5 CASE STUDIES FROM NEWLY RENOVATED
LAND ADMINISTRATION SYSTEMS
IN THE EMERGING ECONOMIES
Gavin ADLINGTON, The World Bank
The countries of the former socialist block to the east of the old ‘iron curtain’ are
unique in that they began establishing, or re-establishing, land administration sys-
tems about the same time as CADASTRE 2014 was being researched and published.
Every country of the region (about 30 countries often referred to as the ‘transition
economies’) had to consider what they wanted to achieve in their land administration
systems given the change to market based economies. In 2000 De Soto, in his book
The Mystery of Capital, compared the status of land administration systems in transi-
tion economies with developing countries and stated that: “… today they look as-
tonishingly similar: strong underground economies, glaring inequality, pervasive maﬁas,
political instability, capital ﬂight and ﬂagrant disregard for law. … most people cannot
participate in an expanded market because they do not have access to a legal property
rights system that represents their assets in a manner that makes them widely transfer-
able and fungible, …”. However, since this period, virtually every transition country
has a fully functioning cadastre and registration system with ﬂourishing land mar-
kets and a vibrant mortgage market. The World Bank Doing Business report for 2014
shows 11 countries from this region are in the top 20 countries worldwide as the
most business friendly and eﬃcient for registering property. It is an incredible turn
around in less than 15 years.
Taking each of the six statements of CADASTRE 2014, we can assess the transition econ-
omies in the region meet the expectation from CADASTRE 2014.
Statement 1: CADASTRE 2014 will show the complete legal situation
of land, including public rights and restrictions
The initial focus in the transition countries was on privatization and the break-up of
large agricultural holdings so that individual title could be established. In excess of 400
million titles to dwellings, land and business units have been registered across the re-
gion. However, the focus has been on private real estate, and few countries have in-
cluded public lands in their cadastre and even fewer have recorded public rights of way
or other public easements (such as utility lines over private land). The most advanced
in this respect include smaller countries with fully automated systems, such as in Bal-
tics, but this has not been a priority for most countries as the priority was to register
land that is subject to transactions. For example, Moldova, which is one of the most
advanced countries in the region with regard to land records, has only 12% of state
public lands and 15% of public lands owned by local government bodies registered
in the cadastre. Kyrgyzstan has recorded all public lands, but it is an exception. Several
countries of the former Yugoslavia, plus Albania and Azerbaijan have very large areas
of informal development (where people have built on land designated for agricultural
use or have built without the necessary building or occupation permits) and these are
usually not included in the cadastre.
All countries in the region are now moving onto the next stage of recording the pub-
lic lands and informally occupied lands in order to have a complete cadastre. On the
whole, however, Statement1 has not been achieved in all countries.
Statement 2: The separation between ‘maps’ and ‘registers’
will be abolished
As new ideologies led to policies encouraging market economic activity, which in turn
required land administration systems to function eﬃciently, several transition countries
took the opportunity to unify their registration and cadastre oﬃces into one agency.
Even countries with a history of a dual agency model, such as the Czech Republic, Hun-
gary, Slovakia, Romania and Serbia established a single agency approach, and most of
the countries of the former Soviet Union combined their building, land and property
rights functions into one agency. Even those countries that retain dual systems, such
as Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Ukraine, have linked their cadastre and registration
systems so that common parcel identiﬁers are used and professional users have ac-
cess to both systems without problem. However, in several countries the data itself is
problematic and a process of ‘harmonization’ of records to ensure that the records in
the cadastre match the record in the legal register is underway. This includes Croatia,
Russia, Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Thus, the principle that the separation between maps and registers will be abolished
has generally been accepted by all countries of the region, although for some it entails
the joining of these records through electronic means rather than physically unifying
oﬃces. Some data harmonization is still required in several countries, but in principle
Statement2 is valid for the region.
Statement 3: Cadastral mapping will be dead! Long live modelling
Virtually every transition country has fully automated registration and cadastre records,
with most based on a logical data model encompassing both registration and cadas-
tre data. However, in reality, surveyors have proven to be extremely conservative and
embraced CAD systems and GIS systems primarily as a means of recording and amend-
ing data rather than adopting procedures that are independent of scale or utilizing
remotely sensed information, LIDAR technology or unmanned aerial vehicles in any
major way. GNSS equipment has been adopted quite well and most countries have
installed Continuously Operating Reference Networks. In Eastern European countries,
the ‘survey regulation’ continues to rule, often without taking into account new tech-
nology, and there has been little relaxation in licensing requirements for people that
eﬀectively only ‘measure’ using simple equipment. In countries of the former Soviet Un-
ion, cadastral surveyors were traditionally more focused on soil surveys for a cadastre
focusing on land use and productivity, and the new cadastral surveyor was not as re-
stricted in their work methodology as the typical cadastral surveyor in Eastern Europe
whose qualiﬁcations were based on their qualiﬁcations in geodesy. Consequently, the
systematic registration and cadastre development work was completed much more
quickly and cheaply in the countries of the former Soviet Union. There have been no
noticeable problems with the use of these systems that were based on much faster and
On the whole, it may be true to state that the traditional cartographer working on pa-
per maps is not often seen, but many of the advantages relating to the methodology
for undertaking survey work ‘ﬁt-for-purpose’, and the distribution and publication of
digital cadastre data to be used by other government or private sector bodies has yet
to materialize. Thus, there is only moderate progress towards meeting the expectations
Statement 4: ‘Paper and pencil - cadastre’ will have gone!
Virtually every country in the region now utilizes automated systems for registering
legal rights and for keeping their cadastre maps. It is still quite rare to have a paper-
less environment, with only Lithuania and Russia really embracing the full electronic
environment. In most countries legal documents are still delivered on paper, but then
the registration may be done electronically and, if books or ledgers are still kept, they
will be printed from the automated system rather than being maintained in parallel to
the automated system. Survey records are more commonly delivered in electronic form
and then stored and maintained electronically. There is an ever increasing ability, now
common in most countries of the region, to view cadastre records on line, and e-ser-
vices for extracts, reports, etc. is becoming very common. E-signatures are increasingly
being used by registration authorities too. This trend is growing rapidly. Thus, there is
good conformity to the principles of Statement4.
Statement 5: CADASTRE 2014 will be highly privatized! Public and
private sector are working closely together
The government sector rarely had the capacity to do the mass privatization and sys-
tematic registration work that has been completed in the region. In most countries
of the region, the private sector started from scratch, where no private sector existed
before, and in several projects funded by donors it was a condition of funding to out-
source the work to the ﬂedgling private sector, for example in Estonia, Macedonia and
Moldova. The region generally utilizes notaries for the legal processes, and these have
also been generally converted to the private sector. Even where notaries do not exist,
lawyers from the private sector will prepare legal documentation.
There was an anomaly in the early years of the reforms in the region for several coun-
tries, where the public sector were not allowed to charge fees for services, but the
government did not have the funds to give to the agencies responsible for providing
the services. Many then created State owned companies, which had to function on a
self-funding basis, in order to provide services in mapping, cadastre and registration
(Ukraine, Russia (initially), Moldova, Azerbaijan, et al.). The State organization retained,
and still retains the overall responsibility for quality control and provides State guaran-
tee of the quality of the records either speciﬁcally for the registration service or their
more general laws on government administration. Thus, there is good conformity to
the principles of Statement5.
Statement 6: CADASTRE 2014 will be cost recovering
Nearly every country of the region collects more in fees for service than their operat-
ing costs. An exception is the Czech Republic where fees appear to be kept artiﬁcially
low in order to encourage registration. Several countries (including Albania, Lithuania,
Hungary, Georgia) are fully self-funding and others (including Azerbaijan, Moldova,
Kyrgyzstan) are funded centrally for their headquarters but local oﬃces are self-fund-
ing. Countries with dual systems (cadastre and registration separately) sometimes have
more problem covering their costs. This is certainly true for Bulgaria where the cadastre
is underfunded and cannot complete all the tasks to complete systematic registration
and providing an electronic cadastre, while the registration service is fully self-funding
without any problems in supporting its services.
If the transaction tax that is charged as a government tax for any transaction is added
to the fees for service, the registration service in every country is seen to be fully cost
recovering. Thus, there is good conformity to the principles of Statement6.
Some additional thoughts and Conclusions
In the text of the booklet on CADASTRE 2014 the distinction between ‘deeds’ and ‘title’
systems is made, and whether the system is parcel-based, deed-based or person-based.
In the transition economies all of these distinctions have disappeared from a practical –
if not legal – perspective. All systems are automated and have unique identiﬁers for the
property, therefore it is possible to search, get records and make changes simply and the
traditional discussions about the type of system used become irrelevant. Even where a
person-based approach exists, it does so in parallel with a parcel-based approach and
no system in the region is based solely on deeds. The big change in the region that has
led to the very high standing in ‘Doing Business’ reports and the huge increase in the
numbers of users and the real estate markets is primarily because the agencies have
focused on the ‘customer’ and their needs when improving their systems.
The transition countries started a long way behind many of their neighbours in 1998
when CADASTRE 2014 was published. As a ﬁrst step they had to establish laws and or-
ganizations, privatize and register land rights, and establish the professional functions
that would maintain the systems. Other countries already had registers with populated
data bases, even if they were not yet in electronic form. Thus, it is not surprising that
there is still a long way to go in registering public land rights or easements or incor-
porating systems into larger information systems that incorporate all of government
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services. On the other hand they had the advantage that they were often not held back
by legacy systems that were hard to change because of tradition or resistance from
vested interest groups. On the whole, it has been a fantastic achievement to get to the
current stage when it is considered from where they started, and the governments of
the transition countries can take great credit from the achievements.
It is clear that in the coming years – certainly within the next decade – most, if not
all, aspects of the vision in CADASTRE 2014 will be implemented in practice. For most
eastern European countries, integration in the EU systems is also a target that is rapidly
No. of land
No. of au-
No. of cadas-
No. of KCSC
No. of em-
Table 1: Size of the Korean cadastral system.
6 CADASTRE 2014 – A CASE STUDY FROM
Bong-Bae JANG and June-Hwan KOH, S. Korea
CADASTRE 2014 was published in 1998 and provided six vision statements for a future
cadastral system. For South Korea, all six statements are consistent with the existing
cadastral system and many Korean cadastral experts are under the impression that CA-
DASTRE 2014 might have been written exactly for Korea as target country.
Over the last 20 years, many countries experienced a lot of changes and technical de-
velopments in the cadastral domain. Most of the developments and achievements
came along the same lines as stated in CADASTRE 2014. The case study from South
Korea will focus mainly on Statements 2 and 5, which are:
– Statement 2: The separation between maps and registers will be abolished.
– Statement 5: Cadastre 2014 will be highly privatized. Public and private sectors
are working closely together.
Real Estate Integrated Public Registration System
The current Korean cadastral information service was established by the Land Survey
Law enacted as the 7
Korean law in 1910. Since then, cadastral information has been
managed for over 100 years on the basis of this law and the revised Cadastral Law en-
acted in 1950. The responsibility for the information is with the Ministry of Land, Infra-
structure, and Transport.
Cadastral information is registered and managed by KLIS (Korea Land Information Sys-
tem) and includes 37.5 million parcels. It is controlled by 258 competent authorities.
Cadastral surveying is conducted by the Korea Cadastral Survey Corporation (KCSC) in
cooperation with private sector companies.
KCSC’s main role is to upload the parcel data to the KLIS. KCSC also operates the Cadas-
tral Training Institute and the Spatial Information Research Institute for the develop-
ment of the Korean cadastral system. KLIS, on the other hand, primarily registers and
manages parcel information. Moreover, the system includes appraised value of land,
housing price, district planning information etc.
In contrast, the Korean land registry system was established by the Joseon Real Estate
Registration Ordinance in 1912. Since then, the land registry system has been managed
by the Korean Government on the basis of the Real Property Registration Act enacted
in 1960. Today the information is managed by the Ministry of Justice in the Registra-
tion Information System of the Supreme Court; it contains parcels, real estate, building
information of 60 million records and corporation information of 1.6 million records.
Consequently, the Korean cadastral and land registry systems were established by dif-
ferent laws in the early 1910s and operated by diﬀerent ministries for over 100 years.
Mainly due to that fact, both these systems face severe problems. The biggest problem
is the inconsistency between the data bases. Inaccurate information incurs damage to
the users and the public. The purpose of the land registry system is to protect the rights
of landowners. However, discordance between two information bases signiﬁcantly
lowers the reliability of the administration. Other problems are the increasing adminis-
trative costs and the inconveniences for the users.
In 1973, the Korean Government discussed a uniﬁed policy of the two data sources
from cadastral and land registration information; this was the ﬁrst time that repre-
sentatives from the two services ever met. However, due to the lack of understanding
between the two ministries, the policy failed to be ﬁnalized. In 1999, after a series of
discussions, the Real Estate Administrative Information Uniﬁed Project started and, ﬁ-
nally the Real Estate Integrated Public Registration System was developed in 2013 and
started its service in early 2014.
The Real Estate Integrated Public Registration System combines 18 types of real estate
related public ledgers into one oﬃcial ledger including cadastral maps, building reg-
istries, land-use planning, land registration and real estate price, etc. As illustrated in
Figure 10, all 18 types of registers can now be issued in one uniﬁed document for the
general public upon request.
In 2013, 15 types of real estate related public ledgers were integrated by the Ministry
of Land, Infrastructures and Transport Aﬀairs in order to provide a custom real estate
comprehensive information service for the nation’s 37.5 million land parcels and 7 mil-
lion neighbourhood buildings.
However, for the accuracy of real estate information, the structure of the basic data
must be pursued ﬁrst.
Figure 10: 18 registers of the Real Estate Integrated Public Registration System.
One Unied Certicate
Parcels-register for site
Parcels-register for forest area
Joint Signature Book of Public Land
Registered Building Data
Land-Use Planning Conrmation
Ocial Land Price Conrmation
Individual Housing Price Conrmation
Multi-family Housing Price Conrmation
Copy of Land Registrar
Copy of Building Register
Copy of Set of Building Register
Accordingly, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Aﬀairs initiated the ca-
dastral based real estate administrative information data organization. Hence, for each
error type, through the full utilization of data organization standardization system, the
costs are expected to drop. Not only spatial information based on real estate informa-
tion management, but also the development of a consistent real estate policy and the
enforcement of comprehensive management for the real estate public ledger are pos-
sible. The necessity to ﬁle a complaint individually is now obsolete, and every complaint
can be done at once.
Figure 10 outlines the Real Estate Integrated Public Registration System. The beneﬁts of
such an integrated system are as follows:
– by developing a single real estate information system (cadastral, building, and
land information), the time spent working was reduced;
– to reinforce the real estate industry, new growth mechanisms could be devel-
– the quality of information used for land-use planning and for policy support in-
– through the distribution of digital cadastral based real estate information, the
spatial information industry became more active;
– a more accessible way for citizens to register real estate complaints.
Reﬂections on Statement 2 – The separation between maps and registers
will be abolished
In Korea, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport
have administered cadastral and land registry information respectively since the early
1910s. Those national data sets have been managed independently for a long period of
time, which created many problems such as inconsistent data bases, increased costs for
management, and inconveniences for users and society.
In 2013, in order to solve these shortcomings, the Korean Government established a sys-
tem called the “Real Estate Integrated Public Registration System”, which consolidates
18 oﬃcial registers – managed by two ministries in four diﬀerent systems – into one
document. Although it did not achieve the integration of the two ministries, the new
system can now issue 18 diﬀerent types of information in one uniﬁed document online
and oﬄine. In other words, the cadastral information (maps) and registers have now
been integrated into one system, the Real Estate Integrated Public Registration System,
which started its service early 2014.
Joint execution of cadastral surveying
In 2004, the market to carry out cadastral surveying has been opened, however only for the
digital format. Areas, which are still kept in the graphical format, have not been opened to
the private sector mainly because of the requirement of homogeneous surveying results.
With the introduction of the free market for cadastral surveying, many private compa-
nies started their business. In the year 2005, 49 companies became active with a total of
444 employees. Today in 2014, there are 164 private companies with 1,746 employees.
According to oﬃcial statistics, the public sector (Korea Cadastral Survey Corporation)
carried out cadastral conﬁrmation surveys for about USD 40 million in 2005. In the
same year, the private sector performed work for USD 4.8 million in areas open for the
free market. Eight years later in 2013, the public sector conducted work for the equiva-
lent of USD 50 million and the private sector for approx. USD 21 million. In the years
from 2005 to 2013, the public sector carried out work for USD 545 million (76%) in total,
while the private sector carried out work for USD 170 million (24%); the proportion of
work carried out by the private sector has increased signiﬁcantly.
However, one of the most unprecedented phenomena is the joint execution of cadas-
tral surveying by the public and private sectors. This perfectly matches Statement 5 of
CADASTRE 2014, which predicts that the cadastre in the future will be highly privatized
and that the public and private sectors work closely together. As mentioned above,
in Korea in less than a decade, the total sales for the private sector grew more than
three times. Moreover, through the joint execution of the cadastral surveying, public
and private sectors are working closely together. In other words, control point survey-
ing, which requires high accurate surveying, is carried out by the public sector. On the
other hand, detailed surveying is carried out by the private and public sectors together
because detailed surveying does not require high accuracy or special procedures.
Table 2 indicates the results of the total amount of sales from joint execution project
of cadastral conﬁrmation survey from 2009 to 2013. According to Table 2, the total
amount of sales increased 1.5 times from 10 million dollars to 16 million dollars.
Figure 11: The ratio of public and private work conducted in cadastral surveying in areas
open for the free market.
Amount of sales
in [USD 1,000]
Table 2: Annual progress of the joint execution project.
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