Qubec: Click Here for a Claim
Using leading-edge information technology, the Qubec government has been operating a fully-functional electronic land management system since October 2001. The GESTIM (Gestion des titres minirs) system has already achieved what most Internet commercial systems only dream of: it became debt-free last year, in its second year of operation, earning a total of $4.6 million between October 2001 and March 2004.
How do you do that? You give the people what they want, and they will be willing to pay for it. In June, the chef de service of GESTIM, Roch Gaudreau, and geomatics analyst Ian O’Gallagher, told CMJ about how the system is improving.
GESTIM was conceived and built between 1995 and 2001, and further evolved in 2002, at a total cost of $2.9 million. More than $1 million has been spent in the last two years to add new functionality and services. “It is important to be in touch with the needs of the clientele,” says Gaudreau, “so we have put together a special committee from industry to tell us how to improve our system: GESTIM.”
The system is real-time, user-friendly, fast and powerful. Clients can obtain mineral titles maps, public mineral rights and other types of maps over the Internet. They can stake claims via Internet (the map designate system), and can pay their fees using e-commerce.
The consultation module introduced last November is easier to navigate and has better mapping tools. It is used to create a customized map using many types of information available as layers of the map; queries can be saved for future reference. Another upgrade is the self-management of mineral titles, with online renewal of claims and land manager delegation.
New features that were added to the system this summer include the ability to prepare and book a map designate session ahead of time (an edge if a claim is coming open), and the addition of a geoscientific display using more data from Qubec’s digital mining information system Sigom, such as magnetic maps (total field and vertical gradient) and assessment reports.
Map designation is not only faster and easier than conventional ground staking, it also saves money by a factor of 10. Whereas it costs about $300 to $600 to conventionally stake a 16-ha claim (including the fee plus paying the field crew), using map designation costs on average $84 to $105 (just the fee) to stake a new map cell (45-60 ha, depending on the latitude).
Not surprisingly, GESTIM is gaining in popularity. In fact, this is the first year in which the majority of staking was done via the Internet; in the first quarter of 2004, 75% of claims were staked using map designation compared with 32% in 2002. GESTIM contributed to an increase in the area covered by mining titles of up to 5.2% compared with 3.3% before map designation.
Such a system is valuable to both the users and the sponsoring government, a fact that has not been lost on others. In fact, the ministry concluded an agreement with the Brazilian government in July, 2004, concerning a mutual transfer of technical and legal expertise.