Cadastre, GIS, Geospatial Information integration and Railways

01-14-2015 01:07 AM
New Contributor III

Cadastre, GIS, Geospatial Information integration and Railways.

Cadastre, GIS and Geospatial Information integration

The evolution of ICT (ICT is an umbrella term that encompasses all forms of computing, information technology, Internet, and telecommunications) location information infrastructures (also known as land information systems or services) in underpinning land administration is illustrated in Figure 37. The initial phase focuses on large-scale programs for capturing data by scanning records or conducting field surveys, with corresponding computerization of internal land administration processes. The next series of phases are all outward facing, improving the level of customer services and increasingly providing online services. Initially this effort involved providing extranet services to key customers; as Internet services matured, they supported an increasing number of information services and e-transactions. Finally, as interoperability among government agencies improves, radical changes and efficiencies will be achieved in delivering e-government services based on land administration (Mclaren & Stanley, 2011).

Figure 37 - Evolution of ICT in Land Administration (Mclaren & Stanley, 2011)

Nowadays, GIS Land Administration applications in a local, regional, national and trans-national levels are becoming a major integrator between different Land data sources. I choose two main topics, from the several pointed by (Dale & McLaren, 2005), to summarize this issue:

  • As GIS and associated technologies mature and more data become available in computer form, the use of GIS for integrating land-related data becomes more opportune. Increased openness and integration of data are, however, more than technical issues and are often seen as a threat rather than as an opportunity.
  • National Land Information Systems (NLIS) provide ease of access through the transparent integration of a diverse set of discrete datasets, many of them authoritative. Successful NLIS require common spatial referencing standards and appropriate GIS technology to support spatial data servers, federated DBMS, temporal management, high security, charging mechanisms, efficient WAN technology, and effective client customisation tools. In this context is presented GIS as the platform for Land Administration (Jones, 2013) in Figure 38.


Figure 38 - GIS - The platform for Land Administration (Jones, 2013)

A new generation of GIS-based tools is now available, supported by maturing spatial data infrastructures, to enhance the interaction experience and effectiveness with the citizen. Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) is being applied to participatory community planning (Zhao and Coleman 2006) cit. by (Mclaren & Stanley, 2011) to help neighbourhood community groups and individuals use mapping and spatial analyses in community development and public participation. One of the most advanced and participatory e-planning portals is in Denmark (see The solution provides public access to all statutory land-use plans such as municipal plans and development plans (called a lokalplan), both adopted or proposed, across Denmark. The areas of the development plans can be displayed in combination with cadastral maps, topographic maps, orthophotos and other kind of land-use constraints, such as conservation areas and coastal protection zones. This open, transparent e-planning portal also serves as an authoritative legal register. It is an excellent example of land registration and cadastral information services being integrated into wider e-government services (Mclaren & Stanley, 2011).

Cadastre and Railways

Infrastructure Railway Managers and Operators are huge property owners, managing very relevant areas of the territory related with railway infrastructures and facilities. Due to historical reasons – railway is a centenary industry - and further developments, within this valuable real estate assets, there are significant possessions in urban and suburban environments associated to lines, railway stations, logistic terminals and interfaces, yards, workshops, etc (Mata, 2012).

Each network, private or public, has its own context (world region, history, culture, values, leadership, …), but one thing is quite common among them regarding property and real estate control: information, when it exists, relies on old paper support deposited in “dark” basements of buildings or warehouses and it’s not an easy process to create knowledge from it under this conditions (Mata, 2012).

According to (Mata, 2012), when we are referring to land cadastre, applied to railway land assets or generally speaking about the territory, we basically must relate two main variables: property and ownership. Further on, within a railway organization cadastre control (Figure 39) is quite an important issue to several activities that should be developed over a very same reality: the railway domain.

Figure 39 – Cadastre Control (Ferbritas, 2012c)

In conclusion, cadastre control is a basic and strategic issue (as illustrated in Figure 39 and Figure 40), not only from the point of view of taking advantage from possessions and profit from it, but also for the general performance of the organization and for its relations with external entities (Mata, 2012).

Figure 40 - Why a Cadastre Information System? (Gil & Mata, 2011a)

GIS and Railways

Investing in current and reliable geodata is rewarding. There are lots of examples where efficiency gain can be attained but also an increase in safety and avoidance of damage to the environment. The public receive a better service, including the fast availability of substitute transport, shorter incident problem-solving times and prevention planning. Quality geodata should be a precondition for management in the railway sector and ideally one shouldn’t set up a business case for the improvement of data quality. In different countries there’s attention for BIM and geoinformation in the whole lifecycle of the railway network: from feasibility study, design and construction to the maintenance and management phase (van Driel & Zhao, 2012). Figure 41 presents a comprehensive list of railways activities where GIS support have a prominent role.

Figure 41 - GIS and Railways (Bills, 2013)

Railway managers, whether focused on passenger or freight delivery, can use the spatial and analytic components of GIS to efficiently manage assets, maximize throughput, and monitor safety. The ability to share maps and information online improves communication with your stakeholders, including customers (Esri, 2014), empowering entire railways infrastructure life-cycle management as presented in Figure 42.

Figure 42 - GIS and Railway Management (Koeppel & Engstrom, 2012)

PS: This text is extracted from my Master's Thesis in GIS and Science (published at Dissertation's State of Art Chapter 2.


Bills, T., 2013. 4th International Rail GIS Summit. Esri - Opening and Closing Presentation. Paris, France, Union International de Chemin de Fer (UIC).

Dale, P. F. & McLaren, R. A., 2005. GIS in land administration. In: Harlow & Longman, eds. Geographical Information Systems: Principles, Techniques, Management and Applications. Abridged Edition ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 859-875.

Esri, 2014. GIS for Railways. [Online]
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[Accessed 10 04 2014].

Ferbritas, 2012c. FBSIC. Cadastre Information System.. [Online]
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[Accessed 20 02 2014].

Gil, F. & Mata, L., 2011a. Cadastre Information System (FBSIC). [Online]
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[Accessed 19 02 2014].

Jones, B., 2013. New Technology for Cadastral Systems. [Online]
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[Accessed 11 03 2014].

Koeppel, I. & Engstrom, T., 2012. GIS for Rail Executives. Paris, France, UIC.

Mata, L., 2012. FBSIC – an innovative tool based on GIS technology. [Online]
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[Accessed 07 04 2014].

Mclaren, R. & Stanley, V., 2011. Module 14: ICT FOR LAND ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT. [Online]
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[Accessed 09 03 2014].

van Driel, J. & Zhao, Y., 2012. Third International Esri Rail Summit. [Online]
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[Accessed 10 04 2014].

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