2004 UC Proceedings Abstract
Cadastres (Land Registries) and Global Security
Track: Defense and Intelligence
Author(s): Geoff Demarest
Ownership outside the bounds of formal property maps is possession by force; logically any country that does not formalize property ownership is doomed to internal violence or tyranny. That assertion, made in support of a GIS mapping project for Colombia, applies everywhere. Its corollary: Developmental projects waste time and money when attempted where property rights and transparent records don't exist. The consequence is obvious, and, among other things, advises industrial-level GIS cadastral projects for countries of special interest in the war on terrorism. The strategic and intelligence uses of property data are spectacular--land records, when placed in a geodatabase, uncover money laundering, extortion, and corruption. They support effective asset forfeiture and geographic crime prediction. Finally, when land ownership is public knowledge, when anonymity of wealth and impunity are gone, landowners are less likely to support terrorism.
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