Available at www.maaamet.ee, the national registry of real property is, according to some, the next step toward "e-stonia," a paperless and digital model of the state adored by the present government.
The system, named MIS (Maainfosusteem or land info system), is based on map data, meaning that any registered person can access public information about a piece of real estate through a user-friendly Web interface or a mobile phone with WAP support.
The point is to decrease calls, letters and visits to the Land Board to get information.
Updated once a day, the database uses geographic maps and special maps showing the borders of a plot and its cadastre code. Ortomaps spice up the database with exact photos of the location taken from an airplane several hundred meters above.
Unfortunately, no English version is available. And information taken from the website does not yet have any legal force.
Kalle Arula, an information technology specialist with the Land Board, said it will be impossible to make the online cadastre legally valid until the digital signature is Estonia. According to the Ministry of Transport and Communications, all ministries and other state departments should have been digital signature-ready this June.
Arula said the database will later offer a chance to register real estate property online by entering necessary data on the owner and merely drawing the borders of your land right on the Internet.
"With the help of MIS a person can avoid fraud by checking the land he or she is going to deal with online," added Arula.
Urmas Kolli, the president of Datel, said the project was challenging. "We spent over 50 man-years on the project," he said emphatically.
He added that there is no similar system anywhere abroad, but that several countries are devising one. But he said Estonia's advantage was that it had a chance to learn from others' mistakes.
"In Germany comparable systems have been studied and developed from the 1960s, but we didn't have to pass that stage ourselves," he said.
Estonian IT guru Linnar Viik said the project is another phase of creating a single state database instead of the many databases used currently in each department.
"If I have said once, for example, that I live at a certain address and have a certain car, I won't have to say it again when filling out forms in various ministries," he explained.
Commenting on the future of Estonia's public online databases, Viik said that only Tallinn and Tartu can afford having large projects like MIS, and that remote areas may have to hook onto to systems serving larger cities.
Kalev Kangur, the head of the Land Board, promised that the state has guaranteed the correctness of all data located at maaamet.ee.