Estimates suggest that only 30 percent of the world’s population has access to formal land administration systems to register and protect their land rights. Surveying and mapping cadastral boundaries using traditional, field-based methods is accurate but can prove to be extremely time, cost and labor-intensive. This makes it difficult to create or update existing cadastral maps in developing or less developed countries. Alternate methods that could provide cheap, fast and effective solutions to speed up cadastral boundary mapping are being actively investigated. With the advent of very high resolution (VHR) imagery, satellite remote sensing offers an advantage as it has potential to provide automatic feature extraction tools/methods for boundary extraction, which could be used for fit-for-purpose land administration approaches. In this paper, we assess and validate the utilization of automatic feature extraction method in Dolakha district, Nepal in support of cadastral map creation. The validation of the automatic feature extraction is done by comparing the results with boundaries collected through three different methods. First, we compare the topographical boundaries generated by the automatic feature extraction with an existing cadastral map. Second, the results are compared with the farm tenure boundaries collected by participatory mapping methods. Third, we compare the results with farm boundaries acquired using a mobile application for spatial data collection. In the latter two cases, farmers provide boundary information. The visual interpretation shows deviations among the results of different methods. Considering this study is one of the first attempts in validating methods for cadastral map creation in mountainous terrain, the results will give an insight into the potential of automatic feature extraction for this purpose in Nepal. Promising results could lead to fit-for-purpose applications for large-scale cadastral mapping using this method.
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