Earlier this year, Open Knowledge International announced a joint-initiative with the Cadasta Foundation to explore property rights data with the ultimate goal of defining the land ownership dataset for the Global Open Data Index. Lindsay Ferris from the Cadasta team shares more on how you can get involved on issues related to open data in land governance. Register as a user on the Land Portal and take part in September 2016’s LandDebate.

Are you interested in ensuring land governance is open and transparent? Do you want to understand your role in using land administration information and how it can help provide greater security of  property rights? We are excited to hear from you!

Cadasta Foundation is pleased to announce that we are partnering with the Land Portal Foundation to organize an online discussion on Open Data and Land. From September 6th – 20th, 2016, we will facilitate a LandDebate on the Land Portal, posing questions to spark conversation. The Land Portal is an online resource hub and networking platform for the land community. We will hear from leading members of the open data and land governance communities on the topic of open data in land governance — all stakeholders, including CSOs, government officials, private sector actors and researchers are invited to be involved! To find out more about LandDebates, take a look at some past topics here.

open data land debateImage credit: Cadasta

The land administration sector plays a critical role in governing what is often the most valuable asset of states – the land and natural resources. Unfortunately, given the high value of land, and the power that goes along with access to it, the land sector is ripe for potential abuse. As such, it is a sector where greater transparency plays a critical role in ensuring accountability and equitable access and enforcement of land rights. Opacity in land governance can enable major corruption in land management, increase difficulty in unlocking the value of the land as an asset, and foster a lack of awareness of land policies and legal frameworks by citizens; all of which can undermine land tenure security.

Unfortunately, land administration data ranging from property registries and cadastres to datasets collected through participatory mapping and research is often inaccessible. The information needed to close these gaps to understand who has a right to what property and under what terms remains closed, often at the expense of the most vulnerable populations. Further, due to privacy and security concerns associated with sharing information on vulnerable populations, opinions remain mixed on what should be released as “open data” for anyone to access, reuse and share. The hope is that opening up the data in a way that takes these concerns into account can level the playing field and reduce information asymmetry so that everyone — individuals, communities, NGOs, governments and the private sector — can benefit from land information.

As part of Cadasta Foundation’s on-going research on open data in land, the aim of this discussion is to bring together these stakeholders to address the implications of open data for land governance, including understanding the links between transparency and global challenges, such as overcoming poverty, strengthening property rights for vulnerable populations, enhancing food security and combating corruption. We also hope to broaden consensus on this issue, define what data is important for the community to be open and begin to collect examples of best practices that can be used as an advocacy point going forward. All of Cadasta’s open data research resources can be found here.

To be a part of the LandDebate, simply register as a user on the Land Portal. Then, you’ll be able to dive right in when the conversation begins on September 5th through the Open Data and Land page. If you’d like to reach out with questions on the content, how to get involved or to contribute comments in advance of the LandDebate, contact us atopen@cadasta.org! Finally, to get some background on open data in land, check out Cadasta’s existing resources on the topic here. We’re excited to hear from you.

This piece was written by Lindsay Ferris and is cross-posted on the Cadasta blog.

+ posts

The official voice of the Open Knowledge Foundation.