distinct from the resolution of the "hard" technical standards described in the preceding section. The agency that pro- vides federal leadership in development of the cadastre should use the tech- nical expertise already available in the agencies listed above but must develop its own expertise in mobilizing state and local governments with the appro- priate financial and regulatory incentives. We recommend the establishment of federal cooperative agreements with states and/or local governments to conduct, for example, survey control operations, mapping and remonumentation of property comers under federal or state guidelines and to provide technical assistance and funding for these efforts. The urgent missions of a new federal program in its early years will be sys-
Organizational Requirements for a Multipurpose Cadastre 89 tem design and development. The classification and evaluation of existing land records in each of the 3042 counties of the United States has not been done to date in such a way as to constitute a multipurpose cadastre. There will be important feedbacks between these evaluations of existing local systems and the development of technical standards described in the pre- ceding subsection. Meanwhile, an important function ot a new federal program, especially for building its contacts and credibility among state and local officials, will be technical assistance to local cadastral improvement projects, including refer- rals to other federal agencies and organizing interagency missions to local projects where special expertise is needed. This particular arm of a new fed- eral program should be left fairly flexible to respond to whatever technical areas within the overall scope of a cadastral system appear to have the highest levels of demand from the localities. Likely, early priorities will be base map- ping, criteria for delineating areas of environmental controls such as wetlands, and precise definitions of terms for compatibility among local data files. Ties with state and local programs also can be fostered by grants to demonstrate model multipurpose cadastral systems. Ideally, these should take advantage of the innovative local projects already under way in various specialized aspects of the cadastre by funding the extension of these projects in the direction of the multipurpose cadastre. Likely candidates for research, demonstration, and technical assistance grants in some regions of the United States may be the federally sponsored multistate agencies such as the Tennes- see Valley Authority and the New England River Basins Commission. The designated federal agency for cadastral system development will need the support of the Executive Office to enforce the technical standards and adherence to administrative procedures among the other established federal agencies. This agency also should be responsible for adherence to its standards by state and local recipients of federal assistance. We recommend that federal agencies that impose restrictions on the use of lands should be required to file those restrictions with the appropriate state or county recording office. We recommend that all federally funded programs that produce compo- nents of a multipurpose national cadastre, such as right-of-way surveys or large-scale maps, should be required to adhere to a federal plan that estab- lishes the format for these components or, until such a plan is adopted, to the individual state plan, if any. Eventually, improvement of cadastral systems will depend on governmental appropriations at one level or another. However, the amount needed to bring existing records up to the new standards will vary significantly for different localities. Costs per land area will be much higher in the urban areas, where the land values and ownership parcels are highly concentrated. However, costs
90 NEED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE per parcel or per capita will be higher in the less-developed rural areas, where there is a much higher ratio of land and resource values per person. One preliminary reading on the level of investment required over the long run is provided by the report to Congress prepared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (1979) on the feasibility of establishing a multipurpose land-data system, in this case as a vehicle for monitoring the level of control of land in the United States by foreigners. Rough estimates compiled for that report by the Harvard Laboratory for Computer Graphics indicated that the cost of building such a data system would be in the neighborhood of $3.35 billion, assuming that none of the existing local maps and files could be used without conversion to new bases. However, some substantial share of the existing local resources in fact should be acceptable, at least for an interim level of techni- cal standards. In this report to Congress (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1979, Volume 2, p. 166) it was approximated that existing records would serve for about two thirds of a new multipurpose land-data system, so that an additional $1.2 billion was estimated to be needed from other sources. Both the total and the net cost figures suggested in the preceding para- graph will be higher when the objective is a cadastral system meeting the re- quirements set forth in Chapter 1, rather than a land-data system for report- ing ownership. The standards for accuracy and consistency assumed for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (1979) study were somewhat lower than will be required for a system that eventually will serve as the foundation for all public records regarding the land. On the other hand, none of these amounts is actually large in relation to the losses being suffered throughout our econ- omy because of shortcomings in our existing land-records systems, in which billions of dollars are going to be invested anyway over the period of 10 to 20 years that would be required to realize an adequate multipurpose cadas- tral system, as described in Section 2.1. Furthermore, the federal participation in these costs should not need to be more than some limited percentage of matching funds, sufficient to stimulate state and local investments in updating maps and files earlier than the normal schedule and with tight quality control on the data being entered. Based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (1979), the net new investment required nationally will be on the order of $1.2 billion spread over 10 years. An appro- priate level of federal matching funds is 40 percent, contingent on a minimum additional contribution of 20 percent by each individual state. Based on these assumptions, the federal cost for this financial assistance would average $48 million per year, in 1979 dollars. It would not be appropriate to begin the direct financial assistance pro- gram until the tasks of system design and development are substantially com- plete. During its organizational period, which could require several years, the
Organizational Requirements for a Multipurpose Cadastre 91 designated federal cadastral system development agency could operate with a budget of a few millions of dollars, a figure that should be resolved as soon as possible in the drafting of the initial federal legislation. The major financial commitment for the local assistance program would then be reconsidered by the Congress, based on the findings and proposals developed in the organiza- tion of the new program. 4.3.3 Active Participation and Support by State Governments Section 4.1.2 indicates the need to have each state authorize a cadastral im- provement program office. This section will describe in greater detail the roles of this office in the intergovernmental context. The intergovernmental arrangements necessary for a cadastral improve- ment program will be impossible without active participation of a state pro- gram office. For example, a state office concerned with title and boundary records is needed, if only to provide standards for local officials, as recom- mended by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (1977) in a model act. Adherence to such standards will permit other state agencies to realize substantial savings in their land-related operations, whether they require information regarding the land or a system for record- ing their own policies and actions. Coordination with many federal programs will be enhanced by having a common, standard reference system for all land- related data, for example, for establishing an atlas of environmentally sensi- tive areas for each municipality, as recommended for the federal environmen- tal protection program by McCormick and Associates (1978, p. viii). We recommend that the Office of Land Information Systems established by each state, as recommended above in Section 4.1.2, be responsible for â¢ Promoting effective, efficient, and compatible land-information systems among governmental levels, in cooperation with the federal government to en- sure compatibility on a national basis; â¢ Setting standards for state, regional, and local government surveying, mapping, and land-data-collection efforts, making use of federal technical studies; â¢ Providing guidance to those local offices with major responsibilities for land information, namely, recorders, assessors, surveyors, engineers, and planners; â¢ Serving as the focal point and clearinghouse for state and federal agen- cies collecting or mapping land information, taking responsibility for the quality of the information that is forwarded; â¢ Enlisting the resources of other state agencies having important contri- butions to make to the development of the cadastral system, especially those
92 NEED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE responsible for land assembly, construction, management of public lands, and efficiency of state administrative services; and â¢ Recording and transmitting land-related documents and information filed by out-of-state groups such as private, federal, and alien organizations. A number of precedents are available from similar efforts to organize new state program offices in response to national priorities with federal financial assistance. One of these is in the field of public employee training programs (which actually should play some role in a cadastral improvement program). States that did not already have training offices offering programs to upgrade general skills of both state and local governmental employees organized such offices in the early 1970's in order to become eligible for federal training pro- gram grants under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act. One of the relevant federal requirements for this type of grant program is that the state establish a general plan to accomplish the desired objectives. In the case of a cadastral improvement program, such plans will involve complex technical work, for example, a plan for a cadastral map system covering the state, which most states could not be expected to complete until at least some form of federal financial assistance for the technical studies has begun to flow. We recommend that states enact legislation to ensure the compatibility of county and local records with the multipurpose cadastre. This legislation should address such questions as â¢ R emulations for recording conveyances and subdivisions, â¢ Mandatory recording of field notes and plans (or "plats "), â¢ Regulations specifying monumentation and computation of location coordinates of property boundary comers, â¢ Requirements for survey and positioning of utilities on cadastral maps, and â¢ Matching funds for local cadastral systems that meet state standards. Examples of the benefits of state enforcement of standards for local func- tions, along with technical assistance and grants-in-aid, can be seen in a great many fields, ranging from public education, which predominates many local government budgets, to traffic control structures. Grants-in-aid for local prop- erty mapping already are provided by 10 states and at least technical assist- ance in this function by 15 others (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1979, Vol. 2, p. 91). Thus, program-development offices for at least this component of the multipurpose cadastre already exist. The incentive of matching funds from a state office can be especially effective where they are supplemented by fed- eral grant funds for the same purpose. This piggyback funding arrangement is very much desired by state agencies that administer their own matching fund programs. Supplementary state contributions should be a condition of the provision of the federal aid funds recommended earlier in this section.
Organizational Requirements for a Multipurpose Cadastre 93 4.3.4 Participation and Executive-Level Support by Local Governments The several functions of each local government that must be coordinated with and that feed data into a cadastral system were listed in Section 4.1.1. The use of land-related data is so pervasive in the functions of local government that it will become systematic and coordinated with state standards only where this is a priority of the local chief executive. The programs of federal and state assistance should be designed to give every kind of support that is feasible to this priority. We recommend that each county government (or municipality where appropriate) consider creating an Office of Land Information Systems, in co- ordination with the offices of the recorder of deeds, county surveyor, assessor, planner, and county abstractor, if any. The functions of the new office would include the following: â¢ Standardization of procedures among all the responsible county and municipal agencies to assure efficient acquisition, storage, maintenance, and retrieval of land information and records within the county; â¢ Supervising, or at least monitoring, the production and maintenance of a system of county base maps and cadastral overlays that meet state standards for the multipurpose cadastre as described in Section 4.2.2; and â¢ Creation and maintenance of the land-parcel register described in Sec- tion 4.2.3, including the recording of land information or restrictions ema- nating from municipalities or special-purpose districts within the county, the filing of which by those other offices would be mandatory, by state legisla- tion. The functions of the new land-information, or land-records, office serving each locality would in general be the maintenance of the multipurpose ca- dastre, which eventually would provide the full scope of services described in Chapter 1. Because this office would have ties to state-level record systems, as well as those of constituent districts of the county, it also should become the local outlet for the public-land records of the state. Eventually, with com- patibility at the interstate level, it may be possible for the county land-infor- mation office anywhere in the country to respond to requests for information regarding any other county and possibly even to receive documents regarding land in other counties to be forwarded to them for their official records. 4.3.5 Policies to be Resolved with National Interest Groups At least three general issues concerning the operation of a cadastral system will be of major interest to private parties that use such systems and should be reviewed with the national organizations representing these interests.
94 NEED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE Perhaps the heaviest investors in cadastral information among the private in- dustries are the utility companies. Typically, they provide base maps for them- selves and in some areas even offer these gratis to the engineering departments of the smaller municipalities as the only accurate, large-scale base maps avail- able. However, the pilot projects in both Norristown, Pennsylvania (Regional Mapping and Land Records program) and Memphis, Tennessee (Computer Assisted Mapping and Record Activities Systems program) desciibed in Sec- tions 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199, respectively, have shown how combined, large-scale mapping and cadastral records services can be offered to both the municipal engineering office and the companies that maintain utility-system structures and distribution networks, realizing economies not possible for either organi- zation alone. Endorsement of this approach by the state and national organi- zations representing the utility companies and their technical staffs should be sought. Second, increased user fees to finance at least part of the cost of develop- ing a cadastral system should be considered. Currently, many counties are able to cover most of the cost of operating the deed recorder's office through the fees charged for recording or registration of documents. Some municipali- ties charge fees for certificates that confirm the status of certain parcels of land in the municipal records, notably the status of real estate tax payments or other liens. Higher fees for these services may be justified where a cadas- tral system is used, since it will offer faster retrieval of data and the ability to assemble composite data for many parcels at a time. Increases in user fees will be of special concern to the real estate industry and should be discussed in advance with representatives of brokers and title lawyers. Third, the establishment of a cadastral system will improve both the effi- ciency and effectiveness of title search and help to realize the objectives of the Uniform Simplification of Land Transfers Act (National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, 1977). Representation of the Ameri- can Bar Association and any other specialized associations of title abstractors or conveyancers should be engaged in review of the proposed cadastral im- provement programs at both national and state levels. At the national level, liaison with these types of associations should be a special concern of the new federal cadastral system development program or, in the interim, of those who are sponsoring the new legislation. 4.3.6 Program Evaluation The risks of misguided or misunderstood requirements and regulations, which can occur in any new governmental program, can be reduced by evaluation of each major program proposal by an independent agency. The most-likely sponsors of such evaluations, who will need them in the legislative process,
Organizational Requirements for a Multipurpose Cadastre 95 will be the appropriations committees of Congress and their counterparts in state legislatures. Some of these evaluations might best be conducted by an independent governmental unit such as the General Accounting Office or the legislative oversight committee of a state. Others might better be contracted from the executive level of the government to an independent research orga- nization. The list of candidates for such contracts should include university faculties that are developing programs of study of cadastral-system require- ments. Other candidates might be nonprofit research organizations with ex- pertise in this area. Whatever vehicle is chosen for the program evaluations, the primary concern should be how much improvement in land-information services is being offered to the users of the new multipurpose cadastral sys- tems, and at what cost. 4.3.7 Professional Development A cadastre is a significant part of the larger land-information system. It con- tains specific information about land parcels. It also provides a framework for indexing other land records. Understanding the dynamic relationship between parts of the system and the role of the system in the decision-making process precedes system design or improvement. Land information has characteristics that make the design problem partic- ularly difficult: 1. Land information appears in a wide variety of forms. Parcel boundary information, zoning regulations, and wetland descriptions are examples of this diversity. 2. Individual land-information files are assembled in a form to provide an- swers to narrowly defined questions. What is called system design is often a re- sponse to narrowly perceived problems. The problems are often addressed in a crisis context. This delays consideration of the larger needs. It makes it diffi- cult to assemble a broad-based solution to common information requirements. 3. Land information belongs to that class of knowledge whose value is not easily measured by traditional benefit analysts. Thus, arguments for alterna- tive information systems are often not in a politically popular form. Rather, the arguments rely on demonstrating the cost of continuing to operate in the traditional ways. Ultimately, the arguments rest on the conviction that there is a better way to handle land information and that society's need to know the land demands serious attention to the land-information problem. 4. Land information is everyone's concern, which results in no one taking responsibility for it. Individual public data files are held as the property of individual agencies. But no agency is concerned with the problem of informa- tion flow among agencies.
96 NEED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE There is a need to identify a federal agency committed to the improve- ment of land-information science and having the resources to foster this com- mitment. Lacking an adequate land-information science, the following sce- nario could develop. Congress decides that the status of land-information records is a problem. Where are the people with the requisite perspective and knowledge to super- vise or advise the formulation of a solution? This dilemma may be the most basic problem in the design and implementation of land-information systems. The resolution of this problem requires an answer to yet another question. What institution makes available to people the conditions and time to address questions of the type that we have discussed? Where is the mechanism to train people with the broad view and deep understanding of the problem? The answer to both these questions is the university. The current problem is that there are few people with broad experience or knowledge, while the problem is large and diverse. The immediate objective is to train scholars and teachers who will in turn prepare other professionals and workers for the variety of land-information activities. Direct experience with the problems of land-data systems is essential. We conclude that the current situation demands an effort at the top of the educational structure because there is no base to build upon. We recommend support by the federal government for the establishment of a center or centers of excellence in land-information science, for the pur- pose of providing a program that develops scholars and professionals. The curriculum should include direct experience with land-data-systems problems. A small number of disciplines should be incorporated in the university cen- ter^). Planning, land economy, law, and surveying are essential. Several disci- plines may operate at one center, or each center may emphasize one or more disciplines. Support for faculty and research at this level within the university suggests that strategies will be devised which emphasize the resolution of immediate problems while keeping open options for the achievement of long-range goals. University centers can provide the high profile organization that focuses at- tention on the problem. They also provide a resource for use by the land- information professionals. Ultimately, they can produce an understanding of the concept of land-information science. 4.4 STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT OF A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE The recommendations advanced so far in this section relate to the ideal multi- purpose cadastre that can only be afforded in the counties with relatively high urban land values at the outset and perhaps not until well into the twenty-first century for some of the more remote areas of the nation. How-
Organizational Requirements for a Multipurpose Cadastre 97 ever, the more typical counties can realize the benefits of tying together the several components of such a system long before they have reached the ideal levels of completeness and accuracy, that is, creating something less than the ideal records system, which will be referred to here as a Class AA cadastre. The need to define acceptable interim records systems will become clearer when the state agency responsible for managing a cadastral-records improve- ment program introduces the dimensions of cost and time into its statewide plans. The program should provide a scenario for each county to move toward the more ideal cadastre while providing its constituents with at least some benefits of coordinated records in the meantime. It is for purposes of such a scenario that suggested definitions of Class A and Class B cadastres, in relation to the ideal Class AA cadastre, are outlined in Table 4.1. Each class is intended to represent typical existing situations that appear to be working, rather than prescribed minimum standards. The definition of the Class B and Class A cadastres offered here are almost identical to the "Typology of Multipurpose Land Data Systems," Level B and Level A, respectively, recommended in the Report to Congress of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (1979, specifically, Table 10D-1). However, that typology does not reach the level of legal and engineering records of locations of property boundaries and structures, for which the Class AA cadastre is recommended here as the ideal. The first step in the typical locality will be to bring the existing record sys- tems into conformance with the minimums for a Class B cadastre. A cadastre at this level offers a full range of data files indexed to the parcel identifiers but with a map system that is insufficient to yield accurate geographic loca- tions of each parcel. Such a map would show relative sizes, shapes, and posi- tions of each parcel, e.g., as do most local property maps. The establishment of a system of accurate base maps and cadastral over- lays, tied to geodetic control, will permit a locality to move up to a Class A cadastre. This will provide essentially all of the other attributes of a Class AA system aside from the legal record of the results of field surveys. Instead, locations of boundaries in either the Class A or Class B system are given by references to appropriate property maps or, where more specific measure- ments are required, to the survey or plat that has been recorded, to define the given parcel. The prototype Class AA cadastre contains the official numerical records of field surveys, in addition to the other functions of the multipurpose cadastral system that would also be in a Class A system. The special value of a Class AA cadastre is direct access to the complete legal descriptions necessary for resolving any questions of property boundaries. The coordinates that locate the property boundaries become part of the official public record, computed
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100 NEED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE directly from the field survey measurements. The prototype Class AA cadas- tre should include computational programs for adjusting the coordinates of the network ot property lines in the public records, if necessary, when new or more accurate field measurements are submitted. The components that differ the most between the Class B and the Class AA cadastres suggested here are geodetic control, cadastral mapping, and in- tegration of survey records. These also are the components that will be the most expensive for the typical county and are more difficult to justify for their own sakes than are, for example, the steps that permit sharing of data files on land parcels among the county agencies. Essentially, by offering Class B or Class A systems as interim alternatives, counties will be offered the op- tion of moving more quickly toward integration of their deed records and other land-parcel data around the standard parcel identifier numbers, and stretching out the further investments in mapping of property boundaries to the higher levels of accuracy required by certain users of a multipurpose cadastre.