The role of the Land Surveyor within the Italian Cadastral System

By Bruno Razza



The Land Agency is a public body whose main task is to conserve and to manage the real estate registers  and the cadastral, administrative and geometrical data base.

Since 1939 the Cadastral System was under the authority of the Ministry of Finance. In order to have a better management of the functions of the Ministry, the Italian State established in 1999 -  with the reform on the fiscal Administration - the Collecting Agency, the Customs Agency, the State Agency and the Land Agency. In that way all the cadastral organization has fallen under the competence of the Land Agency.  

The most important updating process within the Italian Cadastral System involves the private property, both for fiscal purposes and the proper inventory of the existing real estates.

By law, every owner is bound to declare all the changes in value and profitability of his estates both to the Land Registry, and to the Building Registry.

Therefore, Cadastral Records have to be constantly updated.

The technical aspects of this activity of updating are carried out by self-employed professionals, who don’t belong to the Cadastral Administration, and, for the most part, are Surveyors.

Cadastral technicians do not attend to these tasks, as, the years passing by, their duty has become mostly the monitoring and preservation of data.

Therefore, the whole Cadastral System is brought up to date by self-employed Surveyors, paid directly by their clients (i.e. the owners of the estates).

The technical updating of the Land Registry takes different forms: cartographical, geometrical, administrative, fiscal and legal. Nevertheless, three are the most important fields of activity as far as the Surveyor is concerned: the parcelling out of a land plot; the introduction of a building on the cadastral map; and the monitoring of the cadastral parcel.

On the other hand, the technical updating of the Building Registry is mostly of two kinds: notification of new buildings, and notification of changes concerning those buildings that have been modified.


Land Registry

The parcelling out of a land plot (procedure for the division, “tipo di frazionamento”)

That’s to say the updating of the geometrical measurements through which land plots are divided. They form a data-base that allows the singling out of those lines that divide separate properties, and therefore the transfer of the titles concerning these ones.

The Surveyor goes in the field where he carries out the measurement of one or more cadastral parcels, with reference to a triangle of landmarks (such as the corner of a building, permanent boundary stones, relevant brick-works, established boundaries, etc.).

The graphic and analytical representation of the main features of this survey is then introduced into the PREGEO procedure, a software of the Cadastral Administration that defines and validate the technical action of the parcelling out.

This procedure allows to introduce on the map the survey and the new dividing lines, and this represent the parcelling out of land plots. Moreover, it allows the calculation of the surface and the incomes of the parcelled land, establishing therefore new cadastral parcels.



The parcelling out of a land plot is absolutely necessary for the division of properties. The Surveyor is responsible for the survey and, with his professionalism, he guarantees of the quality of the measurements that have to be introduced in the data-base.

The Cadastral Administration verifies the accuracy of the data, and is responsible for the proper maintenance of the cartography and for the preservation both of the administrative and fiscal data concerning the various estates.

The introduction of a building on the cadastral map (map procedure, “tipo mappale”)

When a structure is built on a land, a geometrical plan of it must be introduced on the map.

This kind of technical procedure is very much alike the one used into the parcelling out of a land plot, both in the survey technique (always referred to established landmarks) and in the PREGEO software thereafter applied.

This is important: it is a guarantee of the correct identification of a building on the map.

The monitoring of the cadastral parcel (parcel procedure, “tipo particellare”)

This latter is a procedure seldom used, usually for the identification of a cadastral parcel or a property in order to assess, from a technical point of view, its real metrical measures and surface.

Surveyors normally carry out this important work during the re-establishing of the boundaries or when the owner wants to know exactly the extension of his land. Therefore, this activity can be defined as a further survey that doesn’t modify any data or the cadastral topography.

Such a procedure is particularly relevant in the case of valuable lands, when the accuracy has a significant economic feedback.

Nowadays, thanks to the overtaking of old manual techniques by new technologies, the updating changes introduced in the Cadastral System by the Surveyors, after their validation, are immediately registered in the official data-base and can be approved at once.

Moreover, the updated data can be transmitted by computer. By now, in Italy this way of communication is still experimental and optional, but the Surveyors are trying to make it mandatory for all the National Administrations of the Territory.

Thanks to this procedure, the Surveyors will be able to submit to their offices all their technical data straightaway. Controls and cadastral approvals will be totally computerised, and the success of the job will be always immediately confirmed in the same way.

A great advantage for everybody: the professional, the Administration and the client!

Building Registry

The Building Registry is updated in the section that concerns the registration of both the new buildings and the structures modified as the time goes by (modifications due to demolitions, new constructions, enlargements, and so on).

The Surveyor takes down all the details of the building, indoor and outdoor; draws a plan of the estate; describes all the significant elements and presents a proposal for its classification that, for fiscal purposes, states its official “cadastral income”.

The existing technical procedure is called DOCFA. It allows the digital recording of all the data needed to identify the building that has to be registered (dimensions, extent, finishing features, quality, graphics and valuations).

Therefore, the data-base is updated at once through the information submitted by the Surveyors and all the data can be transmitted immediately by computer, as for the Land Registry ones.

Then, we can say that Italy is fast moving toward a digital Cadastral System that will be totally automatic and computerised, thanks to the constant updating efforts of the Surveyors.

For the Surveyor who works in the Cadastral System, the most important achievement will be to control the conformity of the owner’s actions to the law: what is built, what is authorised, an what is registered have to match.

The final aim of all this action is to obtain a precise graphic representation of the territory, a proper identification of the real estates, and a description of taxable goods as fair as possible.

In THIS kind of activity the Surveyors are the true protagonists.

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