FIG Working Week 2000, 21-26 May, Prague

The Cadastral Reform in the Czech Republic

by  Ivan Pešl 

Key words: Cadastral reform - combination of former land cadastre and land registry - cadastral legislation - legal cadastre - conversion of descriptive data - digitisation of cadastral maps - enhanced cadastral information system. 



The Czech Republic has about 10 million inhabitants, its area is nearly 79.000 square kilometres. The Cadastre comprises 13.078 cadastral units, about 21 million parcels and more than 4 million owners. Not only the need to secure rights of owners and creditors, but first of all the needs of economy of country were the main reasons to start the cadastral reform.

Historical Background

The Czech cadastre has its roots in the Austrian cadastre and land registration system („grundbuch") of last century. The development of the cadastre was heavily influenced (and even interrupted) by frequent political events and great property changes, particularly by several very extensive land reforms:

  • first land reform in 1919 (after WWI and formation of Czechoslovakia)
  • second land reform in 1945 (after WWII)
  • nationalisation and collectivisation in fifties (after communist coup in 1948)
  • restitution and privatisation (after so called „velvet revolution" in 1989).

Political development was too busy. None of the long-term land reforms and cadastral aims had the time enough to be fully completed. The cadastre tried to follow the changes, in fifties was substantially simplified and land registration abolished. After new Civil Code in 1964 a new cadastre comprising registration of basic rights was established. Since the cadastre of 1964 was defective and was not able to meet the new demands of privatisation and restitution, it was inevitable to prepare the cadastral reform. In 1993 after the formation of the Czech Republic new basic cadastral legislation came into force and the cadastral reform started.

New Cadastral Legislation

New cadastral legislation consists of several basic laws and regulations. The Land Registration Act and the Cadastral Law came back to the time-tested principles of previous land registry („grundbuch") and land cadastre from 1927 and established the new „legal cadastre" comprising registration of titles, which is administered by survey authorities.

The cadastre comprises data about parcels, their boundaries and the rights to them (ownership right, mortgage, easement, right of first refusal, and other real rights - as far as created as rights in rem). Cadastral data: cadastral unit, parcel number, geometric determination of property are strictly obligatory and legally binding in the all legal acts concerning real estates. Records registered in the cadastre prove the truth of registered facts untill the contrary is proved. All the cadastral documentation is open to the public and everyone has right to look into them. Official copies and extracts from the cadastre are public deeds.

Long/term Cadastral Conception

The long term Cadastral Conception was adopted by the government in 1993. It established not only prioroties, but solves as well the financing of the whole ambitious project. The main aims of the Conception were as follow:

  • completing local PC LAN in all Cadastral Offices - by 1994
  • completing conversion of descriptive cadastral data („owner folios" with legal titles, including completion with so called „missing parcels") - by year1998
  • digitisation of cadastral maps (newer maps 1:1000 and 1:2000 covering 30% of area - by year 2000, and old graphic maps 1:2800 which cover 70% of area - by year 2006)
  • development and implementation of new cadastral SW system - by year 2000.
Present State of the Cadastre

Legal cadastre has been established (comprising both land cadastre and land registry) administered by survey authorities.

An appropriate organisation has been built up with qualified staff (Czech Office for Surveying , Mapping and Cadastre as the supreme body, 7 Inspectorates in regions, and 77 Cadastral Offices in districts, totally about 5.500 employees).

Cadastral Offices are equipped with local databases connected by WAN with the central database. All descriptive cadastral data had been fully converted (including legal titles and searching for so called „missing parcels") by 1998. Digitisation of cadastral maps has started and is in progress (about 20 %of area covered by newer modern maps 1:1000 and 1:2000 is completed, the digitisation of old graphic maps 1:2800 covering 70% of area has started). New enhanced cadastral software comprising WAN and remote access has been developed and tested and is gradually implemented to Cadastral Offices (including massive training of staff).


The new cadastre works reliably and has stood the test of extensive privatisation and restitution. The new cadastral legislation has proved to be relatively good and is step by step improved. Descriptive data are fully converted including titles and digitisation of maps in under progress (nearly 20 % of area). New cadastral software has been developed and is implemented including WAN and remote access. Offices are equipped with qualified personnel (including lawyers) and a conception of continuous vocational education and training was adopted.

Due to the international consultant help (within PHARE) the way to improve the content and services of an enhanced cadastre is discussed as well as the questions of efficiency and future financing. An open discussion forum „NEMOFORUM" has been established comprising main users of cadastral data both from private and public sector.

Dipl.-Ing. Ivan Pešl
Survey and Cadastral Inspectorate
Praskova 11
746 01 Opava
Tel + 420 653 622 692
Fax + 420 653 621 959

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