International Land Measurement Standards (ILMS)

Part 2 Application of ILMS within a Functioning LIS Context

As described, ILMS are both standards and a due diligence reporting framework. The reporting framework is an important first step in achieving consistent land and real property transfer reporting within and between countries. ILMS works with existing international and national standards to provide the basis for improving existing processes, where necessary, and achieve greater transparency and consistency within and between standards.

It should be remembered that ILMS is not designed to be prescriptive and can be 'customised' according to whichever environment it operates in. A data-rich environment might allow all main elements and multiple sub-elements to be gathered, while a data-poor environment might only allow some main elements and no sub-elements to be gathered.

The following section describes the principles of ILMS reporting and provides the practical details for the application of the land and real property transaction reporting framework.

The ideal scenario for the implementation of ILMS is one in which a functioning and maintained LIS exists. This section describes how ILMS might operate in such situations. Section 2.3, however, also considers land and real property transaction reporting without a LIS framework.

2.1 Land Information Institutional Framework

Figure 4 shows the Land Information System Framework under which ILMS may operate. ILMS has been constructed to act as a reporting framework for land transaction. As such, it enables the flow and collection of information from the initiation of the land transaction to the formal or informal recording of its completion.


Figure 4: Land Information System Framework

2.2 Land and Real Property Transaction Reporting within a Land Information Systems Framework

ILMS may operate within existing LIS, land administration and land governance contexts. Where this is the case, it will help to improve global consistency in land information reporting.

In some instances, the information required to complete and update the relevant LIS components may be derived from numerous different sources, which should be validated as part of the due diligence process by the appropriate professionals. Further details on the process are shown in Figure 5.


Figure 5: Reporting Proforma

Land Parcel Country Name:



2.3 Requirements for Applying ILMS

All land transfers should, if possible, comply with the following requirements in relation to the relevant land parcel. The following information should be retained on file or in the report, subject to the necessary due diligence, together with references including date of creation, author, method of creation and any limitations:

- purpose of the land transfer

- date of the land transfer

- name of the parties to the land transfer

- form of tenure/ownership (including information on gender specific issues)

- site/land area together with the date of verification

- parcel identification including boundaries and identification of the measurement standard adopted

- land use at the time of the land transfer and pre-transfer if subject to any variation

- any existing rights of access that affect the land

- any probable right of access that may affect the land but are not recorded elsewhere

- independent inspection of any associated building together with a condition report

- measurement methodology adopted (e.g. total station, GNSS, imagery or tape measure)

- scale of any plans used

- statement of measurement accuracy (section 2.5)

- services servicing the land parcel or site (i.e. electricity, sewerage, water)

- land valuation

- if ILMS is not used, state the reason for departure

- unit of measurement and conversion factor, if applicable (e.g. acres to hectares) and

- signature, complete with date, of the person responsible for compilation of the ILMS report- academic qualifications/professional qualifications and licence/registration number (if applicable)

appendix containing information used, referenced or relied on including author, date, purpose and methodology.

2.4 Land and Real Property Transaction Reporting without a Land Information Systems Framework

ILMS is also designed to operate in countries without any existing or functioning LIS framework. Where this is the case it will still provide the parties to the transaction and their professional advisers with standards around the land and real property transaction information that needs to be collected, verified and disclosed.

In some instances, the information required to complete and update the relevant ILMS components may be derived from multiple different sources or may not be available. The information should be validated and qualified as far as possible as part of the due diligence process by the appropriate professionals.

2.5 Accuracy of Parcel Measurement

It is the responsibility of ILMS users to adopt appropriate measuring and computing processes to satisfy the requirements of clients, users and national (including nationally developed) regulations and legislation where these exist. Requirements range from a very broad approximation for some temporary purpose to a precise calculation for land transfer or other reasons.

Practitioners must consider the following parameters when evaluating the level of accuracy that could be expected from a measured survey - one that is both achievable and acceptable.

  • What is the purpose of the measurement exercise?
  • What are the client's requirements and expectations in terms of accuracy and confidence in measurement?
  • What are the building or site conditions at the time of survey that would influence how measurements are undertaken?
  • What are the time/cost elements involved in the measurement and reporting?
  • What would the consequences be should the level of accuracy be deemed insufficient for the purpose?

Consideration of these issues should identify the necessary working tolerances to be adopted throughout the various stages of measurement and area calculation. The measurement tolerances must be specified in the scope of work and report.

As a means of delivering final area figures to an expected or agreed level of accuracy, operational survey procedures and workflows should help to ensure that:

  • the linear site dimensions recorded are within the necessary tolerances
  • procedures, processes and equipment checks are in place to support accuracy of measurement
  • there is sufficient redundancy of recorded dimensions to mitigate against errors
  • there are software check routines for the area calculations
  • there is an appropriate quality assurance regime whereby checks are undertaken and audited.

Accuracy values may be stated in various ways and ILMS includes a Survey Accuracy Band Table in Appendix B.