For decades, cadastral systems implemented within different countries have not provided a meaningful communication between parties involved. This problem has resulted in barriers to cadastral information exchange between different parties within and between different countries. In order to address this challenge, the land administration domain model (LADM) was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee 211. One of the main goals of the LADM is to enable parties involved to communicate via a shared vocabulary within the domain of land administration. In so doing, the LADM intends to improve the interoperability between cadastral and land registration systems, thus improving information exchange between local, national and international organisations. The model is not meant to be complete for any specific country. However, it serves as a shared conceptual schema upon which the existing or new systems can be refined and developed respectively, to become more efficient and effective. Various studies have been conducted based on different versions of the LADM in different countries such as Japan, Indonesia, Netherlands, Trinidad, and other European countries.
In South Africa, the research focusing on the applicability of LADM to its‘ unique context is solely lacking. This is a worrying factor given the potential benefits associated with the LADM implementation. Therefore, the main purpose of this research is to explore the applicability of LADM to South Africa through the analysis of the current national deeds registration and cadastral systems as well as the land information system (LIS) implemented at the City of Johannesburg metropolitan municipality. In both cases, the research scope was limited to the LADM classes required for the first level of conformance. A literature review of the South African land administration system with a specific reference to the existing property legislation that regulates both land registration and cadastral surveying was conducted. The contents of the deeds transfer data files were analyzed. A deeds property data model was derived from the sample deeds data. A cross-mapping between the attributes in this model and the attributes in the LADM conformance level classes was carried out. Similarly, a cross-mapping of the LADM conformance level classes between the City of Johannesburg LIS‘s core property data model was performed. The results of both cross-mappings show that there are minor semantic differences between the classes, attributes and associations in the South African data models and the LADM. However, the data models could be refined to conform to LADM conformance level one. A starting point could be to harmonize the terminology used in the national deeds registration system and CoJLIS with the internationally accepted LADM terms and definitions. The LADM provides an improved way of representing the rights and obligations encountered in the South African land registration system and CoJLIS. This research provided an initial exploration upon which further research can be conducted to examine all other aspects of the LADM.
The research has shown that the LADM can be applied to describe land information in South Africa. Moreover, the research results improve the understanding of land administration at both national and municipal level. The LADM offers an opportunity to refine the current system in the e-Cadastre initiative and in the CoJLIS upgrade project to develop an integrated cadastral or property information management model based on international standards. In general, the research results laid a foundation upon which the development of an LADM conformant municipal land information model applicable to all municipalities in South Africa can be derived. More importantly, the research contributed towards the development of a comprehensive LADM profile for South Africa.