Spatial data, good governance and society

Spatial data, good governance and society


Johan C de Meijere
Johan C de Meijere
Assistant Professor in GIS and Land Administration
ITC, The Netherlands
[email protected]

Mabel Alvarez de Lopez
Directorate of Cadastre and Territorial Information,
Province of Chubut, Argentina
[email protected]

This paper explores the role of cadastral data to support good governance. It illustrates some experiences gained in cadastral development projects in Argentina in the past decade

Traditional models of topographic maps and data on private land, as delivered in traditional cadastres are insufficient. Especially the public space and the societal processes in this space have to be modelled for the entire territory to support good governance.

Changing Environment Of Land Administration
The period 1980-2000 was a period of historical developments, which have changed societies dramatically at global level. Three important phenomena can be distinguished:

  • Neo-liberal economic reform policies were introduced and started to “clean” the public sector. Privatisation became a magic word and market orientation was introduced in many public and semi-public agencies. Deregulation and withdrawal of the government in many areas was promoted.
  • The end of the cold war was considered the proof that only a market economy is able to satisfy the needs of the people. The “end of ideology” was proclaimed and a new economic order with the entire globe as market was perceived.
  • A digital revolution took place, starting with the massive introduction of the PC and the fast up-scaling of its capabilities and decrease of its costs. New standards in operating systems came up. Since 1995 the use of Internet has grown fast. The information society took shape. Some started to speak about “Cyberism”, the creed of Information (Anderson, 1996). Technical and organisational networks arose.

Public Administration and Good Governance
While in the past the distance between government and the public used to be large in many countries (centralisation of power), the last decade has been characterised by new paradigms for public administration.

Decentralisation, market-client orientation, privatisation and participation have become important concepts in public administration. Economic reform and public sector reform have been combined. The World Bank introduced the concept of Good Governance. Governance is then the total of public and private sector interactions whereby the role of the public sector is changing from ‘command and control’ to ‘facilitating’ processes in society.

United Nations characterises good governance as:

  • Sound and sustainable economic development
  • Efficient government
  • Effective civil society
  • Successful private sector
  • Democracy and participation
  • Balance, equity, mobilization of resources
  • Rule of law