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Winter 2004/2005
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Lithuania's National Cadastre System Implements GIS

By Vidmantas Augulis, Head of the GIS Department, Lithuania's State Enterprise Centre of Registers

After wresting its independence from the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991, Lithuania underwent a series of significant changes in its governmental structure and direction. One involved the development of laws to restore landownership and organize a system to manage real property, which helps reestablish confidence in a country's ownership rights and business environment.

  click to enlarge
Map view of cadastre map Web service with orthophoto map background. User of the service can switch on and off the orthophoto map.

After initial attempts to use existing legal information and topographical maps as a basis for developing a cadastral system to support its landownership program, it was decided that historic survey and data errors were being perpetuated from the old system to the new one. Lithuania's State Land Cadastre Enterprise then formed a special GIS committee to examine the current mapping technology with the directive to implement a digitally based cadastral system in Lithuania.

In 1995, through a special Denmark–Lithuania land survey project and the PHARE program (which was set up by the European Union to assist applicant nations in joining its organization), Lithuania's State Land Surveying Institute implemented a cadastral mapping production system based on Esri software.

Later, the State Enterprise Centre of Registers (SECR) was established and tasked with integrating all real estate records and cadastre data into a single, GIS-based system. Data from the land register and data on buildings, construction projects, houses, and apartments were subsequently integrated into the Real Property Information System. Legal, technical, and geographic records have also been integrated into the system.

SECR's GIS department uses ArcGIS (ArcInfo and ArcView) to administer the central database, integrate data with attributes, and provide maps on the Internet. Thirty-three layers of data are maintained with ArcSDE, including administrative boundaries, buildings' center points, address points, and real property value zones.

SECR also performs appraisals of real property. This valuation system strengthens real estate markets and supports value-based taxation. GIS is an important component of its Mass Appraisal System. By accessing parcel, register, and market information from a single database, the appraisal system is used to compute mass values for property located in territories based on prescribed principles within defined time periods using updated market data. It also allows for periodic reevaluation of property values in response to market changes.

Lithuanian taxes on property include land tax, which is applied to the value of both urban and rural private land, and real property tax, which is applied to the value of real estate (excluding land). The base value for land tax properties depends on the land's productivity point and is adjusted for such factors as urban ecological conditions, availability of engineering facilities, and so forth. The real property taxable value is equal to the replacement cost adjusted by locality coefficients.

Land parcel data sets are grouped by characteristics essential to land market value, such as value zones, purpose of use, agricultural land, size of the land parcel, productivity grade, and recreational use. These valuations are displayed on a map, and the user can access further information in the database through the map or through textual query.

SECR's GIS facilitates the inclusion of many factors in its data model. Tax formulas can be automatically applied and computed. The system is easily updated to reflect market dynamics and ownership discrepancies. Quality control is ensured by comparison of sales costs and appropriate values. Because GIS is database driven, it can facilitate the development of a tax model that can be used to calculate tax liability related to property values.

Presently, the GIS department is implementing a new application called SDEGATE for its Real Property Cadastre and Register (RPCR) central database. The application works by extracting a copy of the data in an area of interest from the central database through ArcSDE, locking this area during editing or reviewing, and then committing the data back to the central database. For example, an end user in one of the branch offices can define an area of interest by inputting a polygon representing this area into SDEGATE. SDEGATE checks to see if another user doing geodata updating has locked this area. If this area is unlocked, SDEGATE connects to ArcSDE, extracts the data, sends the data to the user, and disconnects it from the database. SDEGATE then puts a write lock on the area by identifying the area in a special table within the database. No other user can edit those extracted features until the data is committed back to the database. When the end user has made all necessary edits and committed the data back to the database, SDEGATE performs a check of the data upon committing updates to the database and unlocks the area of interest. At any time, an end user can get information about which ArcSDE areas are being edited from any of the GIS computer stations.

SECR has also developed an application for the delivery of cadastral maps, integrated with its RPCR via the Internet, using ArcIMS technology. A user can get a variety of information about a property, including an orthophoto map, administrative boundaries, the boundaries of cadastral units and blocks, land parcels, centerlines of streets, and so on, all from the user's own computer.

For more information, contact Vaidotas Sankalas, HNIT-Baltic Geoinfoservisas (e-mail: Vsn@hnit-baltic.lt).

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