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To gauge an understanding of how boundaries are perceived in Ireland by landowners

Author - Daragh O'Brien, Dr. Patrick Prendergast


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Without boundaries there would be no maps. International boundaries have been man made which give countries their shape and whose borders limit sovereignty. Boundaries were formed throughout history based on historical background and colonial times. Where you find boundaries a detailed analysis may uncover conflict, whether this is between one country and another, it is very prevalent between one landowner and another. The purpose of this paper is to show Irish landowner's knowledge of their boundaries and an overall perspective of how property boundaries are perceived in Ireland.

Many landowners know where their property boundaries are by locating the physical features on and around their holding. However, ask them to precisely identify where the exact boundary lines are, many have different views where their boundaries are. Their views range from identifying the physical natural boundary, locating deeds, maps, architectural/engineering/land surveying drawings or they may not know at all. Detailed and specific information is not available for Irish property owners and maybe inadequate for use today in mapping or conveyancing. Information on boundaries needs to be clarified and accurately defined to avoid ambiguity. This paper includes a detailed discussion of the key findings from two questionnaires and concludes with a number of recommendations.

2. Boundary Categories

The term boundary is denoted by a physical feature marking the limit of a land parcel or an imaginary line identifying the divide between two legal interests in a plot of land (Williamson et al, 2010). The boundary system within a country is the cornerstone for a land administration to work effectively and efficiently. Below is an example of some of the main categories of boundaries.

2.1 Cadastre

Recording and taxing ownership of land has been in operation since Egyptian and Napoleonic times. Cadastres were one of the first systems used to aid in the collection of taxes on land. A Cadastre can be described as a complete co-coordinated map of accurately defined land parcels, which describe every parcel of land in a country i.e. residential properties, commercial properties, roads, public spaces and infrastructure (Wallace et al, 2010). Cadastres are planimetric maps where accurate co-coordinated measurements of boundaries can be taken from the map. No topographic features are shown on Cadastre maps. An important requirement of Cadastral maps is that they show a sufficient number of points, which can accurately define positions on the ground (FAO, 2011).In most countries, ground surveys are used to accurately define the land parcels. However, some countries cannot afford to survey land parcels on the ground due to expenses involved and lack of personnel. Once a Cadastre is functioning, detailed information can be accessed from the maps including the ability to scale information (Wallace et al, 2010). All this information is stored in digital databases where geocoding is added i.e. street address, location of houses and plot numbers etc. A country that uses a cadastre efficiently is Australia where farmers, developer’s, water authorities, road builders, delivery systems, planners, land managers and others use this system which provides information and data to them in an authoritative and legally enforceable way (Wallace et al, 2010). A Cadastre system is essential for a good land administration and land management.

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