The Impact of Blockchain Technology on the Surveying Industry, Cadastre and Land Registry Systems

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THE IMPACT OF BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY ON THE SURVEYING INDUSTRY, CADASTRE & LAND REGISTRY SYSTEMS … blockchain technology and land surveying – may seem unlikely partners at first. However, this new and exciting technology creates a cooperative and synergistic environment in which all information, data, and images from a surveying project can be gathered in a reliable, confident and immutable way.


I. Introduction to Blockchain Technology

II. Overview of the Surveying Industry

III. Surveying and Blockchain

IV. Types of Blockchains  

V. The Case for Blockchain in the Real Estate Industry

VI. Blockchain, Surveying, Land Registry and Cadastre 

VII. Blockchain Registry Integration Levels

VIII. The Future of Blockchain for Real Estate

IX. Conclusion


Glossary — Blockchain Terminology

This paper focuses on the effect of blockchain technologies on the land surveying industry and the related players who determine legal property lines and the exact locations of land, built property and construction projects. But how does blockchain work? And what disruption will it have on the real estate industry? And the surveying profession and its affiliated organizations? And finally, how would it impact land registry and cadastral systems?  – JDM


In 2008a research paper was released titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” [1] It described the creation and potential use of a new and revolutionary type of money called Bitcoin, the first of many types of cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency is a so-called internet-based money – not created by any corporate entity or government – which facilitates online transfers from one person to another (peer-to-peer) without the use of a third party, such as a bank (the so-called intermediaries). 

The Blockchain

The technology by which Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies can be transferred  to someone or used to make payments for a purchase is called blockchain (“the chain”),a sophisticated and powerful class of software. This revolutionary technology created the world’s first genuine decentralized, peer-to-peer monetary system.  

A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed and a public digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that the record cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the consensus of the network.

Besides allowing cryptocurrencies to be transferred, blockchain allows for a variety of types of digital information or data (“digital assets) to be shared or distributed.

Essential characteristics associated with blockchain:  

  •  Immutability: creation of data records that are permanent  (cannot be changed or deleted);
  • Time-stamping: every entry created in the blockchain is securely tracked with a time-stamp (permanency makes backlogging impossible);
  • Accessibility: all participants may have access to view the data on the chain or to add data (depending on granted permissions).
  • Smart Contracts: program coding. As an electronic agreement, it defines the conditions to which all parties have agreed. When agreed upon conditions are met certain actions are executed (e.g. payments made from an escrow account or payments made to vendors for work completed).

Simply put, the structure of a blockchain is composed of three core parts:

1. Information is posted to the chain (each transaction is called a “block”) and each block is time-stamped,

2. A mathematical/algorithm hash, links subsequent blocks of information placed on the blockchain,

3. Blockchain management is conducted by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for inter-node communication and validating new blocks of information.

A blockchain maintains a continuously growing list of transactions or uploaded digital data, time-stamped with the hash of the previous block connecting to the next block to preserve the chain integrity.


Blockchain as a Distributed Ledger

Blockchain is often referred to as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) where data is stored across a network of decentralized nodes or computers. It creates permanent records and histories of transactions potentially representing everything from cyrptocurrencies to other assets such as stocks or bonds, maps, a property deed, health care records and so on. 

By allowing digital information to be distributed, blockchain created the backbone of a new type of internet. Far-ranging and creative uses are now being explored for adoption in a wide variety of industries and business sectors such as healthcare, insurance, music and entertainment, supply chain, energy management, law enforcement, real estate and many others.  

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