The Effectiveness of Land Information System

The Effectiveness of Land Information System

Project “BRACED” Land Regularization Article on The Effectiveness of Land Information System Written By: Kenneth A Shay II

An efficient and effective land information system is critical for national development. Land information systems drive decision making and policy creation in government, manage and appropriate property taxes and revenue which is integral to a country’s economic viability and secure land tenure for the citizens of a country. (Kenneth A Shay)

“A Land Information System is a tool for legal, administrative and economic decision-making and an aid for planning and development. A land information system consists, on the one hand, of a database containing spatially referenced land-related data for a defined area and, on the other, of procedures and techniques for the systematic collection, updating, processing and distribution of the data. The base of a land information system is a uniform spatial referencing system, which also simplifies the linking of data within the system with other land-related data.” (UNECE)

The two key elements in this information system is the geographical/spatial element and linked enterprise data. Geography, both terrestrial and cosmic is an integral part of decision making in all sectors including business, industry and commerce, government and research which drive a country’s growth and sustainability. Linked enterprises are the only way countries can connect and manipulate the information intelligently, meaningfully and effectively.

Locally, land information systems are siloed, and this creates inherent inefficiencies in the system which hinder customer transactions and ultimately limit the potential gains the government can reap from these powerful, albeit isolated systems that they have invested millions of dollars in. (Shay)

At present, the following agencies are not fully integrated:

  • The National Land Agency – spatial/geographic data, ownership records, valuation records
  • The National Housing Trust – spatial/geographic data
  • The Housing Agency of Jamaica – government lands
  • The Urban Development Corporation – government lands
  • The Administrator Generals Department – administration of estates and land transactions
  • Tax Administration Jamaica– property tax payment records
  • Registrar Generals department – records of deaths
  • The Private Sector Organization of Jamaica – local and international investors and investment

Imagine the death of a land owner being reported at the Registrar General’s Department and duly noted, but this information is not passed to the Land Valuation Department or Titles Office at the National Land Agency or the Administrator Generals Department. The security of tenure of relatives of the deceased who are not au fait with the system and cannot hire legal representation become marginalized and the government loses a target for the collection of land taxes and estate duties. (Shay)

Imagine the Urban Development Corporation’s wealth of lands for potential investment not being accessible by the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica so opportunities for local and foreign direct investment are missed.

Imagine the wealth of lands which fall under the purview of the Estate Division of the National Land Agency and the Urban Development Corporation not being readily accessible by the Housing Agency of Jamaica or the National Housing Trust preventing thorough analysis for the provision of housing solutions.

To move a country such as Jamaica forward, the government needs to be proactive, and the only way to achieve the efficiencies that are required is through robust and functional information system, underpinned by geography as an integrated land information system will also benefit the health, security, statistical, agricultural, tourism and transportation agencies within government as well.

Agencies should move toward the use of a common data format and the government should implement the use of Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) method(s)/technology that is fit for purpose to horizontally integrate the systems used at the various agencies. ESB is an infrastructure to integrate applications and services. ESB is used to connect existing and new software components to build a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and ESB strengthens SOA through reduction of number, size, and interface complexity between applications and services. ESB also eases connection and mediation, simplifies integration, and eases the reuse of service components so that it improves integration scalability. ESB also provides strong, reliable, and safe interface communication infrastructure that can be expanded. Finally, the use of ESB in this integration method can also solve the complexity of information technology architecture from heterogenic applications built from different programming architecture and language as well as different platforms.

Legal requirements, and each organizations’ informational, operational and management requirements must be considered during implementation, however, the increase in the quality of deliverables that will result from an information system design that integrates the agencies aforementioned will boost the economy, increase the ease of doing business and make data more accessible to the public.



Kenneth A Shay. 2017.

Shay, Kenneth A. 2018.

UNECE, 1996. 1996.