Cadastral Definition

Cadastral data, also known as a cadastre, contains official, legal documentation concerning the quantity, dimensions, location, value, tenure, and ownership of individual parcels of land. GIS technology is an essential tool for producing current and easily accessible maps, leveraging database information, and automating enterprise work processes in cadastre management.

Cadastral data visualization of Galena Forest Estates in Washoe County, NV.
Image from Washoe County, NV


What is Cadastral?

Cadastral surveying and cadastral documentation are used to track and show the boundary lines of both privately owned real estate and public land. Cadastral GIS data contains information regarding the legal interpretation of property lines. This information is used in the creation of cadastral maps, which may include linework, parcel numbers, land ownership, tax and value assessments, acreage, dimensions, and topographic mapping.

What Are Cadastral Maps Used For?

Data concerning cadastral parcels, defined as a continuous volume of land identified by a unique set of homogeneous property rights, are maintained in an easily accessible repository that clients and staff can quickly browse, query, and update. 

Cadastral systems are commonly used for applications such as apportioning taxes; establishing land ownership; supporting land market values; calculating agriculture subsidy payments; mortgage applications; forest and vegetation management; municipality property management; utilities; outlining zones based on value and purpose of use; keeping a graphic record of information regarding water resources, geology, population, industry, and agriculture; and in creating countries’ National Spatial Data Infrastructures.

In the United States, all records of public land are surveyed and maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which was created in 1946, combining the General Land Office and the Grazing Service. BLM’s Cadastral Survey Program is the official record keeper for over two hundreds years worth of cadastral survey data.

3D cadastre information modeling and 3D spatial database management systems are used to manage GIS cadastre data, provide a 3D topology spatial profile, and register the complex infrastructures associated with growing urbanization.

How Cadastral Survey is Done

Cadastral surveying and mapping is carried out by a cadastral surveyor, who must adhere to both legal and spatial-measurement principles in physically determining the boundaries of real property. Cadastre surveyors cross reference deeds, maps of the adjoining properties, county and utility maps, survey records, and other legal documents establishing property boundaries.

Data from these records is analyzed for errors, followed by the commencement of the field survey, during which surveyors use cadastre survey instruments, such as laser scanners and ranging rods, and the boundaries of the property are outlined, metes and bounds are marked, and a traverse is run around the property. Cadastre documentation, completed by the concerned parties, licensed surveyors, and legal advisors, contains cadastre survey data and is submitted to cadastre or land administration offices for their records.

GIS technology and cadastral survey software solutions help land information agencies manage cadastre data by providing an adaptable, open system that facilitates the creation of specialized cadastre maps and plans, delivery and integration of spatial data services, leveraging of database information, adherence to legal and information technology standards, sharing and reporting between clients and agencies, and dynamic visualizations that can be used for geographic queries.

Why Cadastral Mapping is Important

Cadastral mapping is the only means of providing accurate, legitimate, comprehensive, precise, and readily available records of information regarding legal land rights. Establishing titles; urban planning, development, and financing; informing land policies; granting use of national property; land readjustment, which subdivides irregular shaped parcels for the sake of standarding utility services; transfer of development rights; improving property tax collection; and mapping and valuation of informal land are just some of the important activities that cadastral mapping helps to inform.

Does HEAVY.AI Offer a Cadastral Solution?

Cadastre data is one of the core elements used by Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Urban planning, vegetation management for utilities, and mapping for oil exploration and drilling involve enormous volumes of cadastre data. HEAVY.AI’s accelerated analytics platform makes geospatial capabilities a top priority, helping geospatial analysts instantly and interactively explore and visualize up to millions of polygons and billions of mapped points.