Christian Science Monitor: Protecting land rights using Wikipedia-style maps
Anyone who is familiar with Hernando DeSoto's The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else, knows that the poor control trillions of dollars of capital in the form real estate but can't leverage it due to inadequate property rights. As you read this article keep in mind that 5 billion people are expected to gain access to the internet in less than a decade.
Building data bases of land ownership, Wikipedia-style, would be a cheap and easy way for poor, rural communities to compile a record of property rights and land use, reducing corruption and helping to lessen illegal land grabs.
Imagine whipping out your smartphone, walking the boundaries of your property, and pressing “Send” to upload a map of your land to a common databank. You also could attach a photo of a legal contract proving your tenancy or ownership.
The pressure to record land tenure is mounting worldwide. ...
It seems like this could have a tremendous impact on economic development with the poor.