By Sonia Tobarez and Germán Cacciamano, Local Land Registry, Municipality of Córdoba
Founded in 1573, Córdoba is the second-largest city in Argentina and is home to 1.3 million people. It is located near the geographic center of Argentina, encompassing 576 square kilometers, and its historical and cultural roots are a vital part of the city's character. For example, the National University of Córdoba (founded in 1613 and the first in Argentina) is at the heart of the city's cosmopolitan flair. Economic activity is diversified among the industrial, service, fruit horticultural (the greenbelt of the city), and construction sectors.
Presently, its land registry has more than 480,000 buildings and 68 million square meters. Its annual rate of growth, averaged over the last five years, is 7,300 new buildings and 1.7 million square meters.
The city's Local Land Registry, founded in 1930, is responsible for managing and updating all the geometric, valuative, and legal information for the city's many buildings and contributes to the safety of property trade, ownership of the land, territorial organization, and urban financing through land-related tax.
It is essential for the fulfillment of the Local Land Registry's purposes to have not only quality territorial information but also easy and efficient access to that information. Until 2005, the constraints on information by paper, file drawers, primitive computer maps, and manual processes combined to restrict the registry's ability to overcome new challenges.
The City of Córdoba decided to develop its own land information system on the Esri platform for several reasons—the high quality of its products, corporate management of spatial data, cadastral maintenance tools, and alternatives and possibilities to present maps of the city with high quality and design in both digital and print format. It also provides a single platform with integrated full-featured data management, maintenance, publication, and mass distribution without the need to move between systems, applications, and databases.
The last cartographic work developed by the Municipality of Córdoba was the official map of the city in 1986. After that, there was no training on, or updating of, the cartographic production tools.
A deeds register was made with the same techniques used in 1940, when the first cadastral maps, detailed by block, were drawn. Many of these documents were still used, and although data maintenance continued, the register was unconnected, the documents showed isolated sections of the city that were often difficult to join, and the manual process did not allow staff to guarantee quality of data. The model and updating techniques were deficient for the city and its challenges and demands.
In December 2005, a project was begun to systematize the management of cartographic information with a view toward complete modernization of the Local Land Registry. This project had the financial support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Activities included supplying computers, printers, plotters, and GIS software (ArcSDE and ArcIMS) and consulting services for the implementation of specific work and training.
The project focused on incorporating the great amount of existing graphic data and implementing it in an environment based on GIS technology, working with a single database on which data maintenance, cartographic printing, consultation, and land administration will run simultaneously. The first stage, lasting until the end of 2007, focused on database development, digitalization and integration of information, development of custom functionalities in ArcGIS for Desktop, and development of capacities in the organization. The second stage, without the financial support of IDB and run by trained staff from the municipality, focused on data reorganization; increased process quality; and distribution of information, mainly through a web application based on ArcGIS for Server.
Aeroterra S.A., Esri's international distributor for Argentina and Uruguay, located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was key to the product's implementation, because it provided the necessary specialized support and the formation of principal human resources, both in administration and data maintenance, on the application development. It was also responsible for GIS software training. Courses and practices were carried out through an inductive courses system, with GIS management and development technologists in the company training center following the in-company model, which turned out to be extremely profitable for the municipality.
The municipality considers the cost-benefit ratio very positive. IDB's total investment was US$340,000, which accounted for 75 percent of the funding, the remainder being the municipality's own resources for satellite images and regularization of informal settlements. The involvement and commitment of the organization's human resources were key to the achievement of success in the reform.
Database design was guided by the directives of Catastro 2014 (FIG, 1998) and, in conjunction with a participatory process, helped staff achieve a solid database with current and future needs identified.
The current database is georeferenced in the official system of Argentina and has all the deeds register's data (plots, plot boundaries, possessions, expropriations, width of public streets, etc.); land values (block by block); administrative divisions; natural features; urban nomenclature (addresses, appropriate for geocoding); relevant facts (drawings that have not been approved and irregular division of plots); more than 30,000 scanned maps (cadastral and topographic); and three orthorectified, high-definition satellite images (IKONOS 2005 and QuickBird 2007 and 2009). The model has more than 30 objects (types), about 200 descriptive data attributes, and a size of 40 GB.
It is implemented in a geodatabase on ArcSDE 9.3 and SQL Server 2003, running on an IBM server, with four Xeon (dual core) processors with 3.16 GHz, 4 GB of RAM, a RAID SCSI mirrored disk of 140 GB, and one nonmirrored disk of 280 GB.
Another important aspect was map design, for which Esri products offered versatile and professional solutions. More than 60 standard maps based on layout view were produced, allowing changes only on feature content and location within the city, with preestablished scales to achieve uniformity in print output and PDF documents.
The content of each map comes from the geodatabase, which is permanently maintained, so that all the information provided by the Local Land Registry is up-to-date, allowing a high-quality service. This updating requires a commitment to continuous training of GIS professionals and staying on top of innovation of Esri products used. In updating, six technicians use ArcGIS for Desktop Advanced and ArcGIS for Desktop Standard licenses, working on a database versioned in multiple editing sessions, which allows editing without blocking the functions of the production version or impact on other users. The GIS staff is complemented by two developers and one geodatabase administrator.
One of the main products developed in the second stage was eMAP, a powerful web system of territorial information management based on ArcGIS for Server, which more than 500 internal users work with daily.
The data access diagram is complemented by ArcGIS for Desktop clients; AutoCAD clients through ArcGIS for AutoCAD; and other GIS clients, such as open source gvSIG, through a web map service.
The eMAP system has a wide range of functions, such as getting cadastral information through multiple searches; cadastral management tools, including reservation of the nomenclature; different map services (public lighting, private works, official plan of Córdoba, values map); the ability to report incidents and choose the quality of output maps; and links that associate the map with the bank of scanned maps.
Sonia Tobarez, information system engineer, has been a professional in the GIS area of the Local Land Registry Department, Municipality of Córdoba, since 2004. Germán Cacciamano, a survey engineer candidate, has been a GIS professional in the cartographic area of the Local Land Registry Department, Municipality of Córdoba, since 2004.
For more information, contact Sonia Tobarez (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org); Germán Cacciamano (e-mail: email@example.com); or Miriam Figueredo, Aeroterra S.A. (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).