Constructing a digital land record system




Gillis, Bryan S.

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Land records represent the legal bindings of a person to their property and assist in the execution of property ownership. Protecting these documents and adopting a clear system to manage them should be a priority to every private citizen with interest in real property in the United States. Unfortunately, existing land record systems have become dated and fail to protect land records and offer little-to-no transparency or accessibility. Fortunately, more modern digital land record systems are being developed to combat these issues. When constructing a digital land record system, it is necessary to (1) identify the economic and functional value of using digital land record systems for a government entity, (2) establish procedures for the digitization of physical land record systems, and (3) provide digital land record system examples that meet the base needs of a land administration system with public access that follows both geospatial data and digital library standards. This thesis evaluates the needs of a successful digital land record system and outlines the development and capabilities of BandoCat, a modern digital land record system project at the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science (CBI) at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. This thesis will assess the current state of land record systems in the United States and highlight the current inefficiencies and issues existing in these systems, thereby necessitating the development of BandoCat as a modern solution. The design of modern land record systems is founded in the standards of digital libraries. These digital libraries serve as long-term data stewards and provide well-developed standards which land record systems can leverage. This thesis details the parameters of BandoCat, how it leverages digital library standards, its modern features (such as georectification and adherence to metadata standards), and how modern land record systems (such as BandoCat) address current digital land record systems’ shortcomings, facilitate easier access for stakeholders, easier system interoperability, and visualization of land records information. It is the hopes of the author that this thesis will serve as a guide to improving the state of land record systems in the United States. Through the combination of the modern digital land record systems, such as BandoCat, with a consistent and interoperable design, the state of land administration can be vastly improved. The procedures and methodology created by the author provide a baseline for improving land record systems, and the BandoCat system developed by the Spatial {Query} Lab provides a software to begin the transition from physical to digital land record systems.



GIS, land administration, land records, legal, software, surveying



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