Land Administration practices worldwide rely mainly on 2D-based systems to define legal and other spatial boundaries related to land interests. However, the built environment is increasingly becoming spatially complex. Land administrators are challenged by an unprecedented demand to utilise space above and below earth’s surface. The relationships between people and land in vertical space can no longer be unambiguously represented in 2D. In addition, the current societal demand for sustainability in a collaborative environment and a lifecycle-thinking, is driving the need to integrate independent systems with standalone databases and methodologies, associated with different aspects of the Spatial Development lifeCycle (SDC). Land Administration Systems (LASs) are an important component of the SDC. Today, a LAS is often mandated and managed as a domain in isolation. Interaction and data reuse with the other phases of the SDC is limited and far from optimal. It is expected that effective 3D data collaboration, sharing, and reuse across the sectors and disciplines in the lifecycle will enable new ways of data harmonisation and use in this complex environment; will improve efficiency of design and data acquisition, as well as data quality (in relation to specific regulations); and will minimise inconsistencies and data loss within information flows. Overall, a cross-sectoral approach is directed towards improving the current state of the Land Administration (LA) domain. This paper consists of two parts. In the first, a review of the current situation, with respect to LASs is presented, concluding the needs for improvement in terms of effectiveness and consistency. In the second part, the vision for the future of LASs is introduced in a wider context, and as an important phase in the SDC, with regards to legal, technical, and organisational aspects. In this part, the needs and considerations that result from the evolving environment and the emerging technological advances are addressed, with a view to discussing a cross-sector approach to collect, maintain, reuse, and share 3D data. In such a cross-sectoral approach, various interoperability issues appear, making it necessary to introduce and use standards. In this respect, the ISO 19152:2012 Land Administration Domain Model (LADM) in its current Edition I, as well as in Edition II (expected in 2022) may serve as the standardised core structure of a 3D LAS, with respect to its role as further presented in this paper. In parallel, the evolution of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the design and construction industry, as well as the fact that BIM plays a central role in the life cycle of development projects, are well recognized. Emphasis is given on feasible reuse of BIM/IFC (Industry Foundation Class) data in a 3D LAS. Those considerations are addressed through a web-based system architecture for a future 3D LAS, thereby attempting to integrate heterogeneous systems in the SDC.
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