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Land Parcels

Areas of land or more generally of the Earth’s surface (land and/or water) under common rights (such as ownership or easements), claims (such as minerals or indigenous land) or use. This theme can include individual fields and cadastral parcels.

Why is this theme fundamental?

Land parcel data is required for land management, infrastructure management and spatial planning. They are a necessary part of a good secure land tenure system which in turn contributes to economic development by enabling investments. At a local level they may be used as basis for taxation that often provides the necessary funds needed to ensure basic services to the inhabitants. Land parcels are necessary for agriculture improvements, such as land policy and land reform.

If there is a unique, commonly-adopted parcel reference it can form a common link between many other data topics.

Which sustainable development goals (SDGs) will it help to meet?

Land parcels are a powerful governmental tool to achieve many SDGs, including 1.4, 2.4, 8, and 11.1.

Geospatial data features in more detail
The Land Parcels theme mainly comprises the feature land parcel with three basic attributes:
  • The geographic location;
  • A unique identification of the parcel; and,
  • The type of parcel (may be implicit).
Other information may be attached to land parcels, such as land use or land cover. It is also recommended managing the land parcel’s temporal information. Land parcels may be associated with land registries (or equivalent) that establish the rights (and possibly the restrictions and responsibilities) that a party (a natural or legal person) has on a land parcel - on ground, below ground or above ground.

Possible sources of data
Land parcel data is frequently found in registers supporting the land tenure and transfer system of a country. It may also be part of a taxation or planning system.

Existing Data Standards
Note: This is indicative. Other lists of standards exist and UN-GGIM will seek to work with thematic experts to develop a list of relevant data standards.
  • INSPIRE Data Specification on Cadastral Parcels – Technical Guidelines 3.1;
  • ISO 19152: Land Administration Domain Model; and,
  • International Land Measurement Standard (ILMS).