The Department of Lands and Surveys of the Ministry of Interior is the oldest and one of the largest departments of the Republic of Cyprus, and started its operations in the year 1858. Its role and responsibility have been of immense importance, particularly in operating the Cyprus Land Registration system. It has been managing the major land matters of Cyprus regarding registration, investigation into title, conveyance, encumbrances, valuations, compulsory acquisition/requisitions, management of state lands, surveying, maintenance of the state survey infrastructure and mapping.
It administers statutes providing services for the property rights of individuals effectively and efficiently within a unified coordinated structure, with distinct branches in Tenure, Registration, Valuation, Management of State Lands, Survey, Cartography and Administration. Also, three new branches have been created during the reorganization and restructuring of the Department in 2004: (i) Transfers/Mortgages/Forced Sales/Encumbrances, (ii) Geodesy and Spatial Mapping and Surveying and (iii) Support and Administration of Land Information System. Also, a new branch has been recently established, the General Valuation and Taxation for the purpose of maintaining and updating on a regular basis a valuation roll for the whole of Cyprus which is the basis of all property taxes. The Department is also the Official Service for the compilation, production and issuing of maps and plans, for which the state copyrights are reserved.
The Department of Lands and Surveys is highly noted throughout the world for its concrete legal system of land administration, ownership and tenure, as well as for the clear and solid procedures which are in effect throughout it. The function of land registration in Cyprus provides a safe and secure foundation for the acquisition, enjoyment and disposal of rights in land. All the processes are fully computerized, highly visible and clearly understood by the public, enabling everybody to have confidence in the system.
A multipurpose cadastre would be the first priority for many countries nowadays; along this, the parcel of property will be the fundamental building block of an integrated system of land information. In Cyprus, our Department has managed to implement a fully integrated Land Information System that supports a wide range of decision-making elements, including land conveyance, equitable taxation, resource management and environmental planning.
The Land Information System (L.I.S.) is considered to be nationally uniform and sustainable and is the infrastructure platform for the following activities:
- Management of property rights
- Management of advisory, special and general valuations
- Management of government land
- Management of property taxation
- Management of land use and building control
- Support land reform and resource allocation
- Management of survey, cartographic and other spatial information.
Another objective of the Department had always been to establish a fixed boundary coordinated cadastral system after a systematic resurvey, to fully support the survey, registration, valuation and management functions of the Department and the staged development and implementation of a National Land Information System (N.L.I.S.) where all agencies with land related activities can share available data for the benefit of the economy of the country.
The enhancement of the D.L.S. IT environment, the computerization of the processes, the upgrade of systems to latest flexible and stable technologies that provide for rich integrated functionality will create a more efficient process and new service opportunities and shall thus contribute to increased productivity and new areas of growth. For this reason, at present, the Department is in the process of implementing a new project, with the title “A Strategic Plan for the Development of Spatial Data Infrastructure in Cyprus,” which comprises of three legal obligations:
- The preparation of a strategic plan for upgrading an expansion of the Cyprus Integrated Land Information System (C.I.L.I.S.) and the development and implementation of a digitized “Spatial Data Infrastructure” and the preparation of tender documents for (a) the implementation of the D.L.S. Portal, (b) the development and implementation of a G.I.S system for Strovolos Municipality and (c) the upgrade of C.I.L.I.S.,
- The implementation of the D.L.S. Portal and,
- The implementation of a G.I.S. system for Strovolos Municipality.
Further, the D.L.S. is participating in another important planning and implementation project to modernize, enhance and upgrade the organization, which is under the auspices of the Public Administration and Personnel Department and includes the following activities:
- Improving strategy leadership and HRM
- reorganization of the Department
- Benchmarking of processes
- Process simplification
- Process re-engineering
- Coding legislative framework and
- Preparation for ISO 9001:2008 for all selected sections.
Finally, the Department is an active member of the following international and European organizations, Committees and Bodies:
- ELRA – European Land Registry Association
- European Land Information System
- UN-WPLA – United Nations-Working Party on Land Administration
- F.I.G. – International Federation of Surveyors
- P.C.C. – Permanent Committee on Cadastre
- EuroGeographics – Association of the European National Mapping Agencies
- International Steering Committee for Global Mapping
- International Cartographic Association
- EuroSDR – European Spatial Data Research
- International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (I.S.P.R.S.)
- IHO – International Hydrographic Organization
- MBSHC – Mediterranean and Black Seas Hydrographic Commission.