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Regulation of land tenure in Panama

Photo: COWI A/S
Systematic property registration in five districts in Panama was the first step towards registration of the whole country.
With a solid experience from cadastral projects implemented in Bolivia and El Salvador, COWI was in 2003 assigned to carry out this first large scale national cadastral project in Panama.

The project

The project consisted of determination of property boundaries and property rights for an area of 2,100 km² in five districts in the province of Chiriquí in Panama - a registration that included 15,000 properties, divided into smaller farms and rural villages.

Cadastral surveying

The registration was carried out through cadastral surveying with total stations for the rural villages and by means of orthophoto identification for the farm land. Whereas the property rights were determined on basis of visits to every single property owner. During these visits material in relation to ownership was gathered and in case of conflicts between neighbouring properties - we tried to find a solution on the spot. 

The project formed part of a World Bank financed programme consisting of different components that together were a prerequisite for a future land reforms in Panama. This project was, however, the first step towards an entire property registration of the whole country.

Examples of the services provided by COWI

  • Establishment of local geodetic control points. 
  • Surveying of all urban and rural parcels (approx. 15,000) in the five districts. 
  • Creation of a property data base and a cadastral geographic information system of all urban and rural properties. 
  • Production of property maps for titling purpose and cadastral maps in the scale of 1:1,000 for rural villages, and 1:5,000 for rural farmland.

LAST UPDATED: 18.04.2017