In partnership with Open Knowledge International, we are exploring the potential open data can have in securing land tenure and bringing transparency to land and resource governance. Our research aims to better understand how open data can support these aims, while acknowledging the contextual nuance and sensitivity of land administration systems. We are creating resources and building consensus on the definition of open property rights data for the Global Open Data Index and for the wider property rights sector.
Land governance is such a broad topic that the question, “What data is important to land and resource rights?” will garner different answers depending on who you ask.
Within the land sector, there has broadly been emphasis on the value and advancement that open geospatial data can have in increasing the accuracy of parcel mapping, and helping communities without formal land recognition begin to document their claims at the local level.
As is evident from our research thus far, there is clearly sensitive, personal information held within the land registry that should be protected. Certainly, some actors should have ready access to the information within land records. The pay-for-access system raises questions of whether granting access to only the privileged few gives some powerful, potentially nefarious actors access to sensitive information, while blocking out access to those with less money or influence.