Monday, May 12, 2008

Open source IT surveyed

INFORMATION technology can protect the integrity of democratic processes delegates at a United Nations-sponsored seminar on land management heard yesterday.

More than 25 delegates met at St Margarets College, Dunedin, to discuss the development and implementation of land management systems based on free ‘‘open source’’ computer software.

University of Otago School of Surveying lecturer Dr Donald McKinnon said the software could be adapted to record land ownership, and help with transfer of land titles and retrospective land claims at virtually no cost to people in developing nations.

‘‘In Cambodia, for instance, the Khmer Rouge destroyed all land records in the ’80s. Since 1995, every province has been reviewed. In the future, these systems might assist with land tenure cases like this, or after natural disasters,’’ he said.

The Open Source Cadastre and Land Registration seminar was funded by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and was hosted by the University of Otago School of Surveying.

FAO land tenure officer Mika Torhonen said the organisation regarded effective and efficient land management and registration as a way of improving the standard of living in developing nations.

‘‘Information technology is great for democracy and holds great promise for developing nations. It is very reliable and can be modified for specific groups. Its use could improve governance, make land tenure processes more equal and less susceptible to corruption. It also makes it easier to share information between countries,’’ he said.

New Zealand had a large role to play in developing land management systems which could be implemented elsewhere because of the country’s relatively successful resolution of land tenure issues with its indigenous people, he said.

Although the system was used in some developed nations such as the Bavarian states, in southern Germany, where state policy dictates local government use open sourced software it would gain momentum if developing nations ‘‘found a champion’’ country to implement the scheme, he said.

Delegates from Nepal, Vietnam, Fiji, the Kyrgyz Republic, Albania, Switzerland, Cambodia, Samoa and New Zealand attended the two-day conference, which concluded yesterday.

Source :

No comments: