Designing a coherent land registration system for rural Portugal
After almost a century of several attempts to establish a coherent land registration system across the whole country, in 2017 the Portuguese government decided to try a new, digital native approach to the problem. Thus, a web-based platform was created, where property owners from 10 pilot municipalities could manually identify their lands’ properties using a map based on satellite images. After the first month of submissions, it became clear that at the current daily rate, it would take years to achieve the goal of 100% rural property identification across just the 10 municipalities. Field research during the first month after launch enabled us to understand landowners’ relationships with their land, map their struggles with the platform, and prototype ways to improve the whole service. Understanding that these improvements would still not be enough to get to the necessary daily rate, we designed, tested and validated an algorithm that allows us to identify a rural property shape and location without coordinates. Today, we are able to help both Government and landowners identify a rural property location with the click of a button.
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