Landonline 'safe' from Terralink fallout

The slide of Terralink into receivership will 'not mean a huge amount" for the Landonline project in terms of further delay, says Linz head Russ Ballard. It may, however, postpone some of the potential benefits of the online system for surveyors.

The slide of Terralink into receivership will "not mean a huge amount” for the Landonline project in terms of further delay, says Land Information New Zealand (Linz) head Russ Ballard. It may, however, postpone some of the potential benefits of the onland system for surveyors.

State-owned enterprise Terralink has been subcontracted by EDS to do the survey side of the conversion from paper records to electronic records for entry to Landonland – the part concerned with the physical layout of the land. Linz already has this information in its digital cadastral database, says Ballard, “though it is not survey-accurate”. One of the functions of the survey conversion was to fit data more accurately to a surveyed grid of most of the country.

The receivership is directly due to delays in this project.

Conversion of the land ownership information, which is the more time-critical part of the Landonline project, is being done by EDS itself.

The availability of survey-accurate geographical information would have meant surveyors could download this information from Landonline directly into their electronic instruments, whereas now they will for the time being have to carry on picking up this information by interpreting a plan obtained online.

As Landonline progresses to its second phase, known as CRS2 – allowing direct electronic input of information by surveyors, lawyers and others – the surveyors would have been able to “pre-validate” their readings online against survey-accurate Landonline data and avoid sending erroneous plans to Linz. At present, almost 50% of the plans Linz receives have at least one error, and this will continue to be the case pending production of the survey-accurate data.

But there will be “no delay” in the completion of either the first stage CRS1 or CRS2, Ballard says. The Landonline project has been troubled by delays and cost overruns prompting National MP Bill English to draw parallels with the failed Police Incis computer project.

Terralink went into receivership early yesterday, and made 80 of its employees redundant. Ballard expects that the company will enter negotiations with EDS over the future disposition of the conversion work. The situation could be resolved “within months, if not weeks”, he says.

Would the reduction in benefit make the system harder to sell to surveyors? Ballard notes that there has been a large degree of acceptance of the Landonline system among Otago surveyors already, without the converted survey information being available.

Barry Davidson, national manager of the NZ Institute of Surveyors said today that the Institute is "still assessing the situation."

EDS managing director Robert Gray says EDS (New Zealand) "has entered into discussions with Terralink's receivers.

"Because these discussions are still proceeding, I cannot make any further public comment at this stage," he said today.

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