Recently, representatives from 39-Degrees North (39DN), Bloomington, provided free training sessions at the Clay County Courthouse.
The sessions were for the public and provided instruction on the various tools included in the eGIS mapping system.
"The program is very user-friendly," 39DN Regional Director of Sales Jeff Dossett said. "One big feature of the site is the dynamic help button, which directly takes the user to tutorials and explanations on each tool they want to learn how to use."
Dossett said the mapping for Clay County went live online Thursday morning, while Client Interaction Manager Denise Stuckey said the county is also the first to use this version of the interface, which is now being utilized by the company.
"The big advantage of the mapping is that taxpayers can now view the mapping information, along with other details like property tax information, right from their homes instead of having to come to the courthouse," Dossett said.
Along with viewing the property plat lines, users may also switch to the aerial map, which is from 2005 and will be updated in the next year or two by the state, as well as the Google Maps street view of the location.
"There are also multiple ways to search for a property, including the owner name, address, parcel number and more," Dossett said. "In addition, the property card and tax bill information is also available, along with the ability to select various layers, including schools, subdivisions and voter precincts."
He added there is a feature allowing users to view recent sales of property, which he said could come in handy for real estate and appraisal companies when comparing similar parcels during the home-buying process.
Stuckey said the drawing tool also has numerous features the users would find handy as well.
"For example, say you want to build something on your property, there are drawing tools available for you to sketch out the size you would like it to see how well it would fit," she said. "At the same time, there is also a tool to draw around a like or other item on the property to see how much room it occupies. Plus, you could measure the distance in feet or miles and also find the total area occupied by a building or other object."
According to Stuckey, other counties using the older version of the software have utilized the drawing tools to map out the path of a tornado to determine exactly which properties were in the patch.
"With the ability to bring up the property owner's name, it allowed them to compile a list of affected homeowners for submittal to a disaster recovery agency much quicker," Stuckey said. "In that situation, the properties could all be selected and mailing labels could also be created, and all of these are features included in Clay County's version as well."
Another search tool available in the mapping is the ability to search for properties based on intersecting streets, if the exact address on the property sought could not be remembered.
Stuckey added with a new version being created, there are a few bugs still needing to be worked out, but the company, which was created in 2004, has someone on the clock all day, every day, to improve the software.
"One of the things we would like to add is tax bill information from previous years, as we only have information from this tax year," Stuckey said. "However, that's where the advantage of our 'Feedback' button kicks in as the public, along with governmental officials can notify us of an issue or request that we can look into and add to the site or rectify quickly."
She said property details are updated on a nightly basis from new information entered by various county offices and 39DN would also be adding sketches of properties to the property cards on the site.
39DN is currently working with 17 counties within Indiana and also works with the federal government and military services as well.
"This is really a great site with a wealth of information for the public," Dossett said.