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Greece: Mapping for growth

Greece is combining legal and surveying expertise to establish a reliable cadastral representation of the land parcels and encourage investments

Since the mid 19th century, Greece has used the Registrations and Mortgages system, an archive of all the registered transactions of a particular person regarding real properties, for real property transactions. Some of the deeds regarding real property transactions referred to topographic plans which, however, were not registered with the Mortgage Office. Thus, there was no consistent spatial representation of all the registered land parcels of the country.

In the mid 1990s, Greece initiated a project of developing cadastre as a unified system that combines all legal information about ownership and other registrable rights on real property with their geographic representation as land parcels on a cadastral map.

The procedure that is used to develop the cadastre in Greece, involves the beneficiaries a) to declare their real property rights based on the deeds through which they have acquired their rights and b) to point out their perception of the extents of their real property.

Thus, the contractor of the cadastral survey has to combine the following information:

  • The description of the real property on the deed,
  • The spatial representation of the real property on the topographic plan if one exists,
  • The perception of the beneficiary of the extents of his real property,
  • The spatial representation of existing boundaries between land parcels in the form of fences, walls, roads etc.

It is evident from the above, that a simple topographic representation of existing boundaries does not provide a sound spatial representation of the legal land parcel boundaries.

In areas where administrative acts exist (land consolidations, land redistributions etc), then the corresponding map of the act is followed as close as possible. On the contrary, in areas where there are no deeds and the land is owned and transferred without any legal evidence by word of mouth, then other information that may be available can be employed, such as information in the land parcel identification system (LPIS). In order for the State to protect its real property rights, official forest maps and coastal zone delineation are produced and the corresponding information is also incorporated on the cadastral maps.

This is a quite demanding procedure that must combine legal and surveying expertise to provide a reliable cadastral representation of the land parcels. The cadastral map that is then produced can become the basis to encourage investments, development and sound taxation. Also, through this procedure, the State land is registered for the first time systematically, which, upon the completion of the cadastre, is estimated to amount to about 50% of the total area of the country, say Dr. Dimitris Rokos, Director of Planning and Investments, Ktimatologio S.A. (Hellenic Cadastre ) and Prof. Apostolis Arvanitis, President and Managing Director, Ktimatologio S.A. (Hellenic Cadastre).