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What is Landonline?
Landonline is a project to turn the survey and title information held by Land Information New Zealand into a digital format so it can be viewed remotely by lawyers and surveyors.

How long has it taken?
Initial approval for the project was given in February 1996. The introduction of stage one started in Dunedin in March 2000, and finished in Auckland last month. A pilot version of stage two, which allows registered users to lodge plans, tiles, mortgages, caveats and other land instruments electronically, will start in Christchurch this year.

EDS New Zealand, which is turning the paper records into digital format, expects to complete titles this year and survey plans late next year.

How much will it cost?
The original 1996 approval was for an $82.7 million project. Once the quotes for data conversion costs, facilities management, and for building the application to link the various technologies selected for the project were received, the Cabinet agreed to spend up to $154.4 million.

The target is now $145 million, and the project is expected to come in under this. Linz expects to make the money back by its closing of regional land offices and charging fees to lawyers and surveyors.

Which software was used?
Informix Universal Server database was chosen for Landonline because of its superiority in handling images.

Map Objects and Arc/Info from GIS (Geographic Information Systems) supplier ESRI is used to manage the spatial data. FileNet’s Panagon Desktop product was chosen for image capture and viewing.

The Landonline application, which allows Linz staff to view and manipulate data and images, was written by consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers in PowerBuilder with ActiveX controls.

Which hardware was used?
The Informix database and ESRI spatial database engine are on a Sun transaction server at EDS’ Mt Wellington production centre. Another Sun server connected to an optical jukebox and running FileNet IDM software serves the images. A packet switching network, using a frame relay and ATM (asynchronous transfer mode), connects up the Linz offices. Outside users connect using a Citrix ICA client.

Why has it been controversial?
While endorsing the overall concept, lawyers and surveyors say Linz has taken a “We know best” approach, and has been slow to involve users in the design of the application, leading to issues over usability. Some of its technology choices, such as the use of FileNet, have also imposed significant costs on remote users.

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