11 July 2022

Keeping Scotland’s Land Register relevant and up to date

Registers of Scotland (RoS)

“Mapping underpins everything we do at RoS. Having recently completed our five-year plan, we are excited to move onto the next phase of our development. Over the past year, we have replaced our 30-year-old mapping infrastructure with a digital solution which not only supports our data ambitions but will progress the delivery of our corporate objectives. This will provide a vital foundation for our continuous improvement and create opportunities to ensure a sustainable and agile future for Scotland’s land register with even greater interactivity and accessibility.”

Kenny Crawford Business Development Director, Registers of Scotland (RoS)

Registers of Scotland (RoS) is building a modern mapping platform enabling it to work with structured data, develop new strategies to deliver information from the Land Register, adapt to improvements in geospatial and location technology and quickly answer questions such as ‘Who owns Scotland’?

One of its responsibilities is to show the legal boundaries of properties on the cadastral map. Showing more than 400 years of property transactions and geospatial data, this is created from a combination of written descriptions, drawings, plans, legal presumptions, and the law of prescription (where possession of land becomes relevant) where the original intent may not always be available.

To support the cadastral map, the Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012 requires a base map providing topographic information to be used for registration.

RoS uses OS MasterMap which provides contextual information (roads, buildings, walls etc) allowing users to understand legal boundaries with topographic features on the ground. As it is updated constantly and provides a near real-time view of the topographic features, this puts RoS in the unique position of providing Land Registration data that coincides with the most recent version of the map of Scotland.

RoS is also creating innovative new ways of working to meet the increased operational demand on resource. These incorporate open standards and use open-source software and are underpinned by adoption of the Land Administration Domain Model (LADM ISO19152). By developing a new Land Registration Maintenance process, it is moving away from a manual ‘compare and update’ process to a sustainable model supported by automated and optimised edit tools.


  • Builds sustainability into the land register – supporting the maintenance for the next 400 years.
  • Delivers resiliency from base map updates and surveying improvements.
  • Improves transparency and accessibility of mapping data.
  • Enables prioritisation of manual workload to simplify and improve registration service journeys.
  • Allows RoS to process over 10,000 changes per week from Ordnance Survey.
  • Ensures better understanding of topographic change and its effects on the Land Register.
  • Generates a rule-based model for handling spatial data change (quantification of risk).