Cadastral Mapping Using Remote Sensing And Geographic Information System

Project and Seminar Material for Estate Management

Cadastral Mapping Using Remote Sensing And Geographic Information System


Banjiram is one of the communities resettled in the year 1980 to make room for the construction of Kiri dam to supply the Savannah Sugar Company with water for Irrigation. As part of the resettlement program, the Federal Government then, cleared and surveyed an alternative location (now New Banjiram). A cadastral survey was carried out and plots were physically delineated on the ground with beacons at the corners of each plot. Land right were orally transmitted and the evidence of such land rights has been based on the knowledge of community elders and village chiefs. With increasing population and consequent competition for land, there has been prevailing tenure insecurity with its associated conflicts and litigations over land ownership.

One of the most important documents: paper-based cadastral layout of the area containing delineated parcels has been lying the cabinet of the Adamawa state Ministry of Lands and Survey in a decaying state. This research is aimed at carrying out a cadastral mapping of Banjirm using Remote Sensing and GIS with a view to developing digital cadastral Information System which has the ability to integrate the map and the record of ownership and use. To achieve this, the cadastral layout of the study area was scanned and georeferenced in ArcGIS 10.1. Parcels were then digitally delineated (digitized) and given unique identification numbers. To obtain the textual component of the cadastre (land ownership and use information), a fieldwork was carried out to determine the existing land rights through a participatory process of adjudication. The adjudication involved visits to each parcel by a team comprising the researcher, a representative of the traditional heads and member of the Land owners union. To ease the process, a remotely-sensed imagery (Google Earth image) upon which the digitized parcels with unique numbers was overlaid was presented to land owners and witnesses (adjoining land owners) to visually identify their parcels and present their claims.

A questionnaire (adjudication form) was used to record information on land owners and their parcels. A digital camera was also used to capture the passport photograph of each land owner. After the fieldwork, a cadastral database (containing the digital record of land owners and their parcels) was then designed and built using the information gathered. Analysis and testing of the efficiency of the database was then performed and a variety of results were generated. Major findings of this research include:

  1. There were 1278 parcel with 1166 owner;
  2. About 1086 (84.977%) parcels were allocated while192 (15.023%) parcels were not allocated;
  3. There were 865 (67.762%) parcels that were developed while 413 (32.238%) parcels were not developed;
  4. Out of the 1278 parcels: 758 (31.91%) were found to be used for residential purpose; 32 (20.016%) for institutional purpose; 11 (2.431) for commercial purpose; 158 (14.2%) for agricultural purpose and 301 (31.408%) for mixed uses.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Land is a great resource and indeed, the backbone of wealth in many communities, whether urban or rural. People have depended on land for food, shelter, employment, resource, cultural and religious needs. Land is the foundation of all human activity. The relationship of people to land is fundamental to human existence (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), 2005). Issues of land have been identified to be a cause of civil and international wars and even genocide (Bell, 2011). Conflicts over ownership, land grabs, social disharmony, reductions in yields, diminished food security, weak land markets and negative impacts on the environment are associated with regions with poor system of land information management (McLaren, 2011).

Current and reliable land information in terms of ownership, land use and value is necessary for: ensuring the security of property rights; reduction in litigation and less work for the courts; better land assessment and taxation; better information base for planning and administration; improving map production (such as base map, utility asset maps, zone maps and so on); easier transactions in land; establishing a transparent and operational land market; less corruption in land affairs and update the land information (Kabir, 2009). The cadastre is the core component of land information management (Andersson, 1986).

The International Federation of Surveyors (FIG, 1995) defines a cadastre as a parcel based and up-to-date land information system containing a record of interests in land (e.g. rights, restrictions and responsibilities). Williamson & Ting (1999) identified three forms of cadastre: the fiscal cadastre (used for generating revenue through taxation); legal or judicial cadastre (used for protecting property ownership rights) and; multi-purpose cadastre (combining both functions of the fiscal and legal cadastres as well as being used for utility management, planning, environmental management, etc.). The core component of cadastres, Cadastral information system or Land Information System is the cadastral map obtained through cadastral mapping.

Synonymous with cadastre and cadastral mapping is land registration. According to McLaughlin & Nichols (1989) land registration is process of recording legally recognized interests in land. The overall aim of land registration is building a cadastre (Jing, 2011). Crucial to land registration is adjudication.

The term adjudication was first used in 1950’s to describe systematic ascertainment of rights in land (Lawrence, 1985). Adjudication is the first stage of land registration aimed at formalizing land through the procedure of land rights identification, demarcation cadastral surveying and mapping (Dale and McLaughlin, 1999). Adjudication occurs in two cases where no earlier register information is available or where the old information becomes obsolete with very bad quality (Jing, 2011). Cadastral mapping could be described as the process and methods of building of information on land. Traditionally, cadastres and cadastral mapping systems have been manual and paper-based (Borzacchiello & Craglia, 2012). They contained a numerical/diagrammatic description (a graphical description of land parcels) and a separate list of land register (containing a list of names and rights of land holder) (Zevenbergen, 2002). Indexing schemes were used to link the map and the register.

Recent developments in the Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) and web-based GIS, internet communications, band width and transmission speeds have necessitated and made possible the development of digital cadastres and cadastral mapping systems allowing the map and the register to be integrated into one single system (a digital cadastral map (database)) (Sutherland & Nichols, 2002). With the development of Geo-information technologies (GIT) adjudication of land rights benefits greatly from the use of Remote Sensing/Photogrammetry (Jing, 2011). Remotely-sensed georeferenced orthophotos have been used for adjudication in various regions of the world (Meijs, Kapintango & Witmer (2009). Remote Sensing and Geographic information systems (GIS) have therefore become important geometric tools for building of digital cadastral systems (Albert, Edmund, Merem & Yaw, 2006). Elayachi & Semlali (2001) noted that a digital cadastral map is not a map in the traditional sense, but a map in which attributes (tabular) and map (graphic) data on cadastral unit are stored in the same database. They added that a digital cadastral map registers each parcel and its owners and describes all the spatial structures consisting of location, boundaries and contents.

While Western nations are advancing in the creation of multi-purpose cadastres that are aimed at supporting sustainable development, developing countries are only recently starting to establish more formal cadastral records for fiscal or other purpose.

In Nigerian, cadastral mapping land/registration and administration suffer from among others lack of use of appropriate technology in surveying and the mapping industry. Cadastral maps are worn out and outdated and modernization efforts are only made for urban lands and are still on pilot basis (Oboli & Akpoyoware, 2010). Only a few states including Lagos, Kano and the Federal Capital Territory have computerized land information (Bell, (2011). A greater part of land in Northern Nigeria is held under a customary system without being covered by cadastral mapping and land title registration (Usman, 2010).

1.2 Statement of the Research Problem

De Soto (2002) observe that two thirds of the worlds’ land is characterized by bad titling, where titling is neither related to maps and registries, nor backed by the law or plugged into the financial system. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (2009), decision makers in Africa are not obtaining adequate information from their present cadastral and Land Information Management Systems to make informed decisions as about 90% of land in Africa is not mapped with only less than 1 per cent of sub- Saharan Africa being covered by any kind of cadastral survey and mapping.

According to (Uluocha, 2012) “like most African countries, Nigeria still lacks basic maps needed for judicious resource planning, development, and management. Instability coupled with lack of a well-established mapping policy, shortage of funding, and successive governments’ failure to integrate mapping into national development has affected mapping in the country”. Consequently, only about 3% of land is mapped, titled and registered (Ukaejiofo, 2009). This is supported by Adeniyi (2013) who stated that not more than 2.5% of the land in Nigeria has been registered since formal land registration and cadastrals mapping began in Nigeria in 1863. Cadastral mapping and land registration only covers a few urban area. Even in the few urban areas, records are mostly kept in a manual and analogue form. The existing analogue (paper) maps are unable to show more details and do not allow integration with other datasets which could be achieved by a GIS-Based Cadastral Map.

Over three decades after the re-settlement of Banjiram, apart from the cadastral survey carried out as part of the resettlement program, there has never been any effort to link the map with record of ownership and land use. Land right were orally transmitted and the evidence of land such rights is based on the knowledge of community elders and village chiefs. Decision makers and the public do not have sufficient land information to ensure security of land tenure and bring about sustainable development. Consequently, there have been prevailing ligations and disputes over land ownership as well as poor land development in the study area.

Based on the review of previous studies, the application of Remote Sensing and GIS in cadastral mapping in areas where land ownership records do not exists at all, particularly in Nigeria seems not to be well-researched. The uniqueness of this particular research is in the fact that most researches in cadastral mapping using Remote Sensing and GIS such as, those of Orisakwe & Bakari (2012); Addai, Owusu, Poku – Gyamfi & Gyambibi (2011); and Lemmenet al. (2009) were involved in cadastral mapping in an areas where land records existed in an analogue format and just needed to be put on a cadastral database. Moreover, this type of study has never, ever been carried out in the study area. This is the gap in research and knowledge this research intends to bridge. It is against this background that this study intends to use Remote Sensing and GIS in carrying out cadastral mapping in the study area with a view to producing a land information system (a digital cadastral database) towards improving land tenure security in the study area and serving as a template for other areas.

1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of the research is to carry out cadastral mapping using Remote Sensing and GIS in Banjiram, Adamawa State. Specific objectives are to:

  1. Determine the existing land right in the study area through an imagery-based adjudication.
  2. Design and build a GIS-based cadastral database of all parcels in the study area,
  3. Analyze the database and determine its efficiency.

1.4 Scope of the Study

The spatial scope of the study covers the New Banjiram (the resettlement area) that has been surveyed during the resettlement program. In content, the study is concerned with the application of Remote Sensing and GIS in cadastral mapping. The research was carried out within a period of three months.

1.5 Limitations

As with the general nature of any research especially in Nigeria, there are a number of limitations associated with this study. One of the major limitations of this study is the inaccessibly in terms of cost to very high resolution images. Another limitation was the incomplete information given by parcel owner. For instance, information on owner phone numbers and next of kin were not fully provided.

1.6 Justification of the Study

An efficient land tenure management requires an efficient system of cadastral mapping and land registration (United Nations, 1996). Manual land record keeping in Nigeria has been identified to be the major factor making land administration and management inefficient, daunting, time-consuming and prone to abuses. The present state of haphazard physical development, land tenure insecurity, conflicts and litigation over land in the study area is not unconnected to lack documented record of land ownership and use. Decision makers do not have adequate land information to make informed decisions in carrying out developmental projects and citing utilities. Courts and tradition authority do not have the necessary information to resolve conflicts arising from land ownership.
This study will help to provide a digital cadastral database which will record land ownership, land use and other related information which will help bring about security of tenure and in turn ensure social stability, economic development and environmental management. It will therefore provide the relevant ministries responsible for processing of land title documents with the necessary information that could lead to the formalization and issuance of land title documents (Certificate of Occupancy) to land owners in the study area which will ensure the security and certainty of land rights. Moreover it will among others; reduce disputes on land ownership; form the basis for an efficient property tax system; support the effort of Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform aimed at registering all rural lands in Nigeria and; support the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal 1: Eradicating Poverty and Hunger, through secured land in rural areas.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

In this chapter a review of the purpose and objective established at the outset of the study are discussed. This chapter also states limitations of this study. Appropriate conclusions drawn from the findings of this research are also presented. Recommendations made are presented as well.

5.2 Summary of the Study

The purpose of this study was to apply Remote Sensing and GIS in carrying out cadastral mapping in Banjiram, Adamawa state, Nigeria.

This study depended on Remote Sensing for carrying out adjudication which provided information on land ownership and ownership information. A remotely-sensed high resolution Google Earth imagery of Banjiram that was acquired in November, 2013 was used to build an index map by overlaying the delineated parcels from the layout plan to enable easy identification of land parcel on the map by the land owners themselves during adjudication (fieldwork).

Geographic Information System (GIS) majorly used to build a digital cadastral map (database) using the data obtained from the field and those generation from the layout plan. The cadastral database allows the entry, updating, display and generation of results and report.

5.3 Summary of Findings

Remote Sensing and GIS are powerful tool in mapping and analysing land information. It has been found that there are 1278 parcel with 1166 owner. It was found that 192 (15.023%) out of the 1278 parcels were not allocated. It was also that 413 (32.238%) out of the 1278 parcels are not developed. Out of the 1278 parcels: 758 (31.91%) were found to be used for residential purpose; 32 (20.016%) for institutional purpose; 11 (2.431) for commercial purpose; 158 (14.2%) for agricultural purpose and 301 (31.408%) for mixed uses. Table 5 shows the land use statistic of parcels in the study area.

5.4 Conclusion

GIS and Remote Sensing have been proven to be efficient in cadastral mapping. They allow easy means of collecting, analysing, updating, storing and communicating vast amount of land information which is necessary for informed decision making. This research has come to a conclusion that Remote Sensing and GIS are important tools for carrying out cadastral mapping most especially in areas where land records do not exist. The digital cadastral map (database) can provide various kinds of information in different forms (reports, graphs, maps, etc.). High resolution imagery-based adjudication has proven to be interesting to land owners as they can see and identify boundaries of their parcels. Moreover, community participation in carrying systematic adjudication is crucial to the success achieved in carrying out this research.

5.5 Recommendations

The method applied in this study in carrying out cadastral mapping could serve as a template for other areas. The process of land adjudication used in this research could help in land registration especially, in area where no land record ever existed.

There is a need for authorities responsible for land management to use the result and data provided by this research as a basis for providing official Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) to land owners in the study area.

There is great need for land management authorities to keep updating the cadastral database provided by this research to keep it up-to-date.

There present highly centralized system of land management in Nigeria where the process of obtaining an official certificate of occupation is confusing and inaccessible in terms of money and distance to poor customary land should be looked into. Land office should be set up at a community level where poor land owner can go and register or access information on any land parcel.

5.6 Recommendations for Future Research

The findings and recommendations from this study suggest some future research topics related to this particular area. This research is mainly concerned with mapping land ownership and use. It is recommended that broader base research such as those that would involve multipurpose cadastral mapping which would incorporate not only land ownership and use, but also; tax information, natural resources, utilities, etc. be carried out.

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