Real Estate

A solution to the high cost of oblique imaging GIS systems

There is a powerful tool in the arsenal of disaster mitigation systems (including prevention): the Graphical Information System (GIS) that includes oblique images. With this tool, it is possible to look at cities and rural areas as if you were Superman, with the ability to quickly fly around large areas of land and buildings, and with a vision that allows you to quickly perceive it from all angles. Ways into and out of buildings and areas can be quickly identified, even if visibility is poor due to smoke.

Oblique imagery GIS systems allow you to minimize the impact of an impending disaster, respond quickly to an ongoing disaster, and remediate damage more quickly. There are two important issues: (1) Like all computer systems, the output is only as good as the data entered into the system; and (2) oblique imagery GIS systems cost a small fortune to implement and maintain.

One solution to both of these problems is to use what I call an “Advisor Enabled Graphical Information System.”

Solution to problem 1: Provide rich data

Appraisers are elected government officials who appraise (advise) property in order to value and tax it fairly and equitably. The information provided by consultants provides a solid foundation for GIS systems. The wealth of data provided by assessors makes information provided by other sources such as transportation departments, universities, land management organizations, public safety departments, “vital data” (water, electricity, sewer) and hazardous waste control agencies more valuable.

Here, for example, there are two types of data that evaluators have access to as a normal part of their work:

  • Basic Information – such as parcel boundaries, property ownership, are easily provided by the Assessor’s office.
  • location data – Assessors have intimate knowledge of the location of police, fire, ambulance, military installations, community centers, churches, garages, grocery stores, gas stations, storage sites, hotels, and earthmoving equipment. Appraisers also have detailed information about “business personal property” at each location.

Solution to problem 2: Oblique imagery GIS systems are expensive

The fact is that you can’t effectively reduce the costs of these systems, but advisor-enabled GIS systems can be more affordable than standard systems for these reasons.

  • The fact that they can be implemented over a wide area, such as a region, state, or province, often qualifies them for grants from national governments. The United States and Canada have made available tens of millions of dollars in funds.
  • Private companies may be willing to partner in developing such a system, because it will cost them much less than developing it on their own.
  • GIS systems can save assessors and auditors substantial amounts of time, reducing the cost of complying with existing regulations.
  • GIS systems can identify properties that were not previously taxed, equalizing the tax burden for property owners in an area and generating additional revenue for counties, states, and other government units.

If your organization is interested in the benefits of GIS, you may want to contact your local Assessor or the agency that coordinates Assessors in your area, usually a Department of Taxation or Department of Revenue.

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