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Retrospective Look at the Need for a Multipurpose Cadastre.

Cowen, David J., and William J. Craig.

The 1980 National Research Council (NCR) study 'Need for a Multipurpose Cadastre' represented a landmark in the history of the automation of land records systems in the United States. At the national policy level it boldly asserted that the parcel of property ownership should be the fundamental building block for an integrated system of land information to support a wide range of decision-making. Furthermore, in no uncertain terms, it stated that the creation and maintenance of the cadastre can only be done at the local government level; however, it is the responsibility of the federal government to foster the integration of these local datasets through a set of consistent standards, funding programs and coordination with each state. The purpose of this article is to review the recommendations of the report, attempt to assess the status of those recommendations, summarize subsequent related NRC activities, highlight what has not changed, and assess the current federal geospatial landscape. The authors also examine the issues that will impact the evolution of the multipurpose cadastre from this point forward.

Surveying and Land Information Science
Publication date: 
Gaithersburg, MD: American Congress on Surveying and Mapping.
63 (4): 205-214.
Online availability
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