Land reform and geodata in a smartphone: will Ukraine open to the world today?

Today a special plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada will be held, and draft Law No.2370 “On the National Geospatial Data Infrastructure”, to be considered in the second reading, is item No.1 on the agenda.

The information/data on land parcels and everything related to Earth (mineral resources, forests, transportation network, real estate objects, etc.) — all these are geospatial data. Without going deep into the technical details of the draft law, the economic logic of this law is very simple — to open and simplify the access to and use of geospatial data as much as possible. It will increase the openness and transparency of the entire economy, since the most economic activities are in some way linked to land parcels. It will also reduce the transactions costs and corruption, which will have a positive effect for the economy, too.

What is draft Law 2370 about? In terms of land reform, it will open free access to land and other cadastres, as well as other geospatial data and enable date use and information exchange. So far, the factual absence of such access and data sharing has been entailing inefficient use of budget funds and formidable corruption.

In broader terms, the National Geospatial Data infrastructure (NGDI) will set the requirements for publishing all kinds of geospatial data on geoportals, and the National Geoportal will actually become the only window through which one can assess the management of land resources without leaving the office, which is quite convenient for taking managerial and business decisions at state and community levels.

In addition, the NGDI will enable accumulating and systematizing information on existing geospatial data (metadata) produced and used by various authorities, local governments, and economic entities. It will prevent unnecessary double works and payments and enable quick data search and data control. The drafl law will open public access to geospatial data, development of modern geospatial products and services market in accordance with Directive 2007/2/EU of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, dated March 14, 2007, for establishing the Infrastructure for Geospatial Information in the European Union (INSPIRE).

In Ukraine, probably everyone has already realized the importance of open data. The OpenBudget state web-portal of budget data allows for using and analyzing data on state and local budgets. For instance, residents of any community can open data and see how efficiently taxpayers’ money is spent for the development of their communities.

Other countries also have web-portals of geospatial data. Below are some examples, so that everyone can have a look and understand all the importance of this instrument and legislative initiative: Poland’s geoportal, Germany’s geoportalthe USA geoportal – U.S. National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI)

Oleg Nivievskyi, Kyiv School of Economics