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This website can tell you who owns land in 60 countries

Land ownership is a hot topic in the UK thanks to the current debate around land banking and delays in building on sites with planning permission.  

Issues around land ownership exist equally in other nations around the world, and problems related to land ownership go far beyond just housebuilding.  

Land Portal provides an important and useful tool for anyone who wants to explore and find out about land ownership.  Let's take a look at what Land Portal aims to do.  

About Land Portal 

Helping cultures and nations communicate with one another has traditionally been the responsibility of diplomats, but the Land Portal Foundation takes the position that strengthening land ownership rights should done by local communities, and providing free open data is a step towards that aim. 

The Land Portal website and services allow interested parties to access open data documents that help build connections and exchange ideas on the subject of land ownership rights. The Land Portal Foundation works to reduce the redundancy and duplication often found in open data, so that practical results may be obtained and donors find it easier to increase food security and reduce rural poverty. 

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The Land Portal website assists organisations that represent parties with insecure land rights. By improving their ability to live and farm without the threat of illegal evictions, these groups make lifestyles better and support food security for some of the most vulnerable communities.  

The portal obtains and publishes important data, presenting it in readable format under open licenses. Anyone can reuse critical data, assisting the rights of small landowners and tenured landholders. When these rights are weak and insecure, communities are vulnerable to expropriation and infringement, which in turn affects livelihoods and security. 

At the Netherlands-based One Land Portal project, staff work with partners and experts to give local communities a voice in the development of the Mekong region. This portal secures and shares information on land governance and use in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

One important task, given the size of the region and its wide range of languages and national priorities, is to effectively communicate about land issues not only across borders but between people of different skill sets. There needs to be improvement in the ways that information is recorded and shared across the network. Land Portal’s collection of open source data puts it in an ideal position to assist local communities with their land rights. 

While open data makes valuable information more accessible, it is only beneficial when there is a shared vocabulary. Where land ownership rights are concerned, campaigning groups, technical organisations, and research institutions must all be able to understand the information presented. For this reason, Land Portal links open data that helps bridge the diversity and make information more widely understood. 

One of the portal’s services, the Land Book Project, receives funding from the UK’s Department for International Development. This project involves partnering with regional hubs to share the advantages of open data and the ability to access land rights information. The team is working to finalise a land governance vocabulary that allows the Land Portal to quietly manage all concepts currently surrounding land governance. 

The Land Portal is working with local partners in South America and West Africa to support the current work being done in Asia. Although it addresses a broad range of land rights issues, special attention is being given to matters such as gender land rights. Women constitute the majority of agricultural workers but comparatively few are land owners or tenured landholders. 

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