DLS operates, partially on a manual and partially on a computerized basis, a graphical multipurpose cadastre. The Department records a considerable amount of land related data. Cadastral plans are widely used as a fundamental graphic record by a wide range of agencies. Information about development, utilities, land use, water resources, geology, and even statistical data for population, industry, agriculture and planning, are recorded on, or closely related to the cadastral plans.
The Government of Cyprus through the Department of Lands and Surveys (DLS), implemented a system to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Departmental activities taking advantage of available information technology and modern cost effective survey instrumentation and techniques.
The general strategic objective of the country is the establishment of a fixed boundary coordinated cadastral system after a systematic resurvey, the computerization of the land records, cadastral plans, and topographical maps, the development of a number of computerized systems to support the survey, registration, valuation and management functions of the Department, and the staged development and implementation of a National Land Information System (LIS), where all agencies with land related activities can share available data for the benefit of the economy of the country.
The Cyprus LIS project is a program covering the following groups of activities:
(a) The strengthening and re-computation of the National Grid System and the systematic resurvey, for cadastral purposes, of the entire island. All modern equipment and techniques such as GPS, photogrammetry and EDM tacheometry are being used, in an attempt to reach the most efficient and cost effective method.
(b) The computerization of land transactions, the improvement and acceleration of valuation assessments, the reduction of duplication of land administration work among Government Agencies, and the increase of the ability of the Government to effectively manage state-lands, and expedite acquisition and requisition orders.
(c) The development of a Digital Cadastral Data Base (DCDB), a Survey Data Base (SDB) and a Topographical Data Base (TDB), suitable to support an Integrated Land Information System.
(d) The development of a computerized system, capable of supporting all the registration, valuation and land management functions of the Department, and the development of a Legal/Fiscal Database as a substantial component of the Land Information System.
(e) The introduction of computer-assisted techniques into the Valuation processes, to achieve optimum performance, and to enable a semi-automated general revaluation program at frequent time intervals.
The LIS in the Department of Lands and Surveys has been designed and developed having two major application components:
a. The Survey Related Applications (Geographical Component)
b. The Legal/Fiscal Applications (Legal/Fiscal Component)
Basically, all Legal/Fiscal application systems have been developed in Cyprus using the case tools of ORACLE Relational Database Management System. The spatial applications are based on Arc/Info, Arc/View and other ESRI GIS products and RDBMS technology, on surveying packages (such as LISCAD) and on CAD packages (eg. AutoCAD and MicroStation).
Four main databases have been developed in the Department:
a. The Survey Database,
b. The Digital Cadastral Database,
c. The Topographical Database, and
d. The Legal/Fiscal Database.
The Survey Database, the Digital Cadastral Database and the Topographical Database constitute the spatial component of the LIS, and the Legal/Fiscal database mainly constitutes the aspatial component. The objective of the Department to operate and maintain an integrated system, where the four databases would operate as one single corporate database, has been achieved.
The corporate database contains the survey data-set, the digital cadastral data-set, topographical overlays, the legal/fiscal data-set, sales history data, and other useful information. A number of application systems have been developed around the system. These systems basically include applications for data entry, maintenance, storage, enquiry and output (displaying, reporting, plotting and printing).
Digital Databases of the Cyprus LIS
The Survey Database (SDB) stores information related to the geodetic network, current survey data, and historical records of all surveys. The SDB is the repository for detail from the original source records of the surveys that underpin the cadastral framework. It is also the reference system for applications that require dimensions or survey accurate coordinates.
The objective of the SDB is to assure that the country is supported by a system able to efficiently provide timely, accurate and comprehensive survey information. It also contains the underpinning data for the Digital Cadastral Database.
Digital Cadastral Database
The Digital Cadastral Database (DCDB) has been designed to provide an up-to-date continuous cadastral map base to support cadastral mapping and the LIS functions. The DCDB is the database that stores the current cadastral framework, thematic overlays and topographical data in a seamless form.
The main objectives of the DCDB are:
a. Replace the manual techniques associated with the creation and maintenance of the cadastral plans at various scales.
b. Provide the spatial underlay for an integrated LIS.
c. Ensure that the spatial underlay is correct and up-to-date for all users, both in DLS and in other organizations.
The basic general objectives of the Legal/Fiscal component of the proposed LIS are:
a. Store and maintain in digital form the land registers and other land records.
b. Facilitate transactions by providing on-line access and maintenance.
c. Provide administrative and statistical support.
d. Provide a document tracking system.
e. Support Computer Aided Valuations.
The Legal/Fiscal activities of the Department are diverse. The functional areas that are supported, and the facilities that are provided, were carefully selected during the users requirements and analysis stages. Consideration was given to the scope of the initial system and from this, the system functionality was determined. The volume of the work involved, the proposed use of the data, the complexity of some functions, and the benefits gained were among the criteria for deciding which functions should be automated.
The system provides on-line support to almost all branches of a District Lands Office, including applications, declarations, mortgages, forced sales, attachments, local enquiry, registration, checkers, tenure, land consolidation, leases, license, notations and valuations.
Land Information System Progress
The Department of Lands and Surveys has already implemented an integrated Land Information System which serves the needs of the Department and the needs of other organizations and departments which use land related data. The implementation phases included a series of projects such as: the strategic planning and system design, the release of tenders for hardware and software, the tender evaluation, followed by an agreement which was signed between DLS and an International Consortium for the system development.
The system development started officially in September 1995, and it was followed by the system design phase. The next phase, which was the system development phase, lasted approximately 2 years. After the delivery of the customised system, a series of testing scenarios followed, which enabled the improvement of the applications.
The system was officially accepted in 1999, and it is currently used in a production environment. At the same time, many projects have been initiated for collecting and preparing the data that populate the LIS databases. These projects include the re-survey of the whole island, the digitization of current cadastral plans, and the data entry of legal and fiscal data.
The progress of the LIS data collection and database population is shown in the following figures:
- Legal data 814.000 registrations (62.6%), out of 1.300.000.
- Fiscal data 190.000 sub-properties (9.0%), out of 2106000
- DCDB 850.000 (78.0%) land parcels digitized, out of 1089480, 696.900 in database (64,0%)
- SDB 50.000 land parcels in database (5,0%)
It is estimated that in 1-2 years the Digital Cadastral Database (DCDB) and the Legal Database data input and processing will be completed for the free areas, whereas the Fiscal database will be completed within the next 2-3 years. The Survey Database (SDB) is scheduled to be fully populated after the completion of the resurvey program.
Further developments have been done on the LIS, during 2005, towards the creation of a planning zones database. The data model has been designed along with the required conversion routines. The digitization of a total of 4500 plans started in January 2005 and it will finish in December 2005. All vector data will be converted and accommodated in the Land Information System. Mass updating will be carried out for the population of all zoning characteristics and attributes of each property.
In addition to the above, extra themes were created in the LIS, providing access to ortho-photo maps and satellite images, which cover Cyprus at large scale. A new server computer has been installed, which accommodates both ortho photos and satellite images. These sets of data along with all the rest GIS/LIS information and datasets can be accessed by all users in an interactive environment.
Land Information System Upgrade
In 2004, major upgrades were implemented both for the hardware and the software environment of the Land Information System. Old workstations, servers and peripherals have been replaced by modern technology equipment. The current computer environment consists of the following:
1. Arc/GIS 8.3 and Arc/GIS 9.0 GIS software
2. Oracle 8i RDBMS
3. 17 SUN Servers
4. 485 SUN Workstations
5. 264 PCs
6. 242 printers
7. 28 HP plotters
8. 18 scanners