Automation of the Puerto Rico Land Registry

cavalcadehorehoundMechanics

Nov 5, 2013 (3 years and 10 months ago)

104 views

Automation of the Puerto Rico Land Registry

CoPI: Rafael Fernández

Sein


Introduction and Problem Statement



The land registry office is a key government agency for all societies, as it is the
repository for the titles to real estate properties. In Pu
erto Rico, the land registry is
manually maintained, with the result that the system is said to have a backlog of six
years. Every year about 250,000 documents are presented to the
Registro de la Propiedad

de Puerto Rico. Each and every one of these docume
nts must be analyzed and
summarized by an expert person into a document called a
minuta
, and then revised and
approved before it is set into the land registry archives. This results in that the persons
must be privately employed to make title searches, tha
t a property may be sold several
times before the land registry catches up with the paperwork, that land taxes are difficult
to collect, and that these difficulties may increase the opportunities for fraud and theft.
The most amazing fact is that most of t
he documents currently being presented to the
Registro de la Propiedad

were at one time in electronic form within a computer, and yet
they must go through a manual process before its acceptance into the archives.


Proposed Solution



We propose a system
to automate the land registry in Puerto Rico, but since this is
a system steeped in tradition and legal requirements, the process must be done in steps.
The first requirement that we must fulfill is to make the system backwards compatible
with the existing

system. We may place other requirements on the longevity and
characteristics of the storage media, on the encryption and legal issues behind the
electronic signatures and transmittal of sensitive documents.



Our solution hinges on using XML, the eXtensi
ble Markup Language that has
become the lingua franca for e
-
commerce and heterogeneous databases. XML is also the
vehicle of choice for the Semantic Web [1] put forth by Tim Berner
-
Lee. By developing
the domain narrow domain of knowledge of contracts and
deeds in Spanish, our team will
be expanding the necessary tools to converse with other similar domains and at the same
time open new avenues for electronic access to government databases and services.


XML
[2,3,4]
allows annotation of the original docume
nts presented to the
Registro de la Propiedad
, but in such a way that the original text is preserved while the
electronic version contains all the information that is required for electronic search,
analysis, retrieval, and manipulation. For example, we ma
y have the following fragment
of a
minuta

extracted from a contract to buy
-
sell a parcel of land:


<contrato = “compraventa”>



<parte_vendedora>




<nombre> Armando Casas </nombre>




<estado_civil> casado </estado_civil>




<residencia> Cabo Rojo </resi
dencia>




<seguro_social>123
-
45
-
6789</seguro_social>




</parte_vendedora>



<parte_compradora>

<nombre>Dolores Fuertes</nombre>

<estado_civil> casada</estado_civil>

<residencia> Aguada </residencia>

<seguro_social>777
-
77
-
7777</seguro_social.



</parte_co
mpradora>



<descripcion_propiedad>




<tipo> finca rustica,</tipo>




<cabida> 1.000 cuerdas </cabida>




<colindancia_norte> Juan Delpueblo </colindancia_norte>




<colidancia_este> PR 100 </colindancia_este>




<colindancia_sur>Fulana Detal </colindanc
ia_sur>




<colindancia_oeste>Juan Delpueblo</colindancia_oeste.




<numero_catastro>123 456 7890 987</numero de catastro>



</descripcion de propriedad>


To check the fragment is well
-
formed we may use several parsers available for that
purpose. Once the

well
-
formed
minuta

is obtained, the document is ready for examination
by an expert system, and hence to the approval and archival process. The archival process
will contain two electronic versions of the document: one a non
-
revocable electronic
form such
as the portable data file (pdf) together with electronic signatures and the
required safeguards, and the electronically annotated version together with the metadata
required by the archival system and the
minuta

in XML format.



To complete the solution we

have to look at three cases: 1) new documents
presented to the
Registro
in

electronic form
,
2) documents already in archives in printed
form ( typewriter or computer printer output), and 3) old, handwritten documents. This
last condition is out of the sco
pe of the present proposal.


The solution for the first case is fairly easy. We propose the construction of an
editor that will allow the lawyers presenting to the
Registro

to mark up by themselves in
XML the documents to be presented. This will allow the

production of the
minutas

to be
almost instantaneous. This procedure ensures that the
minuta

presented represent exactly
what is contained in the contract document. Once the
minuta

is certified to represent the
contents of the document presented, it is f
orwarded for approval, and hence to archival in
printed and electronic means.



In the case of documents already archived in printed form, they will have to be
scanned and converted to electronic form by optical character recognition software. Once
the pr
inted document is in machine readable form, it will be analyzed by a Natural
Language Processor for Spanish, thus identifying the type of document (the
Registro

accepts some 17 types of documents), the parts involved, the property and its
characteristics,
and the like. Once each of the constituent parts of the document are
identified, they can be marked up with XML and forwarded for electronic storage.


Benefits of Proposed Solution



The proposed solution presents several advantages over the present chao
tic
system:

1)

The documents can be searched electronically, in a fast and expeditious
manner, using several different keys from local or remote locations;

2)

The documents can be easily replicated, which means loss from natural
disasters can be averted;

3)

The d
ocuments can be connected with other documents. For example, the
documents in the
Registro

(administered by the Department of Justice) can be
associated with the


Catastro de la Propriedad

(administered by an agency
answering to the municipalities).



Re
ferences


1.

Tim Berners
-
Lee, James Hendler, Ora Lassila,
The Semantic Web
, Scientific
American, May 2001.

2.

Simon St. Laurent,
XML Elements of Style
, McGraw
-
Hill 2000.

3.

Simon St. Laurent,
XML, A Primer
, M&T Books, 2001.

4.

Benoit Marichal,
Applied XML Solutions
, 2000.