Land ownership is a foundation of national economies: those who have land titles can use them to obtain credit (which is often essential to start and expand businesses), and property taxes are a key source of government funding. Therefore, authoritative and efficient land registries are essential for economic development.
Yet, in many countries land registries are archaic and inefficient, making them a source of corruption and abuse. Conversely, efforts to develop modern cadastres sometimes result in overly expensive and complex systems.
At the end of February 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution calling on member states to develop a global geodetic reference frame for sustainable international relief and development (see “A Global Geodetic Roadmap” in the May issue of this magazine). The resolution urges governments to voluntarily implement the open sharing of geodetic data, standards, and conventions and invites them to improve national geodetic infrastructures and to engage in multilateral cooperation that addresses infrastructure gaps and duplications towards the development of a more sustainable geodetic reference frame.