LIS were founded in the 70s by geodesists and are basically one of the origin of today's GIS. As a rule, their goal is the exact and up-to-date geometric verification of the property and/or topography of the Earth's surface as well as the associated factual data. The depth of detail of LIS can be subdivided - also for historical reasons - into the proof of ownership of land and estates in the scale range 1:500 to 1:10,000 and the topographical conditions in the scale range 1:5,000 to 1:1,000,000.
In Germany, a particularly good basis is available on a large scale in the form of the official real estate cadastre. Based on the legal mandate of the land register regulations, it provides up-to-date information on land and property in the form of parcels and buildings and their actual use, covering all areas of Germany and on an ongoing basis. Today it is combined in the ALKIS system in a uniform and consistent spatial reference system (in Germany the ETRS89/UTM coordinate reference system). In the medium and small scale range, the topographic map series, today ATKIS, have developed from the maps of the 19th century, which were originally often used for military purposes.
With the emerging demand for basic geodata (cf. Chapter 9 in Bill, 2016) for purposes other than proof of ownership and topography, both ALKIS and ATKIS have developed into basic geospatial information systems that provide data for almost all other types of GIS to be mentioned, be it merely as background information for orientation or as a supplementary data basis for specialised analyses. Since then, the former surveying administrations have increasingly understood themselves as suppliers of basic geospatial information, which is also reflected in their names.
These data are collected and updated by the responsible surveying authorities (land registry offices, publicly appointed survey engineers, state surveying authorities) and - unless data protection aspects conflict with them - are increasingly made available for inspection free of charge and made available to those entitled to set up their own specialist geoinformation systems for a fee. Inspection and data provision increasingly take place via geoservices.