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BUPi – Digital Land Registry

BUPi, is a one-stop shop, developed to integrate different sources of information about property ownership and land management, gathering knowledge on the, until now, unknown land areas and sharing this knowledge with several government agencies in order to create economic and social value for citizens and for the country. BUPi ensures a simple and digital solution that citizens can use to identify and geo-reference their properties, according to the once-only principle.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Government agencies with responsibilities in territory management maintain their own separate systems, with data only concerning their area of intervention. The dataset is limited, since it doesn’t cover the entire country and it is, sometimes, outdated. This means that there isn’t any system that allows a complete overview of the Portuguese Territory. Traditionally, land cadastre was created and maintained by physically going to the location of the plot with its owner or representative and performing an extensive identification of the property limits. This is a cumbersome, costly process, which, after a long time, resulted in an incomplete (and outdated) coverage of the land, as consequence of this process not being fast enough to keep up with the ever-increasing rate of land business exchanges. Additionally, land management and ownership recognition involve complex business processes, with diverse dimensions, each covered by different government agencies. This means that, depending on which business process the citizen needs to execute, he or she must interact with one or more of these Government agencies. BUPi brings a new approach to land identification and the georeferentiation process, as a platform wherein citizens can proactively identify their own properties, marking them on top of official mapping information, supported by data and tools for faster location recognition, and was implemented as follows:

  • Interoperability with multiple Government agencies, integrating various datasets as layers in the mapping system used for identification of location and shape of the property
  • Process engineering and implementation for different business purposes, online or in one of the counters in the municipalities, with the support of technicians working via a dedicated backoffice access
  • Interoperability with private agencies, who can officially support the citizens on their properties’ identification and information collection, providing them access from their own system to BUPi
  • Direct access of registry officials to a dedicated backoffice
  • Availability of a set of dashboards, with information critical for performance tracking of the main goals and employee awareness.
  • Calculation of land coverage metrics for transparent sharing of the project’s performance and better identification of data gaps.

To decrease the time needed for completion of each of these registry inputs in the platform, thus increasing the land knowledge growth rate, several approaches were followed:

  • Integration of different datasets, in separate layers of the map
  • Development of an algorithm that, using data from BUPi’s own processes, tries to estimate the most probable location of the property targeted for identification
  • Availability of suggested polygons for the different properties, generated by processing of official 1:10000 Cartography.
  • BUPi platform runs in the Cloud, to support faster development cycles, reduce costs and become more flexible to adapt to different demands/requirements.

The pivotal player is the citizen, as he or she:

  • Will have their properties correctly identified and protected
  • Will gradually have to handle only one identification number (NIP), per property, instead of the currently minimum of two different numbers
  • Will gradually have all information regarding the property lifecycle.

Different government agencies will benefit as follows:

  • Have their databases correct and up-to-date
  • Will have access to data from other agencies, enabling the possibility of business optimization and creating new business models
  • Improvements on the agencies’ own data by reducing uncertainty when cross-analysing it against new datasets
  • Improvement of in-person service to the population by implementation of more agile processes.

It benefits different Civil Organizations, as private companies, Universities, and the civil population, by:

  • Being served by better, faster processes
  • Accessing richer, useful information regarding the different properties
  • New business development opportunities.

Next phases will allow more data exchange between Public and Private sector, with increased integration over time. In a second stage, BUPi will work as an interoperability platform. This platform will

  • Be API based
  • Allow bidirectional data exchange between BUPi and other Public Entities
  • Allow bidirectional data exchange between different Public Entities, via BUPi
  • Provide richer data information to the citizen, related to any Land registry related process
  • Provide transparent information on any ongoing process.

In a third stage, BUPi will process the available data, generating new, richer, more useful sets of data, to be accessed by any entity on a tier-based approach.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

BUPi is making a difference by questioning old, heavy processes and re-thinking them in an integrated way. It is changing the way different entities work, breaking barriers, creating the basis for implementation of proper end-to-end data processes orchestration. Property life cycle management is covered mainly by three Government agencies. Although most business processes are internal, related to own competencies, there are hundreds of business processes that require interaction and data exchange, between these agencies. All these data flows are manually driven and, in most cases, require paper documents exchanged between the agencies. This yields huge workloads, manual data input in several systems and a long paper-trail, difficult to track. All these activities are slow, error-prone and sometimes impossible to execute in time. The costs are great, whether financial or other, less tangible and hard to quantify.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

  1. State Department of Justice, the Tax Authority , Registry Authority (IRN), and Territory General Directorate (DGT)
  2. Different Companies brought technical understanding, knowledge on technology trends and experience in process reengineering.
  3. Citizens and Technicians, via interview of organized focus groups, that brought real cases knowledge, aches and other feedback, improving the overall implemented processes and user experience

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

BUPi supports: citizens, qualified technicians and managers from different Municipalities, Land Registry officers and system administrators. Citizens - can create property identification processes, or go the municipalities facilities and be attended by a qualified technician. Qualified technicians (over 800) can access a dashboard with KPIs critical for their activities. Other Public Agencies/Entities, benefit with harmonized and updated data.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

We have been able to swiftly gain momentum in knowing the Portuguese territory, and to begin the integration of many public and private organizations in our interoperability platform. BUPi functions not as a centralized repository of the information already existing within the partner entities, but as an interoperability platform through which the information can flow according to the pre-defined business rules. The project’s partners can make use of this newly available information and, in turn, incorporate it in their business processes, allowing the innovation brought up by BUPi to propagate as an impactful digital transformation in these organizations. While still in its infancy, we know our partners, whether public or private, are already preparing for their own simplification revolution, which wouldn’t be possible without the information sharing paradigm allowed by BUPi.

Challenges and Failures

It has been challenging to get all stakeholders onboard. As per the old paradigm, the entities’ own information represents power. It has been a challenge to make all stakeholders understand the advantages and opportunities of collaboration. Being a political project, there was the need to produce and communicate results faster than they could be achieved, which became a source of internal pressure and an incentive to compromising quality. We evolved a stronger stakeholder engagement and management set of processes that allowed to increase anticipation of such requests and stabilize the backlog, increasing our workflow and throughput. Finally, the legislation that the project inherited hindered BUPI’s innovation potential. Processes were hence adopted that could capture the innovation ideated and proposed a new iteration of the law that could allow BUPi to innovate according to its new terms and gave enough elasticity to accommodate further future innovation initiatives.

Conditions for Success

In order to achieve adequate supporting infrastructure and services, BUPi because the first platform providing public services to migrate to the Cloud in Portugal. The project was hosted within the Ministry of Justice’s infrastructure, which could not expand to the level required with the agility needed by the expansion of the project to the national scope. Originally supported by a pilot project’s legislation, as soon as the first proof of concept gave positive results and was proved a successful approach, a new law was issued allowing for BUPi to grow beyond its scope. Our leadership has worked to create a culture similar to a start-up company, uncommon within the Portuguese public administration, in which our team members are informal, agile in making decisions, with a decentralized authority structure, and a shared purpose driving a committed team.


A similar concept, but at a smaller scale has independently come to life in another public institute, AGIF, which seeks to increase the protection of people, their assets and reduce the impact of rural fires. This concept of integration and interoperability platform between different organizations can be used in different sectors to promote collaboration, sharing and open-source movements. Other countries in Europe and other continents have similar problems and BUPi’s solution can be successfully replicated, enabling a simplified cadastral registration built upon digital services, once only principle and data driven decisions.

Lessons Learned

We have learned that implementing an innovative project based on collaboration and information sharing, involving several different and highly conservative organizations, is quite challenging, and will invariably find opposition from the established paradigm. However, after the implementation, and after the benefits become clear and begin materializing, the concept gains credibility and allows for several, both expected and unexpected, opportunities for digitally revolutionize the processes, resulting in a better service for citizens, users and stakeholders.

Anything Else?

The project is implementing a transversal policy of innovation based on the use of LiDAR technology, new deductive algorithms, and the implementation of emerging technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and, in the future, exploration of the metaverse. BUPi is also analyzing and promoting new business models that may be put into place, with the objective of increasing the economic value generated to the land owners.

Supporting Videos

Year: 2020
Level of Government: National/Federal government


  • Implementation - making the innovation happen
  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

Innovation provided by:

Date Published:

27 November 2023

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