The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing

The next big thing will be a geospatial renaissance.  You may prefer to call it a geospatial awakening, or revolution, or regeneration, or even a geospatial rebirth.  This will have everything to do with new technologies, and so much more.

Before I can help you discover this, we need to examine some cold hard facts in our history and go places where few have ventured to go before.  We need to get real, and identify the current reality.  Then we can begin to set the stage with meaningful solutions, rather than continue with our current land information systems, which are archaic and inefficient.

We need to understand the basic building block of the parcel fabric in any modern GIS system today is based upon the text written legal description.  Text based legal descriptions, which lawyers control, are archaic in light of modern graphics and all the technological advances experienced by the geospatial community.

There are about 3,300 counties in this nation, each inventing and developing its own unique land information system.  The decision makers on these county systems are elected politicians, and not geospatial professionals.  In 2 articles found within xyHt, John Paletiello documents what is going on nationally.  He entities one of his articles, “It’s Time Our Nation Wakes up!”  When grading 7 categories of geospatial activities, the US is ranked 15th behind other countries.  The US averages about a C grade, but when looking at the cadastre, that grade is D+.  How can this be with some of the greatest technological advances ever in the last 40 years?

Where is the plan to dramatically improve upon that grade of D+?  There is none.  There needs to be.  The threads that follow will show geospatial professionals what needs to happen, highlighting our glorious history going back 150 years, and refocusing on a dramatically different and far better future.

So do you like the idea of a geospatial renaissance?  What about an internal paradigm shift within the hearts and minds of the geospatial community of professionals?  And this internal paradigm shift will be even far greater than the external paradigm shift that we have seen in the last 40 years with new technologies.

It’s time for a grade A again!

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spledeus
2 years ago

Sounds expensive.We have a county registry that has deeds back to the fire.  All are available online for the fee of a dollar per sheet that you print that you print.  They have not taken the profits to scan the probate records.Our attorneys strictly adhere to the REBA 60 for research.  A standard ALTA should include substantial time to research where the attorneys fall short. 

James Fleming
2 years ago

A few random thoughts:Who gets an “A” or an “F” in any grading system is less dependent on the person being graded than the person who sets the grading criteria.  I’ll wager if we ranked the same nations cadastral systems with high marks for tradition, stability, continuity, and potential costs to establish and maintain, the current system in the U.S. would get an “A”.  And that grade would be just as meaningless as the above referenced D+.The number of American, uninvolved in the “geospatial” marketplace who woke up this morning and though “boy, I’d sure be willing to pay more… Read more »

holy cow
2 years ago

No!  It’s MY lawn.  You get off of it.

R.J. Schneider
2 years ago

^^^^^When grazing rights ripen into title^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^  🙂

Alvin Tostick
2 years ago

I’ll  endorse James Fleming’s rebuttal here. Not fully since he wanders of into a polemic but he is quite correct on many of his bullet points.Technocracy leads to autocratic government. Boundaries are the domain of the SURVEYOR not the geospatialized GISic geomatical agent who longs to be an engineer. Why should a local boundary survey need to be digitally determined by someone and somewhere in some office of the state capital.That being said, science and technology offer solutions to problems that can’t be ignored. But it is a double edged sword.Change agent pfft

FL/GA PLS.
2 years ago

 @Alvin TostickYour vernacular is amazingly similar to a previous poster whom apparently resigned from here.

Frank Willis
2 years ago

 To RJ Leaver….. No possession?No intent?Accretion?  Avulsion?No natural hierarchy?No interpretation of vague deeds?Prorate all sections?  Decisions related to that?Deed doesn’t match reality?  How you gonna fix that?I agree that the system is evolving, and it needs to.  But I disagree with GIS doing it. I also remain disappointed that NSPS doesn’t get into this.You can’t grade a paper properly unless you truly understand the subject–or even write a test unless you understand the subject. 

Dallas Morlan
2 years ago

Made presentations to County Engineers Association of Ohio Conference, Ohio GIS, September 26, 2001 and Professional Land Surveyors of Ohio Annual Conference, February 8, 2002.  These presentations (and the paper “GIS/LIS in Ohio and the NCEES Model Law” submitted) outlined existing Ohio laws that required county tax maps to be created and maintained under the supervision of a licensed Professional Surveyor.  This did generate some discussion in Ohio and a recognition that using GIS as a tax map did not alter the legal requirements.  Some counties ignored the discussions and openly violated the law John Francis ( RETIRED69) and I frequently posted… Read more »

idest
2 years ago

Where national cadastres work, and work well, the countries are much smaller, and legacy land records systems were less disparate and diverse to start with.  An idea worth exploring of course, but the main sticking point I could see is that local control is an integral part of the existing fabric, is a point of pride, and highly defended. Retro-fitting the country, a state. or even some counties would be fraught with impracticality and intense opposition. Not to say that lessons learned and specific elements from successful cadastres could not improve on the existing – that may be the most… Read more »

thebionicman
2 years ago

If we were establishing a new cadastre independent of common law and prior to settlement this would work. As has been said, a few hundred years of title and occupation would have to be ignored to make it happen. The Profession of Surveying, the powers of Courts and existing real property rights would be replaced by a ‘system’ having its own imperfections. Over time a serires of manuals and a body of case law would develop to overcome and adapt as these imperfections became apparent.Maybe we could call this a Public Land Survey System…

idest
2 years ago
Reply to  RJ Leaver

Rich,I am a bit short on discretionary time and energy to go back over and over the various cadastre models and discussions as in the exhausting email exchanges over the past year or so. I encouraged you to continue your research and even suggested outlines (several times) on how you could present problem statements, examples of various cadastres and models, and propose actionable steps (even if only some select elements of cadstres that could help improve legacy systesms). And even offered to help you get that published; the SaLIS journal is always looking for papers, and it could be serialized… Read more »

Bill93
2 years ago

Any new system or improvement in existing systems must be built on the data we have, and some places apparently don’t have much to build on. The first step toward improvement would be to get all states to require recording of plats if there was no prior one or if a new survey shows material differences, and capping/tagging of monuments so we know more of their history. 

Dallas Morlan
2 years ago

The 2001 paper I linked above concluded with the following statement of my opinion.In closing I believe Ohio has in place the legal basis for a County Auditor’s GIS cadastral layer to be considered authoritative. Consensus needs to be reached regarding methods to document and resolve boundary conflicts. Cadastral layers maintained by registered professional surveyors, using existing survey and co-ordinate documentation standards discussed will, over a period of many years result in improved usability for Ohio public GIS systems. The counties that took notice and are following Ohio law are well on their way to resolving the problems.

R.J. Schneider
2 years ago

Advocate or Antagonist ???? ..reason #47 why I support a move back to the feudal land tenure system.

Dale Yawn
2 years ago

If you live in a state that has mandatory recording of plats, consider yourself lucky. I’m not going to offer an opinion about a national cadastre, but I think we need to have some minimum standards for written deeds as a start to reforming our land records system. I have seen relatively modern deeds here in Chatham County, Georgia, that are little more than a recitation of the tax assessor’s ID number and a street address. While those deeds may or may not be sufficient in a legal sense to convey property, they suck when you have to figure out… Read more »

LRDay
2 years ago

What needs to be addressed is boundary law. In the US landowners are in control of their boundaries. They been allowed to deed it to others in a pretty sloppy fashion. The PLSS enabled a lot of deeding without surveys. Breaking up a perfect square into mathematical parts is pretty simple on paper. It’s been do it yourself since the beginning and that is a fairly economical way to do it. If it was messed up the problem goes to the buyer in the future, the seller cashes his check and washes their hands of it. So we have this… Read more »

MightyMoe
2 years ago

I dunno, from what I’ve seen it’s a long way off.If there are masses of qualified surveyors to hit the field and monument and tie every corner to a Geo database, then I suppose it could work, after that you need someone to track the ever changing coordinates; until then the most important breakthrough I’ve seen in GIS is what I noticed in the Natrona County WY GIS:You can turn on the property lines, and you can see photo imagery, but you can’t see the photo under the property lines unless you zoom way out, as you get closer the photo imagery fades… Read more »

eapls2708
2 years ago

Until the technologists among us recognize and accept that 1) boundaries are legal entities which may be described according to physical features and/or mathematical terms, and that any dimensions, surveyed or otherwise, are the least reliable and least descriptive means by which to define boundary locations, GIS linework, no matter how carefully calculated, will be largely misleading. If those lines were to be decalred authoritative, particularly if maintained by the Assessor’s office or similar bureaucracy that is often heavily influenced by the political leaders of a county, the result would be absolutely disastrous in that when many, if not most will… Read more »

RADAR
1 year ago

I helped a friend of mine, interview Mike Thomson in Vancouver BC Canada:

Surveying GIS: Recording land surveys Canadian style.

We went up there twice and had about a 4 hour interview both times. The LTSA is a private, non-profit organization. All of the money goes back into the organization to help build a bigger and better system; very little government bureaucracy.

 

Visit their web site BC Land Title and Survey Authority and see what a well organized, coordinated cadastre looks like.

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