The Parcel Data Model - The Ownership Types

Last week we looked at the Parcel Data Model, a comprehensive way to store and manage information about Land Records that divides the layers of data, or "Types" into two distinct classes: those types that define how the lands are "partitioned or divided" and those types that define the various forms of land "ownership".  Let's continue our review by exploring the Ownership types.

The Ownership "Bundle of Rights"

The Ownership "Bundle of Rights"

Ownership Types

The remaining polygon types within the Parcel Data Model cover the various ways in which land can be owned. The following discussion is not intended to be a treatise on land ownership in the United States, but a generalized discussion of how these ownerships are stored with the Parcel Data Model.

Ownership interests within the United States are not a single right, but are often referred to as a "Bundle of Rights." As such, one can possess a a majority of the rights (this is often referred to as "fee simple ownership", or a single temporary or permanent right.

Type 7 - Right to Pay Taxes - Tax Parcels

The first ownership type stored in the Parcel Data Model is intended to store and manage information about the "right to pay taxes". This is the polygon type most often mapped and maintained by Property Appraisers (Assessors) offices through the country. One general misconception by the general public equates these parcels to "ownership" of the parcels, without realizing these polygons represent the tax obligation, or those properties on which ad valorum taxes are paid and may not represent true ownership.  This is especially true where there are long term lease interests that contractually have been obligated to pay the taxes on this lands under lease (think shopping malls, etc.)

Type 8 - Fee Simple Ownership - Ownership Parcels

The second ownership type, and the eighth polygon type in the Parcel Data Model is intended to store and manage Fee Simple Ownership. Specifically, this is often used to map and maintain surface rights and neither subsurface rights such as minerals or gas nor air space rights. While most agencies at the moment do not maintain information on these ownerships, I envision a time when it will become increasingly important.

Type 9 - Less than Fee Simple Ownership - Encumbrances

The next ownership type is that of Encumbrances. Black's Law defines encumbrances as the right of use over the property by another. In this sense, any use of the property by anyone other than the fee simple landowner can be considered an encumbrance. Encumbrances are often limitations of the use of the land by the fee simple owner. Various types of encumbrances include: rights of way or road easements, drainage or flowage easements, conservation easements, fishing easements, grazing rights or utility easements.

Type 10 - Separated Rights

The next ownership type is that of Separated Rights. As noted in the Cadastral Data Content Standard for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure: separated rights are rights and interests in land ownership that can be disconnected from the primary or fee simple surface ownership.  For example, mineral and oil rights are often separated from the surface ownership.

Type 11 - Other Rights

The final polygon type is intended to cover those other ownership interests that do not fit into any of the other polygon types.


Over the past two blog posts we have examined the various polygon "Types" in the Parcel Data Model used by the ArcGIS Parcel Editing Solution (formerly referred to as the Parcel Fabric.) I hope this helps you understand the manner in which the Parcel Data Model is used.