Identifying barriers to GIS-based land management in Guatemala

The development of a cadastral system for the Republic of Guatemala was one of the priorities of the 1997 Peace Accord that ended 30 years of civil war. While uncertainty of land ownership and land title are contentious issues, the development of a national cadastre, equitable land distribution, and land tenancy are viewed as key to maintaining peace in Guatemala. This article addresses the most significant barriers to developing a National Land Information System used to support cadastral reform. Findings from interviews with government agencies indicate that while technical improvements can be readily implemented, social factors associated with NGO and government interaction, diffusion of equitable government policy towards land rights, and the costs of the land-registration process seriously hinder the completion of the cadastral process. These findings are discussed in light of international aid and development policy.