by the agency.
The land registry index map records the location of some 18 million registered land parcels in England and Wales. Based on ordnance survey large-scale maps, it is the only source of information which puts the land registry's registers of title in a geographical context. Held mainly in the form of some 400,000 paper map documents
distributed throughout the land registry's 24 regional offices, it is currently updated manually.
The lord chancellor, in making this announcement said: 'I want to improve the quality, speed and accessibility of services to consumers and businesses. This includes taking the opportunities offered by new technology. Computerising the index map takes us along that route.'
Peter Collis, chief land registrar, welcomed the project, saying: 'Computerisation of the index map ensures we remain on course to meet the prime minister's target for electronic delivery of government services by 2005. Additionally, with e-conveyancing on the horizon, we face possibly the most far reaching and exciting programme of land reform since the introduction of registration almost 150 years ago.'
Computerisation of the index map will convert paper-held map information into electronic format and will require the digital capture of all registered land parcels for display over ordnance survey digital map data.
HM land registry is a government executive agency and trading fund responsible to the lord chancellor which keeps and maintains the Land Register of England and Wales. Its main purpose is to register title to land and to record dealings once the land is registered. Established in 1862, it is required by statute to be self-financing and makes no call on public funds.