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The Land Portal Turns 15





This year, the Land Portal marks 15 years in action. We began as a simple, yet ambitious, website in 2009 by aggregating fragmented land data for people searching for free, reliable information to support land rights protection for vulnerable people. 

Back then, land stakeholders were still searching in the dark for concrete, reliable data related to land. Broad aspects, like the link between land and food security, or land and climate, had yet to be comprehensively documented. There was also urgency to improve information, as some actors were exploiting the blind spot while carrying out abusive land practices, including land grabs. 

We have stayed true to our original goals, but we haven’t stayed static. Tackling issues through independent research, connecting land to other development agendas, bringing cutting-edge data principles to land information, fostering vigorous debates – the Land Portal has evolved into an anchor for the land governance community. 

We have held up our microphone to diverse voices. Anyone can still register and add their data and perspectives to our platform. Our collaborators range from global organizations to individuals and small civil society communities. We pick up topics such as sextortion, carbon markets, and data justice before they go mainstream.

We have crafted easily approachable content to help users get an instant look or dive deep into the land governance situations in countries. Our thematic portfolios put land into context by covering issues from land conflicts to corruption, food security to gender, climate change, urban and forest tenure, indigenous land rights and much more.

From the beginning, the Land Portal’s unique differentiator was our embrace of the open knowledge movement – the idea that knowledge should be free to use, reuse, and redistribute with as few legal, social, and technological restrictions as possible. We were early adopters in our use of open source software, linked open data, and open licensing. The start-up approach is in the DNA of the Land Portal, and it’s what allowed us to leverage our open data beliefs to embark on another ambitious programme - to document  the State of Land Information. We shed light on the levels of completeness and openness of land data around the world to create more conversations. 

Throughout it all, we built a community based on trustworthy and unbiased information. The data and information landscape has changed in the last 15 years and will continue to evolve at an ever increasing pace. There are more organizations collecting land data, more attention paid to land-related data, and more artificial intelligence tools that are being used for land governance, with uncertain outcomes. We are paying attention to our users’ evolving needs and remain laser-focused on growing with the global land governance community. 

“As we celebrate our history, our energies are concentrated on the future. We’ll continue to ask ourselves what we can do better, where we can improve in serving our users, and how we can innovate,” says Laura Meggiolaro, Managing Director. Thank you to all our users over the years and the donors who have supported the Land Portal.  





Read + Watch: 15th Anniversary Celebration Messages 

Read: Laura Meggiolaro's Reflections


Please stay tuned for more information about events, blogs, and content for our 15th anniversary.