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The Cadastre as a Tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Edward KURWAKUMIRE, Zimbabwe

Key words: Cadastre, Automation,Land Management, Economic Growth


A nations natural resources with land at the apex form the basis of economic growth in most
developing nations since the bulk of a nations raw materials required for industry be it agro,
chemical or automotive are extracted form these natural resources. This renders the proper
management of the resource of land crucial in any state or country as it is also the basis of
sustainable development. Such proper land management policies however remain a challenge
to most governments in African nations. This is further worsened by the need to readdress
pre-colonial land occupation imbalances in which the land reform fails to adopt proper
procedures and standards, which sympathise with economic growth procedures.

The objective of this paper is to justify the need for a digital cadastre as a solution to land
management problems as well as its role as a tool for economic growth.


Cadastral systems have evolved from the allocation of land as grazing land, arable land as
well as hunting ground and often at village level while at the same time, land was acquired
and lost through wars. Thus each family possessed an acreage of arable land with access to
common pastures and this sufficed with the population then. However, the ever-growing
world population and increasing pressure on both natural and manmade resources renders
critical the need for land information as a basis for managing and exploiting such resources in
a sustainable manner. Without adequate up-to-date land information it becomes difficult to
execute any planning, development and exploitation project of such resources efficiently.
Land is undoubtedly one valuable resource and land information management forms an
integral part of urban development.

Land is at the core of a nations economy and as such it is essential to device methods for
improving its management. That explains why there had to be a scramble for Africa in the
first place as European nations sought land to expand their industries. In this respect, the
implementation of proper management tools and policies with respect to land results in
efficient land transactions and land markets. However, this is only possible if the rights
pertaining to different land units are well defined and documented. The availability of land
information also improves land valuation and taxation, rates collection and billing as well as
zoning since all these operations are based on the land unit. It is also important for local
planning authorities such as municipalities to be able to identify all land units within their

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Edward Kurwakumire
The Cadastre as a tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Strategic Integration of Surveying Services

FIG Working Week 2007
Hong Kong SAR, China, 13-17 May 2007
jurisdictions and the rights that attach to them. This essentially leads to the concept of the
cadastre, which can be described as a tool for managing the resource of land. It is basically an
up-to-date register containing different aspects relating to the land unit such as tenure, use
and value. On the other hand, the dynamic socio-economic environment the world operates in
necessitates or warrants more efficient methods of managing information relating to land.


Manual systems of managing land information and the resource of land dates back to
antiquity with their traces in developing countries though in industrialised nations such
manual systems have been rendered obsolete and thus have been replaced or superseded by
more efficient computer based systems. Most developing nations are now embarking on
automation projects with a notion to develop systems which are comparable and compatible
to those in industrialised nations at the same time bridging the technological gap between the
different cadastral systems in use worldwide. However, the building of a computerised land
information system takes a considerable amount of time especially in developing countries
where map (geometric) data has not been computerised. The need for easy access to cadastral
records and efficient land transactions necessitates the need for a timely land management
tool, essentially the cadastre.

Zimbabwe is one such nation still employing manual and semi-manual techniques and as
such can improve its service delivery in local authorities and other government departments
by implementing a computerised system. The private sector has been very innovative in
computerising its operations and products with the main problem being wastage of resources
and duplication of effort as there is no defined board governing such efforts. The manual
systems in use are based on indexes written on card files upon which land information with
respect to a specific parcel can then be found in a corresponding file written on the card. A
computerised cadastre would also address the question of storage space and backup utilities,
which is also critical.

Traditionally a cadastre has been described as a specific type of land record supported by
maps, which included not only the area and land-use of the parcel, but also land value and
ownership information. The UN AdHoc Group of experts on Cadastral Surveying and LIS
(1985) adopted the following definition-The cadastre is a methodically arranged public
inventory of data on the properties within a certain country or district based on a survey of
their boundaries. Thus a cadastre is essentially a systematic description of the land units
within an area.


Population growth has been associated increasing pressure on the land resource facilitating
the emergence of various types of rights to use and develop the land emerge hence facilitating
the need for a cadastre to manage the use of the resource of land. At the same time, urban
land has been described by some as being among the most valuable economic and social

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Edward Kurwakumire
The Cadastre as a tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Strategic Integration of Surveying Services

FIG Working Week 2007
Hong Kong SAR, China, 13-17 May 2007
resources of any nation hence the need for its proper management, which is impossible
without an adequate cadastral system. Cadastral reform has been stated as being concerned
with improving the operation, efficiency, effectiveness and performance of the system in a
state or jurisdiction and hence the need to move towards a computer based cadastre. This
results in the formation of a land data hub with various agencies responsible for the
continuous supply and updating of data. It is common practice for the agencies to meet on a
regular basis to agree on common policies and procedures. The following according to (Dale
and McLaughlin, 1998) can also be expected from a land register and cadastre: -
- Improved certainty of law with respect to land
- Secure and efficient property transactions
- efficient basis for land management
- Security for credit and stimulation of the land markets
Such computerization is in the light of cadastral reform through integration of the
technological aspect and the need to improve the nature and efficiency of the existing
cadastral system.

3.1 Land Information And Land Management

Information is the basic resource for any decision making to be done and as such it is the
function of a land information system (LIS) to support land management. This is in the light
of land information or information relating to land being input in the information system. A
land information system needs to be coupled with accurate and complete information if sound
decisions are to be made. McLaughlin (1990), defined land management as the process
whereby land resources are put to good effect but what exactly is land? Land may
encompass all things directly associated with the surface of the earth including those areas
covered by water. Land management entails decision making and the implementation of
decisions about land- (Dale & McLaughlin, 1990).


The major problem faced in developing countries is the need for efficient management of the
land resource and land information yet land forms the cornerstone of all their economies. It is
on land that firms extract minerals and that very same land supporting agrarian activities and
reforms. Land hence has to be used sparingly as it is a convergence of different interests such
as agriculture, industry and urbanization. The need for employment has seen the bulk of the
rural population migrating to cities hence increasing pressure on land as far as
accommodation is concerned. Companies in turn seek land for expansion in order to produce
sufficient goods and services for the ever-growing population. However, there should be a
balance between land used for different economic activities to ensure tenure to the future
generation. Failure to implement effective land management and tenure policies may easily
rob the future generations their rights to land even those they could have acquired at birth.

Land markets are a necessity as they can ensure economic use of land and developments on
land to a certain level. Fiscal policies improve production mainly on agricultural land, as a

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Edward Kurwakumire
The Cadastre as a tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Strategic Integration of Surveying Services

FIG Working Week 2007
Hong Kong SAR, China, 13-17 May 2007
section of the proceeds must be submitted to the government or the responsible authority to
that section of land. Such funds collected as fiscals can be used to develop and maintain the
digital cadastre but the problem of misappropriation of funds embraces most African
governments such that such revenue is never put to proper use. Land policies must
sympathize with economic policies to ensure a better tomorrow as they are a slave and master
since for there to be economic growth the land resource must be productive. Excess amounts
collected as land tax may be used to ensure effective transport and communications to ensure
easy access to markets and other sectors of the economy. Such communications ensure
economic growth programs such as e-farming and e-commerce as they link different
producers, stakeholders and other parties interested in the economy. With clear and stable
tenure stakeholders and individuals can easily invest in farming, mining and other activities
in an economy as that tenures ensures security to their investments. In this respect a digital
cadastre would, in our opinion prove to be a very useful tool in managing the resource of

Governments in developing nations need to employ qualified personnel or contract agencies

to create and maintain the cadastre. These should start by a preliminary examination of a
nations current cadastre while outlining its functionalities, capabilities and shortcomings.
Information on the cadastral reform experience of other countries is also of great significance
as it assists in modeling a likely improved system. As a result a nation might reduce
implementation costs by avoiding methodologies, which are known by other nations to be
problematic as far as cadastral reform is concerned. The digital cadastre should prove its
worth by the returns, both short and long term to both the different stakeholders (public,
private, corporate and individuals) and the nation as a whole. Successful implementation of
the cadastre will ensure that no legal persona will be shortchanged. Such a digital cadastre, in
line with the cadastre 2014 requirements will ensure the efficient storage, retrieval and
management of land information in a land database, which must be open for economic reform
programs. Such a land database can easily address tenure, current ownership, land-use, value
and land improvements in the pathway to the formation of a multipurpose cadastre. This
cadastre can be integrated with non-spatial information systems, which support different
economic activities to ensure proper communication between operations on the land resource
and the associated impact on the economy.

The need to share information at both Metropolitan and National level as well as that of
efficient service delivery still haunts most African nations. At the same time, a motion
towards a paperless office, that is, a fully computerised office is already long overdue as it
results in efficient storage and retrieval of information with an assurance of consistency and
integrity among the data. If all states work towards such projects within their jurisdictions,
land information can be made compatible for input into a computerised cadastre at
continental level as long as there are set up standards agreed upon.

The main drive to this digital cadastre is cadastral reform rather than the implementation of a
complete land information system, which is the total package for the near future. Cadastral
reform emphasizes or aims at enhancing the efficiency and operation of the current cadastral
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Edward Kurwakumire
The Cadastre as a tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Strategic Integration of Surveying Services

FIG Working Week 2007
Hong Kong SAR, China, 13-17 May 2007
system and is usually supported by technological reform as a driver. A movement from a
paper cadastre to a digital attribute database is thus a level of cadastral reform (see Figure 1).
This is because such a system seeks to improve the input, updating and retrieval of land
information among other things that had been until now been difficult and time consuming to
execute. Such an attribute database will in future, be tied to a cadastral parcel database
resulting in a complete land information system.
The Automation Concept

Deeds Survey
Registry Records

Collating Hardcopy Documents



The Land
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9101112

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9101112 CONSOLE COL- CONSOLE

Generic Computer Server communicating with the database

Information stored disparately in paper format within different sections forms the cadastre
but is difficult to integrate. A way to combat this difficulty is to classify information into
survey, tenure and deeds information, but all being united by the unique cadastral parcel and
automating into the land database. This results in a centralised database, which is linked to
other computers through the server or any other host computer upon which information can
be accessed and shared.

Figure 1 Source Kurwakumire 2005


Tor Bernhardsen (1992) described information as one of the most strategic factors
influencing development citing the lack of information as a barrier to sustainable
development. Traditionally, land information has been recorded in written form on card files,
rotary files, horizontal files, lists and photographs upon which information would then be
organized in filing cabinets and folders. Such collections of data would then be referred to as
libraries or banks from which users would retrieve information through physical searches
through the banks and this sufficed though certain drawbacks were noted. Some of these are:
- Information retrieval is slow as a physical search through the files could take a
significant period of time.

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Edward Kurwakumire
The Cadastre as a tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Strategic Integration of Surveying Services

FIG Working Week 2007
Hong Kong SAR, China, 13-17 May 2007
- Data are dispersed, that is, the data can be located in several disjoint locations or in
different agencies without means of transferring data throughout the different storage
facilities. This makes integration difficult.
- Paper documents easily wear out due to usage.
- Paper documents are usually available but inaccessible.

However, the huge volumes of data available today which increase on almost a daily basis
facilitates the need for computerised data libraries and banks with physical storage on
magnetic or optical media. This is essentially a databank, which is a computerised system for
the deposit and retrieval of data, which introduces the concept of databases, and
information systems. An information system can be defined as a combination of hardware,
software, and telecommunications networks that people build and use to collect, create and
distribute useful data.


The term cadastre may have been probably derived from the Greek word katastichon,
meaning notebook. It has been defined as a public listing, in which all land parcels of a
country of a defined area are stored-McLaughlin (1990). Information on size, use and
value of parcels is described in the cadastre as well as the legal status of parcels. Cadastres
are public records of interests in land, encompassing both the nature and extent of the
interests. An interest in land may be narrowly construed as a legal right in land for example,
ownership, the right of occupation, servitude and lease. There are basically four types of
cadastres namely fiscal (e.g. Napoleons cadastre), land-use, juridical and multipurpose
cadastre all of them amounting to efficient land management and land transactions. There are
basically four types of cadastres namely the Fiscal, Land-use, Juridical and Multipurpose
cadastre though of great importance is the multipurpose cadastre which has been described a
cadastre that covers multiple aspects of land. Its purpose is to provide information for fiscal,
juridical, planning and administrative purposes and is usually conceptualized as a number of
operationally and administratively integrated land information subsystems. The unique
cadastral parcel identifiers play a key role in linking data from different land data files to
specific cadastral parcels.

A common feature of the different types of cadastres is that they contain information relating
to the land unit, which can be referred to as the land parcel. It is usually almost impossible for
one section to develop the information system for the whole organization by itself due to
human and technological constraints necessitating the need for integration between different
sections. In other words, it may be more appropriate to develop the land database section by
section or piecewise across the organisation but according to common set out standards to
allow future integration though there is often a danger of duplication of information and
effort. A piecewise approach is an alternative in which the database is created at a small scale
and then developed incrementally to a larger scale to cover the whole organisation.

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Edward Kurwakumire
The Cadastre as a tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Strategic Integration of Surveying Services

FIG Working Week 2007
Hong Kong SAR, China, 13-17 May 2007
Thus, such a computerised cadastre must be progressive, that is, must be flexible enough to
permit the successive input of new information as well as to be developed further to add more
applications and to improve the systems efficiency. In other words, the system must be
open rather than closed. Several applications based on a centralised database can be
developed yet specific to each section that uses the system so that individual sections can
access adequate information relevant to their requirements.

It is still advantageous to let the most competent agency manage data collection and retrieval
within its own area- Larsson (1996). Thus there is need for data custodians to maintain and
update information specific to them with the authority or mandate to amend the information
in the shared database. Other sections may only access and manipulate the information on
other platforms or remote terminals without changing the original information. Australia
owes much to its cadastral systems as they have delivered certainty and security to her land
market. The operation of a cadastre creates, links and binds information about and to the land
and hence can provide much of the information, and means for managing information, about
humankinds interaction with land (Bevin 1999).

The main emphasis on cadastral systems has been on the land parcel. Larsson (1996) defined
a land parcel as a unit of land with homogeneous tenure interests and described land as the
main resource for economic activity. This makes vital the information of who disposes land
and who has rights in land and their nature. Land tenure can be described as the relationship
between mankind and land or how land is held. There are several types of land tenure, which
exist in rural and urban areas. However, the focus of this study is in urban tenure types such
as freehold, leasehold and easements. The need to uniquely identify each parcel is of
paramount importance in any land database in which parcel numbers can be used though
geocodes may be more appropriate as they give the geographical location of the parcels. Such
geocodes are normally coordinates of boundary points or the centroid of the parcel.

However, it is a common feature today that most cadastral systems are influenced by the land
information concept in which cadastral systems are now developed into multipurpose
economically and ecologically oriented land information systems. This way, sustainable
development can be ensured as such modern systems seek to provide reliable information
about the land unit. It is mostly in developing nations that such modern systems are required
since there is a technological gap though difficulties in accessing financial resources often
impede this reform process. Industrialized nations, however still need to continue reviewing
and updating their modern cadastral systems.

Todays modern cadastre depends on the uniquely defined land unit as a basis for integrating
many different records such as land-use and ownership such that there results vast amounts of
relevant information relating to that land unit. However, such a high level of integration is
difficult when all records are kept manually such that automation is essential- Larsson
(1996). At the same time, the design of cadastral and land registration systems must be future
oriented such that it is a noble measure to develop a system basing on the experiences of

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Edward Kurwakumire
The Cadastre as a tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Strategic Integration of Surveying Services

FIG Working Week 2007
Hong Kong SAR, China, 13-17 May 2007
other countries. This allows one to adopt only the successes, which can then be further
developed into a competitive land information system.


Cadastral reform as applied in developed countries takes into consideration the automation of
the cadastre and the role of the cadastre as a larger land information system (Kaufmann
1999). The world is characterized by different cultures, values and ethos as well as different
political and economic systems, which are in a permanent development process. Such
development leads to increased consumption of natural resources making the traditional
cadastre inadequate as a land management tool. Cadastral reform is a way of improving the
cadastral systems in line with the dynamic socioeconomic changes. Thus, cadastral reform in
African nations can be achieved through automation of certain aspects of their current
The two main objectives of cadastral reform as set out by (Egzgbalike and Benwel-1994) are:
- To make land holdings more secure through the availability of title information so
that landowners can obtain development funds on the basis of secured land rights.
- To facilitate the administration of land resources.
A necessary focus in any cadastral system is the efficient and timely processing of the many
transactions made on it (Bevin 1999). An efficient system which is user driven will hence
impact positively on economic development since different economic transactions can be
done effectively in real time at minimum or no delay.

Land tenure, with tenure having been derived from the Latin word tenoe which means to
hold, can be described as a mode of holding rights to land or the way in which land is held
which is basically the relationship between man and land. It is concerned with the rights,
restrictions and responsibilities that people have with respect to land. Some common land
tenure types as specified by (FIG, 1995) include Ownership, Leasehold, Easement and
Mortgage. However, land-holding systems in most developing nations have been described as
much concerned with culture and identity of the people rather than as an economic affair
(Nega Thus land is merely viewed as something acquired as a customary right and as a
means to livelihood.

It is also however crucial that even if this land is used for agricultural purposes, production
levels should not only meet the need to subsist but should also contribute to the national grain
board. That way, the land would have proven to be an economic commodity. At the same
time, most rural communities prefer growing edible crops forming the staple food rather than
cash crops which generate a foreign currency influx due to fear of the unknown.
Communities need have been educated about the need for insurance even on land, as there
will come a time when it needs more nourishment as the natural fertilizers become exhausted.
In this respect, the value of land to the rural community and to the city people is different.
People living in urban areas have managed to produce more output on their small pieces of
land because they understand the value of the land and the fact that there is a land tax to be
rendered. This way every individual is oblivious about boundaries though no one usually

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Edward Kurwakumire
The Cadastre as a tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Strategic Integration of Surveying Services

FIG Working Week 2007
Hong Kong SAR, China, 13-17 May 2007
encroaches. Enemark and Sevatdal (1999) described land value to be associated with the
actual economic and physical use of the land as well as the possible future use such that little
value may be gained from agrarian reforms of a subsistence nature.


It is important that the system of survey and land records be tailored to support reform though
cadastral systems which are appropriate to situations in different countries cannot necessarily
be transplanted to other nations because of differences in land holding systems, social and
political factors (Dale 1976). Focus was however directed towards the Surveyor Generals
office and City of Mutare, a municipality and the general view of stakes dealing with spatial
data to obtain an understanding of the existing cadastral system in Zimbabwe.
Municipalities are in a deep slumber when it comes to automation and their challenges with
respect to inefficiency are very common due to failure to manage properly the land resource.
Zimbabwe, which is operating in an environment characterized by hyperinflation, has seen
major municipalities such as the Mutare, Harare and Gweru City Councils failing to provide
services such as water and refuse collection in their respective jurisdictions. At the same time
it is not unusual that the City Engineers department is the only one that comprehends the
rational of a possible digital cadastre or any other form of reform as land forms the core of
any municipal offices activities. The benefits of a digital cadastre can even extend to
facilities management in which utilities such as water, sewer and electricity networks can be
properly monitored and maintained as they are on the unit of land. The City Engineers
department is a convergence of intertwined sections namely Civil and Water Engineering,
Town Planning, Building Inspectorate and Surveying whose lifeline is dependent on the pulse
or heartbeat of the cadastre.

Imagine what havoc a paper cadastre could cause if some paperwork is misplaced and
different parties acquire rights of the same portion of land at the same time. This can be
avoided by the implementation of a digital cadastre, which for safety and consistency reasons
could operate real time at metropolitan level but in say three hour or so batches at national
level as information at national level must be thoroughly checked before amending. This
would ensure security of tenure as it avoids fraudulent activities with respect to the land unit.

However, so many challenges still haunt most government and public offices dealing with
land such as the Surveyor Generals office and the Department of physical planning as it is
difficult to acquire the necessary hardware and software. Most of the new machines in most
departments are of specifications of the order 256MB RAM, 40 Gig Hard drive and Pentium
(4) 2.8GHz processor. The purchasing and upgrading of software is also a threat and even the
creation of LANS, metropolitan networks and WANS is still a challenge even though the
appropriate labour force is available. Some organizations are still using Pentium II and III
machines. These would likely be unable to support the graphics that would be part of the
cadastre in terms of memory size and processing speed so most municipalities need an
overhaul as far as their computer hardware is concerned. This is however not easy in the
prevailing situation of hyperinflation. Government intervention to jumpstart such projects

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Edward Kurwakumire
The Cadastre as a tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Strategic Integration of Surveying Services

FIG Working Week 2007
Hong Kong SAR, China, 13-17 May 2007
may be the only solution to achieving a nationalized digital cadastre someday in the future for

The Department of the Surveyor General has a system in place but for its own use. There has
been no room for connectivity with other systems that may be existent which usually amounts
to redundancy and duplication of effort. The department, as the main custodian of spatial data
at national level should ideally communicate with the Physical Planning department,
municipalities, the forestry commission and other environmentalists as well as with surveyors
to plan the future of the cadastral system. Important issues especially those concerning
metadata can also then be addressed so that all spatially referenced information can be
documented and shared to minimize expenditure in terms of human and technological

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Edward Kurwakumire
The Cadastre as a tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Strategic Integration of Surveying Services

FIG Working Week 2007
Hong Kong SAR, China, 13-17 May 2007
The Cadastre at City of Mutare

Start search

Check in local register New Search

Stand number Cabinet with

appearing? general plans


Check in card files

New search

General Plan Number

General plan or
Diagram number

Survey Diagram

Survey diagram
files and End

Figure 2: The cadastre at city of Mutare (Source- Kurwakumire, 2005)

The use of Satellite Positioning methods such as GPS and GALILEO would improve
fieldwork significantly in terms of efficiency though there is reluctance to employ such
techniques in cadastral surveys by the Surveyor Generals office. The use of satellite
positioning methods ideally means that the development of standards for the execution,
presentation and documentation of fieldwork and results will be necessary for the sake of
consistency. However there also arise several questions such as; 1How does a surveyor lodge
a survey? Softcopy? 2Does the Surveyor Generals office have the capacity to support digital
lodgment of cadastral and topographical surveys? 3Should the department but software off
the shelf and recommend it to all surveyors or should a consultant or agency be hired to
develop a software compatible with use in Zimbabwe (AutoCAD, Surpac and Vcad) as well
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Edward Kurwakumire
The Cadastre as a tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Strategic Integration of Surveying Services

FIG Working Week 2007
Hong Kong SAR, China, 13-17 May 2007
as with GPS? 4What common formats and extensions should be used when storing files e.g.
txt, ASCII, dxf and Shape files? 5How are backup and software upgrades issues to be handled?
This is where the solution to Zimbabwes cadastral reform lies and if spearheaded form from
full automation of the Surveyor Generals office, success is the only result that can be
expected for Zimbabwe.

8.1 A View Of The Cadastre At City Of Mutare

City of Mutare has been storing land information in the form of a register and a general
valuation roll, the common aspect in these two being the stand number and the title to land in
most cases (see Figure 2). The register also relates the stand number to a general plan number
in a local filing system such as 5/D/152 where 5/D stands for the Dangamvura area or
township and 152 being the plan number in the Dangamvura series. If the stand number does
not appear in the register then card files arranged in numerical order of stand numbers can be
employed which also extends the search to a general plan number or a survey diagram
number. These card files also have information on any subdivisions and consolidations
otherwise any other information is mostly found in filing cabinets through physical searches
which are often rigorous as the information is usually haphazard.

8.2 Collating And Sharing Of Land Information

A possible solution to collating and sharing information within various departments can be
represented by the following context diagram.

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Edward Kurwakumire
The Cadastre as a tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Strategic Integration of Surveying Services

FIG Working Week 2007
Hong Kong SAR, China, 13-17 May 2007
Organisational Context Diagram

Survey Records Deeds Registry
Title Information

Examination of deeds
Examination and approval of surveys

Housing and
Request for General Public and
Commnunity services Information
The Land Information corporate bodies

Old Surveys Information

Towm Planning Results

Figure 3 - Context Diagram- (Source Kurwakumire, 2005)

The Department of the Surveyor General should have central control of the land database
since they are the custodian of basic information relating to land required by other entities or


A problem in developing countries that has also been highlighted is the difficulty in securing
funds for such projects as a computerised cadastre since the decision makers with access to
the funds may be difficult to convince of the need or may not prioritise in projects where the
do not forecast immediate benefits. In my opinion, the digital cadastre is no longer a function
of the benefits to be derived from it but it is now almost like a requirement in any country,
state or jurisdiction in line of efforts from the International Federation of Surveyors and
Cadastre 2014. African communities should learn to appreciate the use of modern
technology. There is indeed need to put value in technology in both the public and private
sector as a tool for improving efficiency and production.- R. Simbi (Senior Town Planner-
Mutare). It was also a shared sentiment to put to an end the culture of maintaining old ways
and methods. The only visible attempts towards a land information system are water and
electricity billing system with which the input of an account number results in output of the
parcel number, street address as well as the rates arrears, if any.

At Metropolitan level the digital cadastre is particularly useful for zoning. Town planners
have described zoning to be the basis of town planning were they have described an urban
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Edward Kurwakumire
The Cadastre as a tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Strategic Integration of Surveying Services

FIG Working Week 2007
Hong Kong SAR, China, 13-17 May 2007
settlement to be composed of different land uses with the major ones being Residential,
Industrial and Commercial. Sub-zones can be deduced from the major zones and different
colours are used to depict different zones on the master plan. Zones are basically locations of
a particular use. Sub-zones are usually created in order to reach some level of specialization
or compromise, for example, in the City center, the major zone is commercial but there is a
sub-zone under special consent to include flats and apartments thus allowing for some
economic activity. The idea of zoning is to achieve order in the location of activities or to
separate land-uses thus removing obtrusiveness among land-use zones. Proper planning
would achieve the economic equilibrium between different economic activities, which will
ensure the Citys long-term survival while performing its role as a service provider to


Any project is haunted by different limitations and bottlenecks. In my perspective some of

the major bottlenecks have been outlined below
i. Difficulties in unifying the public and public sectors participating in an economy. The
public sector in most African nations is usually known to be inefficient and thus the
private sector does not want to be associated with it.
ii. Some government policies lack cognizance with effective economic policies such that
they end up facing difficulty in luring potential investors and other stakeholders as
there exists no trust in terms of output based performance by government.
iii. Failure by African governments to induce investor confidence. Most private
companies fail to have trust in engaging in partnerships with the government due to
poor records of repaying debts and incompetence issues.
iv. African nations usually compromise their economies by letting politics run the
economy yet politics and economics are two things that should never meet but rather
run parallel. The budgets set aside for political campaigns should rather be used in
economic reform programs such as the provision and maintenance of infrastructure
such as the cadastre and telecommunications.
v. Situations in which land can be acquired at no cost are not healthy to stakeholders
who bought land for productive purposes as that merely means that the rights to that
land can easily expire.
vi. African nations are failing to retain the professionals they train due to poor
remuneration and working conditions such that individuals opt to move overseas to
find greener pastures. This leaves the nations without personnel to develop and
maintain the digital cadastre is there as was one.


Land is undoubtedly the most important resource in any state, county or jurisdiction hence
the need to manage it in a sustainable manner. Most economies in third world countries are
based on the land that is agro-based and mining thus making land a tool for economic
activity. Cadastral reform is essential to clearly define the problems with prevalent cadastral

TS 7G - Integration Approaches in Land Administration 14/16

Edward Kurwakumire
The Cadastre as a tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Strategic Integration of Surveying Services

FIG Working Week 2007
Hong Kong SAR, China, 13-17 May 2007
systems and come up with recommendations, which will ensure efficiency and certainty with
respect to land issues. Sustainable development is the key to the survival of future
generations and as such efforts should be made at national level to preserve our precious
resource of land. Information technology is an inevitably fast-growing industry, its aims
being to improve efficiencies in information systems, which on one hand also encompasses
land information systems thus a computer based system is now essential if any firm is to
provide its services efficiently. Leader groups such as the Federation Internationale des
Geometres are also there to support all member countries in ensuring timely and efficient

Many countries such as Australia, Finland, France and Sweden have had their experiences on
the cadastre and third world countries should make it a point to adopt their successes as a
measure towards reform. This will minimise costs incurred through pioneering projects.
Several authors have also written about eEurope and the answer to the question as to why
there cannot be eAfrica will still remain a mystery? The world has shrunk into a global
village and Africa is one community in that village. Africas participation in that global
village is in my opinion only through the acknowledgement of technology as the primary
drive to reform even though user requirements usually come first.

Finally, through the advent of satellite technology and the internet in particular, the world has
been shrunk into a global village and as such, should hope for such unification in terms of
cadastral systems, which can only be achieved through digital cadastral systems.


1. Bevin (1999), Cadastre 2014 Reforms in New Zealand, New Zealand Institute of
Surveyors and FIG Commission VII Conference and AGM
2. Edward Kurwakumire (2005), The use of a digital cadastre to improve land
management at City of Mutare, Dissertation in the Bsc Honours Degree in Surveying
and Geomatics at Midlands State University, Zimbabwe
3. Enemark and Sevatdal (1999), Cadastres, Land information Systems and Planning,
UN-FIG Conference on Land tenure and Cadastral Infrastructures for sustainable
4. Ezigbalike and Benwell (1994), Cadastral Reform,
5. FIG (1995), Statement on the Cadastre, International Federation of Surveyors, FIG
Bureau, Canberra, Australia
6. Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) discussion paper,
April 1999
7. McCormac J. C (1991), Surveying Fundamentals, 2nd Edition, Prentice Hall-USA
8. Kaufmann (1998), Cadastre 2014, A Vision for A Future Cadastral System, 2nd
Edition, International Federation of Surveyors- Denmark
9. Land Lines: April 2004, Volume 16, Number2- Accessed from Lincoln Institute of
Land Policy-Latin American Cadastres: Successes and remaining problems

TS 7G - Integration Approaches in Land Administration 15/16

Edward Kurwakumire
The Cadastre as a tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Strategic Integration of Surveying Services

FIG Working Week 2007
Hong Kong SAR, China, 13-17 May 2007
10. Gerhard L (1996), Land Registration and Cadastral Systems, Longman Group UK
11. Municipal Land Management in Asia: A comparative study- Land Registration and
information systems
12. Nega, Current land policy in Ethiopia, Ethiopian Policy Research Institute,
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
13. Dale & McLaughlin (1990), Land Information Management- An Introduction With
Special Reference to Cadastral Problems in Third world Countries, English Language
Book Society & Oxford University Press
14. Dale P (1976), Cadastral Surveys within the Commonwealth, London, Her Majestys
Stationery Office
15. Regional, Town and Country Planning Act Chapter 29:12 (1996), Government
Printers, Harare, Zimbabwe
16. South African Survey Journal, December 1982, Volume XVIII
17. Tor Bernhardsen (1992), Geographic Information Systems, Viak IT & Norwegian
Mapping Authority
18. Regional Networks of Competence on land Policy and Land Tenure


Edward Kurwakumire
Midlands State University
Department of Surveying and Geomatics
P Bag 9055
Gweru, Zimbabwe
Ph +26323245306
Fax +26354260233

TS 7G - Integration Approaches in Land Administration 16/16

Edward Kurwakumire
The Cadastre as a tool for Land Management-Economic Reform?

Strategic Integration of Surveying Services

FIG Working Week 2007
Hong Kong SAR, China, 13-17 May 2007