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Summer 2004
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E-Land for E-Government: Using GIS in Korea

By Byong-nam Choe, Research Fellow, Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements

  click to enlarge
Citizens can get land information easily at home, including land price information.

In Korea, local authorities administer the public land through the assessment of land prices, management of land transactions, land use planning and management, and civil services. In many cases more than one department of a local authority produces and manages the same or similar land and property information, which has led to discrepancies in the information. With the large number of public land administration responsibilities and the control of each given to the local authorities, there were many problems that led to the decision to develop a method for sharing the information and data produced or required for administering land in the public and private sectors.

One problem was the 170 nonunified and inaccurate designated land use areas and districts on land registry and cadastre maps. This incorrect land and property information had actually resulted in financial losses to landowners. Also, people were required to visit the offices to obtain legal information related to land use regulation on their property. In many cases this information was not readily available, and they had to wait to get the information. In addition, the land and property information produced by local authorities was not promptly transferred to the Ministry of Construction and Transportation (MOCT, the central government organization that manages land planning and policies). As a result, the ministry was unable to properly handle problems, such as land speculation, because of its insufficient land and property information.

  click to enlarge
This illustrates the significant differences between a topographic map and a land map.

To rectify the problems with the administration of land information, the Land Management Information System (LMIS) was established in 1998. The purpose of LMIS is to provide land information, increase the productivity of the public land administration, and support establishing the land planning policies of MOCT. Initially, the land database was established using ArcSDE. This database included a large volume of spatial data such as topographic, cadastral, and land use district maps.

The first project undertaken by LMIS was to resolve problems. When individual map sheets were digitized into the database, sometimes the boundary lines of adjacent maps did not join properly. This happened either when source paper maps were expanded, contracted, or abraded or when unskilled persons performed the data automation. In addition, some features on the maps were not aligning properly. This occurred because the topographical, cadastral, and land use maps were created using different spatial references. In addition, the land use area and district maps were based on incorrect analog maps. The analog maps had been drawn at various reduced scales, and the relationship between the land use area and districts had not been defined.

The land use area and districts had spatial relationships such as disjoint, touches, crosses, within, and overlap. The topology rules provided with ArcGIS 8.3 Desktop helped resolve these matters. Also, by using case studies, work guidelines were established for developing the spatial database and are continuously being supplemented and amended when new problems are identified and solved.

Currently, each local authority is operating its own data server, which was purchased as part of its own or a national information project. In addition, since 2000, government employees have been provided with desktop computers running various operating systems. At the Land Management Information System, open information technology was introduced to enable free access among different application programs working with different languages from different platforms and to disperse information between data servers and desktops through the Internet or Intranet. In this regard, the Land Management Information System chose and applied three-tiered client/server architecture with Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA)—one of the implementation standards suggested by Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC, Now national institutions can access land information databases through a government-administered information network, and the public can access it through the Internet.

Application systems for administering land are now divided according to vertical relationships between different tiers within the government (e.g., MOCT—metropolitan city/province—city/county/ward). These systems include the Land Policy Support System of MOCT, which supports the establishment of land policy and planning and collects and analyzes statistics of land information; the Land Administrative Management System and Land Use Planning Support System of metropolitan cities and provinces; and the Land Administration Support System of cities, counties, and wards. The Land Policy Support System and Land Use Planning Support System were developed using ArcInfo and MapObjects to integrate and analyze both spatial and statistical data. These systems currently include basic statistics, analysis, and inquiries on the spatial data sets and ancillary information.

The Land Administration Support System is subdivided into application systems for Land Transaction Management, Announced Land Price Management, Development Profits Return Management, Real Estate Brokerage Management, Spatial Data Management, and Land Information Service. The Land Information Service System furnishes land information to government employees and citizens through the Intranet and Internet, benefiting both government employees and local citizens.

Hyunrai Kim, vice director of the Land Management Division of Seoul Metropolitan City, states, "By means of the Internet Land Information Service System, citizens can get land information easily at home. They don't have to visit the office, which may be located far from their homes." This system has also resulted in a time and cost savings. With the development of the Announced Land Price Management System, it is possible to compute land prices directly. Continues Kim, "We are saving the cost required for outsourcing by using the Announced Land Price Management System, which allows us to print land price presentation maps directly."

Until now the focus has mainly been on the administrative work of data management and its development; however, in the future the focus will be on the expansion and development of the decision making support system using various data analyses. It is also envisioned that the land information will be provided utilizing a 3D land information system to more realistically represent the land's surface. In addition, the Land Legal Information Service System will be developed to inform land users of regulations on land use. It will be available online using a one-stop open administrative service to provide land information to anyone anytime. The Land Management Information System is not only used to develop new methodology to solve specific problems by using GIS but also to construct a significant and important spatial information infrastructure for e-government, which will provide integrated information and transactions in the future.

For more information, contact Byong-nam Choe, Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements (tel.: 82-31-380-0404, e-mail:

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