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Land holds value because it can be used for income, housing, production, welfare, investments and collateral. Property rights to land are among the most essential economic goods existing. Sustainable land management and a functional real property market require a system to record property rights. Data based registers and electronic communication related to them, rooted in modern substantial and procedural legislation, have proven superior when it comes to effective protection of property rights.
There are at least two different approaches when building a cadastre and register infrastructure. One approach is oriented towards improving the land market by securing property rights for physical and legal persons, opening up for extended use of real estate as collateral, removing red tape in the land administrations and putting service orientation on top of the agenda.
Another approach is oriented towards the administrative purpose of having a complete and correct land information system to support spatial planning, operation of utilities, tax administration and general public service to mention some.
In general, countries who have emphasized the property rights perspective have the best chance to succeed in terms of cost benefit. In the context of registration of rights to immovable property, a unique identification of the registration object (i.e. land parcel) is the single most important output from the cadastral services.
A good property system facilitates registration of common and communal land as well as different and overlapping rights to the same land. It facilitates the registration of ownership, leasehold and use rights by individuals and groups, such as villagers and groups of indigenous peoples. A well designed, inclusive property system generates economic development for the whole society, indirectly benefiting all the poor.