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Spring 2007
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Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, Use GIS for One Coherent Information System

Cadastre Solution Sets New Standard


  • German cadastre system standardizes on LM on ArcGIS.
  • Data now available to state as well as to the general public.
  • Application receives award in e-government competition.
  click to enlarge
Identification and analysis of land parcels can be done with AED-SICAD's land management solution.

The German cadastre system has recently undergone profound changes. Triggered by outdated and confusing cadastre standards, the German cadastre administration has in recent years developed a new, integrated cadastre information system. It was designed by the German Working Committee of the Surveying Authorities (AdV), which is composed of representatives of each surveying state office of each of the 16 federal states in Germany. This new system, named AFIS-ALKIS-ATKIS, is completely based on international standards, such as ISO, OGC, and FIG 2014. It integrates geodetic control points (AFIS) and cadastral (ALKIS) and topographic (ATKIS) data into the same data model, thus providing one coherent information system for all relevant, fundamental data for spatial referencing. It was up to the cadastre administrations of the federal states of Germany to select suppliers to implement this new standard.

Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein

With 1.7 million inhabitants, the city of Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany and 1 of the 16 federal states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Hamburg is both a city and a state. Economically and culturally, Hamburg is also the center of northern Germany. With 755 square kilometers, the city area is seven times bigger than Paris, France, and two and one-half times bigger than London, England. As a result, Hamburg's living and housing standards are particularly high. With 30 square meters of living space per person, Hamburg has the biggest average living space of all major cities in the world. Hamburg borders the German Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein, which lies between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. This state's rural character makes it very different compared to Hamburg, with its numerous lakes and rivers and very high percentage of protected landscapes.

Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein decided in April 2004 to jointly introduce their use of AED-SICAD's new, Esri software-based land management solution, LM on ArcGIS, for editing and maintaining their cadastral and topographic data along with ArcEditor for daily operation. Their decision was guided by the technological position of Esri and the leading position of AED-SICAD in Germany in terms of cadastral information systems and as the primary Esri software-based GIS application IT enterprise in Europe. They also asked AED-SICAD to implement ArcGIS technology-based Geoserver, and Hamburg additionally ordered the migration of its data to the new system. Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein provide cadastral services for 4.6 million German citizens.

  photo of Hamburg port
Port of Hamburg.

For the migration process, the data had to be prepared first by the cadastre authority to be in accordance with the new German object-oriented standardized data model defined by the AdV. Examples for such preparations were to transform line-type elements to area-type elements, such as embankments. AED-SICAD was then adapting the LM on ArcGIS Migration software package using two large test-area datasets prepared by the customer. AED-SICAD adapted mapping files of Esri Business Partner Safe Software's Feature Manipulation Engine (FME) as a tool to convert geographic data, and it also adapted its own developments based on ArcGIS (e.g., converting alphanumerical data or aggregate data after the migration). A typical aggregation was to combine all adjacent areas with the same land use. The cadastre authority would then performs the full migration using the adapted and tested LM on ArcGIS Migration software package.

Since the data model had been defined by the AdV, most of the project work for the implementation of LM on ArcGIS Editor was the definition of the cadastral business processes jointly with the customer so that they could be implemented accordingly. Typically, approximately 20 business processes, like parcel division, parcel fusion, create/delete building, and edit land register (e.g., apply change of ownership), have been defined. For each business process, the following operations were defined in updating the real estate data:

  • Step 1 is the provision of all necessary basic information for the surveyors to perform their tasks. Surveyors can be from either accredited private engineering offices or cadastral offices.
  • Step 2 is the capture of all necessary data in the field using mobile tools from AED-SICAD.
  • Step 3 is the completion of the data in the office to form data-model-compliant objects.
  • Step 4 is the performance of two types of data quality control: the objects are checked against the object catalog (e.g., Have mandatory attributes been entered completely? Is the topology correct?) and technical/administrative checks are performed (e.g., Is the sum of the area before and after splitting a parcel the same?).
  • Step 5 is the decision to update the cadastre, meaning that all relevant digital documents are presented to the decision maker within the cadastral authority.
  • Step 6 relates to the communication about the update to affected parties, such as owners, fiscal authorities, land registry (municipal courts), or other municipal departments. Another business process relates the land registry (municipal courts) with the cadastral authorities (LM on ArcGIS Editor), providing for an interface to electronically exchange relevant data in both directions.

The LM on ArcGIS Editor software was implemented according to the defined operations and business processes. Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein accepted the LM on ArcGIS software in November 2006 and will go into production with additional modifications in 2007 with several hundreds of users each. Hamburg will use the software in a central location, and in Schleswig-Holstein, the new information system is distributed over eight cadastral offices where it is installed automatically on client PCs using Microsoft tools.

For the maintenance of topographic data and maps, AED-SICAD also provides the necessary software according to the new German ATKIS standard. It comprises the maintenance of the digital landscape model and the cartographic model. The final layout for the map sheets is prepared in ArcGIS with additional tools, then printed once to the printer and once to the digital raster archive using AED-SICAD plot software. For the geodetic control points, AED-SICAD also provides the relevant software components.

More Information

For more information, contact Hagen Graeff, managing director, Landesbetrieb Geoinformation und Vermessung, City of Hamburg (tel.: 49-040-42826-5050, e-mail:; Florian Brandi-Dohrn, AED-SICAD (tel.: 49-89-45026-217, e-mail:, Web:; or Elmar Happ, AED-SICAD (tel.: 49-228-95 42-106, e-mail:

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