The provincial property mapping system estimates the size, shape and location of the more than 540,000 parcels of land in the province. This digital property mapping system was developed to create an electronic index for each parcel of land in the province through a unique parcel identification number (PID). The PID links land ownership facts, municipal tax and land use information, and other land-related data to the graphical image of the parcel to create a comprehensive file on each parcel of land. This information is accessible to citizens at Registries of Deeds and Land Registration Offices across the province. It is also available over the Internet to subscribers of Property Online, the government's online property information service.
History of provincial property mapping
From the early 1970s to the late 1990s, the Nova Scotia government contracted local surveyors and title researchers to create an initial map of all parcels of land in the province. Property maps were prepared from the information gathered by these surveyors and researchers. Parcels were identified using the best information available, such as surveys, deed descriptions, assessment maps, field evidence and air photos. Once the property mapping for Nova Scotia was completed, it was digitized so it could be accessed over the Internet, using Property Online.
How accurate is provincial mapping?
Provincial mapping information is not 100 per cent accurate and cannot be relied on for legal purposes. Care has been taken to ensure the best possible quality of mapping; however, the electronic maps are not land surveys and are not intended to be used for legal descriptions or to calculate exact dimensions or area. Only a licensed surveyor can survey land in Nova Scotia.
How does the mapping become more accurate?
The provincial property mapping contained in Property Online improves with age and use. As more real estate transactions take place, staff enhance the mapping using any new information submitted. The most accurate mapping and ownership information available in the province is in areas where the most development and ownership transfers have taken place. The least accurate mapping information is in areas where there has not been a great deal of real estate activity during the past 30 years.
How is provincial mapping changed?
Survey plans and approved subdivision plans filed at Registries of Deeds and the Land Registration Offices are the main sources of information for changes to the size, shape and location of parcels mapped in Property Online. Property owners and other users of Property Online also provide valuable feedback about the accuracy of the mapping, which is an important element in the ongoing maintenance and improvement of the mapping database.
Mapping and the new land registration system
Before a parcel of land can be registered in the new land registration system, the owner (with the assistance of a lawyer or surveyor) must review the provincial property mapping to identify the exact parcel being registered. The PID and the legal description for the parcel are submitted electronically to the Land Registration Office. Staff then certify the match between the provincial mapping and the legal description and update the mapping as required. Any updates are visible immediately in Property Online.
Want to know more?