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Klaus Mithöfer [06-2008]:

Development of a GIS-based Land Registry for Tanzania

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At present, the legal land administration in Tanzania provides tenure security to a minority of people only with only 11% of land being legally registered. Consequently, Tanzanian people developed a grassroots land administration based on customary practices, extralegal institutions and documents. The Government of Tanzania is aware of the importance of the extralegal economy and initiated the Property and Business Formalization Programme, which aims at integrating extralegal and informal land rights into the legal system. This dissertation develops a framework for a Universal Land Registry (ULR) based on Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to support the formalization of extralegal, customary and informal land rights in Tanzania. First, the demand for such a system as well as the Tanzanian environment is assessed. The ULR implementation strategy is developed based on the institutional setup, institutional needs and on experiences made so far in land right formalisation. Data capture strategies and registration methods are presented for adequately georeferencing different land rights. System requirements and the functional capacity of the ULR are discussed. The dynamic and functional view of the application is discussed based on activity, deployment and class diagrams developed in the Unified Modelling Language (UML). The ULR data model is based on the ‘Social Tenure Domain Model’, a new standard in the cadastral domain. The identification of persons is identified as major pre-condition for the ULR implementation and requires special attention in the process management. Extralegal documents are a valuable source for land right formalization. They also offer opportunities to secure land rights using simple spatial identifier such as points. The proposed registration practice requires frequent data exchange between local registries and a national database, which can be a handicap to the system due to the weak communication network and unreliable electrification. However, this is still of major value to ensure transparent and non-corrupt use of the system. The study concludes that in a next step pilot studies are required to test the feasibility of the suggested URL. The pilot studies should further contribute to developing national standards for customary practices, spelling of geographic locations, topographic mapping as well as measures to ensure usability of the system by illiterate people.

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