Land management is a critical issue among other political and social-economic development issues in any country. Proper land administration helps public and government bodies plan and reap the benefits of well managed land. However, land administration, especially in the third world countries, is not an effortless task due to the complexity in land issues in these countries. IT application has the potential to ensure that land management practice and activities are effective.
Abu Dhabi Council formulated the vision of the year 2030, which they adopted for the development of the capital. In this plan, they have formulated comprehensive strategies to ensure that they will establish a new structure which will satisfy the expectations of the United Arab Emirates nationals as well as the expatriate’s (ADM. 2011). Their goal is to optimize entire government strategies, and make use of advanced technologies in order to ensure smooth operation and a stronger government. In line with the entire e-Government Transformation Program a vision to establish the Abu Dhabi Business Centre where businesses could obtain relevant information was developed. In the process of streamlining the government, the land department also was optimized.
The optimization of land services is a utility project defined by ADSIC in the year 2006 to govern the e-Government Implementation Plan. Previously, land services in Abu Dhabi were characterized by silo procedure and unplanned business processes across the municipalities like Al Ain, Abu Dhabi and Western Region. The Al Ain and Abu Dhabi Municipalities had started operating their own electronic land systems, but each had considerable inadequacies in tracking and security, data storage capability, attributes, and the absence of Geospatial Information System (GIS) assimilation (ADSIC, 2013). The recent Western Region municipality had no electronic land management structure of any kind, and faced challenges which prompted the government to develop a land management system.
Against these conditions, ADSIC progressively increased its participation in the design and setup of a new solution. This solution initially was to play a broad supervision role, and then later financing and fielding an execution team. The project’s purpose is to develop a solution according to the ADSIC’s user-oriented e-Government Program. Further, the aim is to establish a reliable land management services all over the Abu Dhabi Municipalities with the support of a centralised electronic land management system. Such a unified management system addresses major challenges and negative impacts, particularly the silo operations which have many procedural requirements over all the municipalities (ADSIC, 2013). The system tackles limited system functionality, usability, inconsistent data and limited service delivery to the customers.
The need for unified processes was regarded as the foundation of the target solution. The various unified process outputs include fee structures, a central interpretation of land rules and regulations across all the municipalities (Abudhabi.ae, 2013). The technological reverse of this technique is dispersed function architecture with configurable business rules and restrictions. Further features of the legacy system include a role based security model completed with audit trails, and interdependent operational functions with GIS as well as peripheral systems. The land system is flexible, and can be adapted as the operation volume increases.
To ensure that governance all over Abu Dhabi is upheld, they established a change control board with representatives from the three municipalities. It manages the land services systems, including Cadastre, eLMS and GIS systems (ADSIC, 2013)
The eLMS system was released first in December 2007, operating only in the Abu Dhabi municipality with only 15 business processes. The eLMS’ coverage was extended in 2008, to include the Western Region municipality with 19 more processes. The system was additionally extended in June 2009 to cover the Al Ain Municipality with 6 additional processes to make a total of automated business processes to 40 (ADSIC, 2013). In 2010, ADSIC handed over the eLMS system to the Department of Municipal Affairs which went on to monitor the eLMS’ deployment and usage.
There are various components of IT and land management in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi’s national land which is a statement of what the government intends to achieve from the eLMS, as well as ensure that the land actions are consistent with the government’s objectives. Impact Identification which involves a land audit to identify and document potential impacts of the system to the government’s operations. Consultation about the staff and community should be done before, during and after establishment of an eLMS. All Operational Procedures should be reviewed to ensure they are compatible with the organization’s environmental objectives and targets. Documentation of all policies, targets, responsibilities, objectives and procedures should be documented along with the information on environmental performance. Proper Responsibilities and Reporting Structures should be allocated to staff to facilitate its management and implementation effectively.
Training should be done to staff to familiarize them with their responsibilities during the implementation of the eLMS and the overall land policy and objectives. Frequent Review Audits and Monitoring Compliance should be regularly done to ensure that the eLMS is achieving government’s objectives and to improve the operational processes in order to meet this goal. Continual Improvement is needed on regular basis to review progress towards the set goals.
There are several benefits of using IT in land management in Abu Dhabi. First, the use of Information Technology application helps the government to maintain a common set of data for all the three municipalities. This reduces redundancy of files and land related cases as well as simplifies the access to files by the government, businessmen and individuals (ADSIC, 2013). The system has made it possible for the government to do a common audit from a central point other than do it in scattered locations over the three municipalities. The common audit will prevent land related frauds and also detect any existing case. The common maintenance of a common database makes the system safer than other systems. The data contained in the system is relatively safe compared to the manual or the dispersed systems.
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Abu Dhabi is a small country, so the developed land should be maximized fully. This is enabled by the use of a management system which can give a report of the usage of land in the three municipalities (ADM, 2011). The system makes it simple to identify and solve land related conflicts among the users. The system prevents such cases by making it easier for users to access and manage land data. The excellent management of land will lead to a steady economic and social growth as well as bring environmental sustainability.
The system will facilitate the plans which will include establishment of a better city planning, for example, the establishment of work around characteristics in the city of AlAin and Jebel Hafeet. This will link the cities to all parks, cultural landscapes and agricultural landscapes in a consistent and walk able open places (Abudhabi.ae, 2013).
In conclusion, it is obvious that, the vision of the Abu Dhabi government to optimize the whole government strategy is clearly illustrated by the way they utilize such advanced technologies to manage departments and ensure smooth governance. Their land operations, for instance, are made simple and efficient by developing a modern land management system for the government. Their land administration will continue to be effective which will impact positively to the growth in the infrastructure. To build a strong economic growth, Abu Dhabi should build basing on the strong legacy of past in order to grow a stronger economy in the future.