Local Domain Models for Land Tenure Documentation and their Interpretation into the LADM | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
December 2020
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Abstract With an estimated 50% of global land held, used, or otherwise managed by communities, interfacing indigenous, customary, and informal land tenure systems with official land administration systems is critical to achieving universal land tenure security at a global scale. The complexity and organic nature of these tenure systems, however, makes their modelling and documentation within standard, generic land administration systems extremely difficult. This paper presents a model that loosely integrates a Local Domain Model (LDM) developed for a Maasai community in Kenya with the Land Administration Domain Model (LADM). The LDM is an ontological schema which captures local knowledge in a systematic, formal way that is directly or indirectly relevant to land administration. The integration with LADM is achieved through an ontological schema called the Adaptor Model. The concept of conditional RRR (Rights, Restrictions, Responsibilities) is introduced within the Adaptor Model to express the dynamics of social tenures. The three domain models LDM, LADM, Adaptor Model are used in the community-based land tenure recording tool SmartSkeMa. Four implementation examples demonstrate how the case-specific LDM extends the range of concepts representable in LADM in order to meet land administration needs from the local community’s perspective. A panel of land administration experts found the LDM model and the functionality of the Adaptor Model to be fit-for-purpose for the Kenyan case and to be addressing an important gap in the land administration tools landscape.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Chipofya, Malumbo
Karamesouti, Mina
Schultz, Carl
Schwering, Angela


Land Use Policy is an international and interdisciplinary journal concerned with the social, economic, political, legal, physical and planning aspects of urban and rural land use. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information from the diverse range of disciplines and interest groups which must be combined to formulate effective land use policies.

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