History

The source of surveying was found even in the Middle Ages. In the State archives from that time the land plans and separate land registration materials are found. The oldest surveying materials used in the current Land Reform are dated with the middle of 19th century, when Latvian farmers in large quantities have got the land in property. First State surveying authority of Latvia was founded in July 1919 - Surveying and Land Amelioration Division at the Ministry of Agriculture, and it had employed 13 surveyors. In 1920 independent Surveying Division with 166 employees has was formed, but in 1922 the number of employees increased till 483.

The Society of Surveyors of Latvia was founded in 1920 and it was involved in the realisation of the Land Reform. It became a scientific- technical organisation. The Society actively collaborated with specialists from abroad and in 1926 it became a member of International Union of Surveyors.

As the result of surveyors' work the Agrarian Reform was implemented till 1940 (1920-1937); the State trigonometric net was made (1938-1940) and development of the Land Cadastre started (1931-1940).

Society of Surveyors of Latvia started again its activities in 1988, but on February 15, 1993 it was renewed in the International Surveyors Union.

After regaining of Latvia's independence, one of the most important problems was use and protection of the land as a national resource. The Supreme Council adopted decision "On Agrarian Reform in the Republic of Latvia" on June 13, 1990, which provided for granting of the rural land to natural and legal persons and following restitution of the land ownership rights or delivering it in the property to natural or legal persons. The Supreme Council adopted the law "On Land Reform in Rural Areas of the Republic of Latvia" on November 21, 1990, but the law "On Land Reform in the Cities of the Republic of Latvia" on November 20, 1991.

As experience of the first years of the Land Reform demonstrated, existing institutions and organisations had difficulties with the first tasks of the Reform in rural areas, but in the cities the work was not begun at all. The reason was the different dependence of the separate related organisations and institutions, the lack of co-ordination, not arranged accumulation and use of the land matter's information.

The Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia adopted the law "On State Land Service" on December 15, 1992. The SLS was formed by consolidation of the Department of Land Use Planning of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Department of Geodesy and Cartography of the Ministry of Defence, number of enterprises linked with this branch and the Land use planning structure in Municipalities. Guntis Grūbe was nominated as a Director General of the SLS on January 5, 1993. The SLS is subordinated to the Cabinet of Ministers and works under supervision of the Ministry of Justice.

The structure of the SLS was developed on the base of regional divisions where the work on Land Reform realisation was implemented. Three centres were made for methodical and organisational ensuring - the National Surveying Centre, the Real Estate Valuation Centre and the Land Cadastre Centre.

The reorganisation of the SLS was done in 1999. Instead of 28 district offices of the SLS 8 Regional Offices were made. The former Centres were included in the Central SLS, making up 6 boards, which perform not only methodical leadership, but also responsible for work organisation and results in all levels of the SLS. On the base of regional divisions the Regional Offices were made, which process and update data, directly work with clients, maintain contacts with Municipalities and the Local State Administration Institutions.

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