CadastreGeospatial - GISTerritorial Planning

What is first, the cadastre or the Territorial Ordering?

A few days ago, in the lobby of a hotel I found a Bolivian and a Frenchman who intercepted me for free consulting purposes ... and among other things they asked me something similar to this:

Is the cadastre necessary for territorial ordering?

Can territorial planning be done without a cadastre?

It can…?

Territorial order

So after geofuming from the green, we reached an informal consensus that the Land Management and the cadastre are not interdependent, not necessarily. The issue is that Territorial Ordering is not a broader level oriented to planning, while the cadastre is an inventory of facts as they are, that is why it is only an input for the Ordinance.

It is very easy to confuse between one thing and the other, define an urban perimeter, make massive measurements of land, generate cartography or regularize the legal tenure of the land are actions in the management of the territory and are part of the action of ordering the territory as it is the municipal regulation to prohibit alcoholic beverages in central park.

What happens is that the ordinance actions can be isolated, and in this way the cadastre is one of those isolated actions. When we speak of a TERRITORIAL MANAGEMENT PLAN, then we speak of a planning that integrates different actions both in fact (such as a diagnosis) and in law (such as regulations). Therefore, it is possible to do Land Management without having a Land Registry, but without a doubt, if there is a physical inventory, it would allow measures to be more clearly proposed, and if it does not exist, it will surely be one of the first tasks to be done within the compliance plan.

The Territorial Planning has more to do with the decision making and agreements between those involved in a territory.

The Cadastre will be necessary to implement a series of measures related to legal certainty, property tax management, capital gains recovery or land use planning. We could then say that the Cadastre is a requirement to implement the Land Use Plan, but not an obligation to formulate it.

Recall the different levels in which the Territorial Organization is developed:

The Normative Level (Political / administrative)

At this level, the legal framework of the country, region and local government is worked on. Without this, very little can be done and this level can be developed (to a large extent) without the need for high-precision maps. Jean-Roch Lebeau defines it as a political level (not of politicking) but of policies where it is sought that different interests can be harmonized within joint planning that facilitate integrated territorial management.

The Executive Level

This is the formation of instruments or capacities to be able to develop the Plan, beyond defining technologies, it includes the identification and appropriation of actors. At the technology level, this is the process of conceptual construction, adaptation of existing information and scope planning of non-existent coverage and here if the reality of the cadastre has a lot to do, whether it exists or not, precise or imprecise. This is usually the level where many want to start and get bogged down by not having precise data, by not knowing its relevance or by not having the legal framework that justifies the high investments that it entails. And notice we are not talking about choosing software brands or painted maps, but rather the conceptual architecture of what the politicians approved in the chamber. of the blind with what the field technician will apply at the time of affecting a property ... of course at the lowest cost and under sustainable decisions.

But I insist, the tools are only idealized inputs, the important thing here is the institutionality and formalization of the actions.

The Operative Level

It is about establishing practical times and mechanisms to carry out the plan. Here, from a technological point of view, Territorial Planning translates into affectations at the level of plots and even people under practical instruments. It is obvious that not much can be done without having a functional cadastral base (which can be technified from heaven to hell with a punctual cadastre). So the cadastre is necessary to operationalize the territorial ordering at that level.

I present the graphic villainously stolen to Jean-Roch Lebeau but for these purposes is very well built.


This gap between the upper and lower levels is what the geomatics must fill, without astralizing the poem of the law or tormenting the simple intention of the technician or official who will apply it, without losing the optics of the cartographer due to the simplicity of the sociologist. If the municipality wants to collect taxes, do not complicate your life with data that you will not be able to keep up to date, but do not simplify it to the point that the spirit of the law is lost.

Land use planning is frequently associated with “maps“, however it looks more like “strategic“, which can then be taken to “operations” and finally to “instruments“In this last field, one of the obligatory inputs is the cadastre, however, if the previous steps do not exist, we will only have painted maps.

The cadastre is necessary to avoid being left with large-scale maps and inoperable documents. But not only the Cadastre is necessary, but other instruments that reflect the social, biophysical and economic reality of the country. On the contrary, wanting to do Territorial Planning without having the political and administrative establishment we will arrive at maps painted in beautiful colors but without a link to decisions.

Golgi Alvarez

Writer, researcher, specialist in Land Management Models. He has participated in the conceptualization and implementation of models such as: National Property Administration System SINAP in Honduras, Management Model of Joint Municipalities in Honduras, Integrated Cadastre-Registry Management Model in Nicaragua, Territory Administration System SAT in Colombia . Editor of the Geofumadas knowledge blog since 2007 and creator of the AulaGEO Academy that includes more than 100 courses on GIS - CAD - BIM - Digital Twins topics.

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  1. Beyond being a Bolivian or a Frenchman who inspired the theme, what should be seen is the solution to the operational problems that are common in all countries, so I am left with the last part of the article related to the operational level and how these urban planning tools should be managed.

  2. Hello Manuel, I know Jean Roch, but he was not the one I was talking to.

  3. The Frenchman is called Jean-Roch Lebeau, he is very good at these issues ... I have had the opportunity to talk with him and he has interesting topics in terms of land use planning ...

  4. Speaking of Bolivians, I could say with precision that the lack of operation, before a series of situations, make that neither the Cadastre nor the Territorial Ordinance work properly in Bolivia, it is true that both complement each other and that their levels of application are different, but They have to go hand in hand to speak only one language.

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