Mongabay: New database wrangles data on land rights projects around the globe. “The Land Portal Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in the Netherlands, recently released what it’s calling ‘the largest global database of land and property rights projects.’ In around a decade of existence, the Land Portal Foundation has worked to pull together the often disparate information on these projects from its partners around the world so that researchers, donors and campaigners have a better idea of how these projects are transpiring, said Laura Meggiolaro, the organization’s team leader.”
New-to-me, with new offshoots: Hasse receives N.J. conservation award for vast online mapping project. “Rowan University Professor of Geography John Hasse and a team of researchers have compiled a massive trove of New Jersey land use data and moved it all online for easy access, a project that will benefit students, journalists, municipal officials, developers and residents for decades to come.”
Arizona State University: Research project aims to build geospatial artificial intelligence for landform detection. “Earth is enormous, and while humans have done a decent job of being able to map out the boundaries of countries and states, the roads in our cities and the location of geological sightseeing destinations, there remains a lot of the world that isn’t precisely figured out. But a new project from Wenwen Li, associate professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, aims to learn more about our world and its varying terrain by applying artificial intelligence.”
Berkeley: CalLands maps cropland ownership across California. “To build the CalLands’ interactive website, Luke Macaulay and Van Butsic — both assistant UC Cooperative Extension specialists based in UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management — combined satellite-generated maps of land cover created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with publicly available land ownership records. Next, they anonymized ownership identity and pulled data from all 58 California counties to include parcels of land larger than five acres. The result is a database that features 543,495 privately-owned properties across the state, creating a data-rich map of crops and ownership boundary lines in every county.”
BusinessWire: New Online Mapping Tool Reveals 500 Million Square Feet of Public Land Potentially Usable for Affordable Housing (PRESS RELEASE). “A new online tool, launched yesterday by the University of Miami with support from Citi, reveals roughly 500 million square feet – roughly the size of Manhattan – of underutilized, publicly owned land in Miami-Dade potentially suitable for the development of affordable housing.” This is only one area, of course, but what an interesting idea.
FutureScot: ScotLIS takes shape. “There’s a myriad of property data out there, from house price information to property title details. Wouldn’t it be useful if all that information was available in one place? That’s why, at Registers of Scotland (RoS) we’re developing ScotLIS. ScotLIS is an innovative, map-based land and information service that will facilitate easy access to a wide range of data relating to land and property in Scotland.”
Interesting: Iowa startup Terva wants to be Zillow for farmland. “When you’re looking to buy residential property, it’s easy to use a site like Zillow to find out almost everything you would want to know about a home. If you’re a farmer looking to expand your acreage, the process isn’t quite as simple. The Ames startup Terva is hoping to simplify the process and to become the destination site for agricultural real estate.”
Land records for Delhi, India, have been digitized and put online. “Land records of almost all villages across national capital have been digitised as part of efforts to bring transparency and weed out corruption, Delhi government said today…. A senior officer of the Revenue Department said that land records of all villages of Delhi except for the villages of North District have been digitised and digitally signed from today.”
The Trustees of Reservations have created a digital archive (PRESS RELEASE). “The Trustees is a member-supported, non-profit organization that cares for some of Massachusetts’ most treasured natural, scenic, and historic sites, including reservations and historic houses across more than 27,000 acres in 75 communities… Key pieces of history within the organization’s collections include historical documents such as original letters written by Thomas Jefferson and Ralph Waldo Emerson, accounts of early Massachusetts cabinetmakers, and Charles Eliot’s scrapbook documenting the founding of The Trustees, a 140-page account of clippings, letters, pamphlets, and more.”
The state of Texas has launched its new eminent domain database. “This publicly available tool will show which governmental and non-governmental entities have reported to the Comptroller their authority to exercise eminent domain…. The database contains 5,042 entities, including cities, counties, school districts, special purpose districts, pipeline and energy companies, water supply corporations, telecommunications companies and other public and private entities.”
Land surveyors in Arkansas have a new reference database. “To access the database, visit the Division of Land Surveys website… and click on the “GLO Map” link at the top of the page. A map of Arkansas appears divided into the 1,553 townships. By clicking on any township, a surveyor may access searchable PDF files containing the transcribed field notes for the boundary surveys, re-surveys of the boundaries, original subdivision-surveys, resurveys of the subdivision, and any miscellaneous surveys of that township.”
The state of Texas has a new database of agencies claiming eminent domain powers. “The 2015 session of the Texas Legislature charged my office with assembling the first-ever online database of entities claiming eminent domain powers in Texas. We recently opened the online reporting form for these entities and expect to have the completed database ready later this year. With this database, Texans will be able to see contact information for each entity, the legal provisions granting it eminent domain authority and the focus or scope of that authority, and whether it has used this authority in the preceding year by filing a condemnation petition, among other data.”
Farmers! Landowners! People who just want to get some details on the dirt their houses sit on! Check out This new tool from the University of Missouri extension. “The Ag Site Assessment Tool, developed by University of Missouri Extension, integrates information from multiple sources into a report describing physical, cultural and environmental characteristics of a piece of land.” Draw an outline of a parcel of land less than 10,000 acres and you’ll get a report. I tried it on some land here in North Carolina and it worked fine. There was a little weirdness (it complains if you overlap the outline you draw, and apparently here in central NC I have to be concerned about an endangered clam) but I got information about my soil, population in the area, hydrology characteristics, etc.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) has released a new photo catalog. “The U.S. Geological Survey announced today that it has made part of a huge national repository of geographically referenced USGS field photographs publicly available. USGS geographers developed a simple, easy-to-use mapping portal called the Land Cover Trends Field Photo Map. The entire collection contains over 33,000 geo-referenced field photos with associated keywords describing the land-use and land-cover change processes taking place. Initially, nearly 13,000 photos from across the continental US will be available to the public, yet the online collection will grow as more processed photos become available.”
Now available: a database of large land deals around the world. “OpenLandContracts.org, based at Columbia University in New York and backed by the World Bank, lists details of 69 deals so far involving palm oil plantations, sugar cane, biofuels, soybeans, tea and other crops in eight countries.”