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5 Conclusions 5.1 GENERAL CONCLUSIONS There is a critical need for a better land-information system in the United States to improve land-conveyance procedures, furnish a basis for equitable taxation, and provide much-needed information for resource management and environmental planning. Numerous conferences have been held and re- ports prepared that discuss the problems with our present land-information systems, such as duplication, lack of accessibility, single-purpose data systems, lack of standards, and institutional arrangements that limit coordination among land-related functions. The benefits resulting from the development and use of a multipurpose cadastre system have been recognized for some time. Most of the densely populated European countries have utilized such systems for many years. Multipurpose cadastre programs are being developed in portions of Canada and Mexico. Within the United States, the federal government, several states, and many communities are developing programs that provide an integral part of a multipurpose cadastre. Several states and some cities have control-survey- ing organizations that provide the framework for accurate mapping. Several communities have base-mapping programs that provide accurate large-scale maps with overlays depicting needed information. There is increasing utiliza- tion of computers and data systems by assessors, recorders, planners, title insurance companies, and utilities. Pilot programs are under way that will help to evaluate various components of a multipurpose cadastre. Current technology is adequate in most cases for the surveying, mapping, 101
102 NEED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE data collecting, filing, and dissemination of information. Improved surveying and mapping instruments and techniques will probably reduce the cost of some of the mapping required. Advancements in computer applications, com- munication networks, and copying processes offer promise of more-efficient use of the multipurpose cadastre. The major obstacles in the development of a multipurpose cadastre are the organizational and institutional requirements. Reorganization and improved quality control for existing governmental functions will be required. Each of the components of the cadastral system already exists somewhere within our existing governmental structure. Many of the required data are being generated at the local level, and in most cases the users are the individual citizens and the local government officials and planning organizations. Each state has orga- nizations that prepare maps and collect data that would be an integral part of a multipurpose cadastre. At present, much of this effort is directed toward a single purpose and cannot be utilized for other programs. The federal agencies conduct surveys, prepare maps, and collect information that would be required for the development of a multipurpose cadastre. The federal government has a need for vast amounts of information that must be collected through partic- ular programs such as the Taxable Property Values Survey and the monitoring of foreign ownership of land in the United States. The development of a multipurpose cadastre will require coordination be- tween various levels of government-local, state, and federalâas well as that of parallel organizations at each level. New laws that relate to governmental responsibilities, practices, and finances will be required in some areas. To en- sure the reliability of the information that is filed, standards and practices must be developed and uniformly adopted. Uniform indexing and common terms must be used in each community so that the information systems main- tained in various offices are compatible. Development of a multipurpose cadastre will be gradual. Many of the func- tions necessary for the land-information system are being performed now. Modifications of procedures and standards and progressive upgrading of maps and files will result in a cost-effective acceptable multipurpose cadastre, if carried out in coordinated, areawide programs. 5.2 SPECIFIC CONCLUSIONS 5.2.1 Local Level The cadastral records and other data registers are more related to functions of local government than to those of state or federal agencies. The primary uses of the multipurpose cadastre are related to local activity: real estate transfer,
Conclusions 103 assessments, zoning, location of utilities, and planning. In most communities, there is no single source of the much-needed information for these activities. An integrated land-information system as outlined in this report would pro- vide a coordinated approach that would eliminate much of the waste current- ly encountered in land-related activities. In addition to the savings in time and money, the decision-making process about local projects would be improved because of the ready access of all necessary information. It is essential that local governments be the access points for local land in- formation and that they have the primary responsibility for developing and maintaining the multipurpose cadastre in their community. There are about 3500 land-title-record systems in counties, towns, and cities in the United States. A few have developed components of a multipurpose cadastre. To pro- vide an efficient land-information system, most communities will require the following: 1. Coordination among existing land-related functions either by establish- ing an Office of Land Information Systems or by designating an existing office as the lead agency. 2. Standardization of procedures and terminology to assure efficient ac- quisition, storage, maintenance, and retrieval of land information and records within the community. 3. Preparation and maintenance of a system of base maps and cadastral overlays that meet standards for a multipurpose cadastre. 4. Creation and maintenance of a land-parcel register, including a unique parcel identifier, position of the parcel in a common reference frame, and data from boundary surveys, including boundaries of any easements or use restrictions. 5. Coordination with private sources such as utilities, transportation sys- tems, title insurance, and abstractors. 5.2.2 State Level Most of the laws relating to land titles, recording procedures, zoning practices, and surveying and mapping standards are state laws. Many of these laws and procedures are unique to a particular state. Generally, the states are responsi- ble for many land-related activities that are applicable statewide or regionally, such as transportation systems, state lands and water bodies, coastal zone management, and environmental regulations. Legislation will be required in a number of states to ensure the compatibility of county and local records with the multipurpose cadastre; committees of the American Bar Association and the North American Institute for Modernization of Land Data Systems are working on this problem. This legislation should address questions such as
104 NEED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE 1. Regulations for recording conveyances and subdivisions; 2. Surveying and mapping practices such as monumentation, computa- tions of coordinates, and property boundaries and filing of field notes, plats, and plans; 3. Funding of local cadastral system by fees and matching funds. Existing offices in many states are producing land-related information that would be helpful in the development of a multipurpose cadastre such as con- trol surveys, state and regional maps, basic survey and boundary information performed by federal and state agencies, and statewide transportation and utility systems. Because of the legal responsibilities and the interrelation of land-related activities, the state agencies are vital to the development of a multipurpose cadastre. An Office of Land Information Systems should be established in each state to 1. Promote effective, efficient, and compatible land-information systems within the state; 2. Establish standards for state, regional, and local surveying, mapping, and land-data-collection efforts; 3. Provide guidance to local offices such as recorders, assessors, engineers, and planners; 4. Serve as the focal point and clearinghouse for state and federal agencies that are collecting land information; 5. Coordinate the land-related information resources of other state agen- cies that are responsible for surveys, maps, state-owned lands, construction, zoning, and management of public lands. 5.2.3 Federal Level Most of the federal agencies are involved in collecting information, much of it land related or geographically oriented. In addition to being users of land in- formation, several federal agencies generate much of the basic information re- quired for the development of a multipurpose cadastre: control surveys by the National Geodetic Survey; maps by the U.S. Geological Survey; cadastral surveys of all public lands by the Bureau of Land Management; and surveys and maps by other agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, Tennessee Valley Authority, and Department of Housing and Urban Development. At present, there is minimal coordination of these efforts toward the establishment of a multipurpose cadastre. The most recent effort at coordination has been meetings held by the Bureau of Land Management, the National Geodetic Survey, and the U.S. Geological Survey to determine
Conclusions 105 the extent to which their current organizations can contribute to the pilot projects in Colorado. If an effective land-information system is to be established in the United States, it is imperative that the federal effort be coordinated through a single surveying and mapping agency as recommended by the report to the Office of Management and Budget by the Federal Mapping Task Force on Mapping, Charting, Geodesy and Surveying (1973) or that a lead agency for the multi- purpose cadastre be designated. In addition to performing their present functions relating to basic horizon- tal and vertical control surveys, small- and medium-scale mapping, cadastral surveys of all federally owned land, and filing of land information, the federal agencies have the facilities and expertise to help in the development of a multipurpose cadastre. Although some standards and procedures are only applicable to local situations, many of the standards and procedures can be used throughout the nation. It is appropriate that the federal agencies should continue technical studies that are beneficial throughout the country. Some of the technical subjects that should be addressed are 1. Integrating mechanisms for cadastral, cartographic, engineering, and geodetic surveying for federal and federally supported programs; 2. Integrating mechanisms for the storage and retrieval of other land infor- mation in data files; 3. Procedures for development of local systems, leading to the distribu- tion of prescribed methods and rules for ties to geodetic coordinate systems and adjustment of state plane coordinates for property boundary surveys; 4. Compatibility among the large-scale maps to be produced by the indi- vidual counties within each state. 5.2.4 Future Committee Activities This panel has concentrated its efforts on the basic components of the multi- purpose cadastre: (1) geodetic reference frame, (2) base maps, and (3) cadas- tral overlay. Other organizations are studying components of land-information systems, such as laws, computer applications, assessment practices, real estate transfer procedures, and computer mapping and records systems. The panel lacked the time to consider a number of subjects that developed during this study, such as detailed technical subjects and those related to other aspects of a land-information system. Further study by committees with members drawn from this panel and elsewhere should result in worthwhile recommendations about particular problems, such as
106 NEED FOR A MULTIPURPOSE CADASTRE 1. Evaluation of the technical standards currently available for the items listed in Section 4.3.1 as to their appropriateness for development of a multi- purpose cadastre; 2. The development of a multidisciplinary curriculum leading to a gradu- ate-level degree in the multipurpose cadastre; 3. Study and evaluation of the existing multipurpose cadastre efforts and pilot projects to determine their effectiveness; 4. Analysis of the Bureau of Land Management's Bureau Resource Infor- mation Management System activities and how they can be integrated into the multipurpose cadastre; 5. Mechanisms and suggested procedures for progressing from the rudi- mentary mapping and filing procedures discussed in the report to the more- advanced systems; 6. Economic analyses to determine the feasibility and cost of a federal program of assistance to states and localities for development of multipurpose cadastres as described in Section 4.3.2; 7. Development of a glossary of terms.