Striking the Balance: NMCAs Grapple with Open Data and Security Challenges in Cadastral Affairs

by | Sep 11, 2023

The conflict between the desire for open data and the need for data security is causing complex challenges for European National Mapping, Cadastral, and Land Registration Authorities (NMCAs). A recent survey by EuroGeographics and the Permanent Committee on Cadastre in the European Union (PCC) found that 20 out of 26 organizations are facing conflicts between data openness and security. This conflict arises due to the increasing demands for confidentiality, accuracy, and availability.

To tackle this challenge directly, EuroGeographics members have developed the Open Cadastral Map prototype. This innovative tool allows users to access available data from national sources in one place before obtaining it from the official provider, providing extensive coverage while maintaining data security. Currently covering Poland, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Spain, Denmark, and Slovenia, the prototype is proving to be a transformative force in the field.

The Open Cadastral Map prototype is built upon the cadastral map, which consists of four layers: Administrative Units, Cadastral Parcels, Buildings, and Addresses. This comprehensive dataset plays a crucial role in securing land ownership, supporting market economies, ensuring infrastructure resilience, and preserving democracy.

Securing land ownership is essential for a stable market economy and resilient infrastructure. Cadastral authorities possess vital information that guarantees the proper functioning of property rights and transactions. By providing accurate and up-to-date cadastral data, these authorities contribute to the stability and efficiency of urban and rural development.

However, ensuring data security while promoting openness is a pressing concern for NMCAs. The large amount of data they handle can be vulnerable to misuse or unauthorized access, especially given the increasing interconnectedness of digital systems and the growing sophistication of cyber threats.

To address these challenges, NMCAs use national geoportals, Web Mapping Services (WMS), and National Geodata Infrastructures. These platforms facilitate secure data sharing and dissemination while following privacy and security protocols. Collaboration and connectivity between different national mapping authorities are crucial for meeting society’s needs and collectively addressing data security challenges.

EuroGeographics is co-funding Open Maps For Europe 2 (OME2) as part of its efforts to enhance the Open Cadastral Map prototype. Supported by the European Union, this initiative aims to further improve the accessibility, accuracy, and security of open data across Europe. By collaborating with EuroGeographics members, NMCAs are making significant progress towards achieving a harmonized and reliable open data framework.

The demand for open data is driven by various sectors, including academia, government, businesses, and individuals. Open data promotes transparency, innovation, and evidence-based decision-making. However, striking a balance between openness and security is crucial to ensure the protection of sensitive information.

Cadastral open data presents unique challenges in terms of data protection. The increasing demands for confidentiality, accuracy, and availability require strong security measures. NMCAs must continually adapt and enhance their data management and protection strategies to meet these evolving demands.

Sweden’s EU Presidency, with its priorities of security, resilience, prosperity, and democracy, recognizes the importance of information from cadastral authorities. Cadastral map data serves as a fundamental building block for achieving these objectives. Therefore, finding innovative solutions that allow the harmonious coexistence of open data and data security is extremely important.

In conclusion, the demand for open data presents opportunities and challenges for European National Mapping, Cadastral, and Land Registration Authorities. Balancing openness with the need for data security is a complex task that requires collaboration, innovation, and continuous adaptation. By addressing these challenges, NMCAs can pave the way for a future where open data is accessible, accurate, and secure.