Infrastructure Engineering - Research Publications

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    Spatially enabling governments: a new direction for land administration systems
    Most decisions involve a spatial component, though few people realize its significance. Technology is about to bring the spatial component to the forefront. A place on earth can be defined with precision on the ground and in computers. Digital data can be attached to a location as never before. Spatial identification and location enablement applications are now available in every significant type of software (word processing, spread sheets, professional applications, Web systems, GIS and databases). Use of appropriate computers with interpretative software capacity now transforms computer language into understandable descriptions of places, Governments, business and communities can potentially use computers to identify “where” their policies and activities are happening. More significantly, the “where” component can be used as an organizing structure for most human activities and information. The challenge of these new technological and organizational opportunities is large. A nation’s ability to reap the benefits of the spatial enablement of information requires the highest level input from its government and private sectors. Land administration systems (LAS) are the traditional means of spatial organisation of information: they are the obvious starting point for assessing new technologies in the context of different demands for land information for modern governments. This potential to transform the ability of LAS to inform governments, business and citizens about their world led to the concept of iLand, a concept of spatially enabled information for modern government.
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    Incorporating sustainable development objectives into land administration
    Historically, land administration systems (LAS) were built to support land markets and land taxation systems. In developed countries, these systems constitute substantial infrastructure provided through government for the benefit of overall public administration, citizens and businesses. These systems are expensive to maintain and increasingly reliant on technology. The design of LAS will become even more complex as they are now being used to assist delivery of a broader range of public policy and economic goals, the most important of which is sustainable development. The national and historical methods used to incorporate sustainable development objectives into national LAS were examined in an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) in Melbourne in December, 2006 with leading stakeholders and land policy experts from Australia and Europe. Distinctions between approaches used in modern European democracies and in Australia were identified. The European approach showed more integration between the standard LAS activities and measures of sustainability. Australian policy was more fractured, partly due to federation and the constitutional distribution of powers. In contrast, Australian LAS pioneering lay in incorporating market based instruments (MBI) and complex commodities into LAS and revitalization of land information through inventive Web based initiatives. The EGM developed a vision outlined in this paper for future LAS sufficiently flexible to adapt to this changing world of new technology, novel market demands and sustainable development.