6
Vision and Model

Based on the information gathered for this study, the committee believes that a national approach is necessary to provide a rational and accountable system of property records. These national land parcel data would be truly multipurpose. They would support law enforcement needs, improve disaster planning and response efforts, facilitate real estate transactions, promote equitable property taxation, assist in the identification of fraudulent insurance claims and real estate appraisals, and help in a host of other administrative and business activities.

The committee has developed a vision and model for a national land parcel data program. The vision is a distributed system of land parcel data housed with the appropriate data stewards but accessible through a web-based interface. It would have a minimum set of attributes, and the development and integration of national data would be overseen by a national coordinator, working with coordinators for federal lands, Indian lands, and each state. These data would serve as the cadastral data layer of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). This model is based on an assessment of user needs and an analysis of the requirements to make such a model successful. This model combines modern geographic information systems capabilities, sound database management practices, existing Internet capabilities, and pooled financing with a shared organizational structure. The system that the committee envisions is based on ample evidence that large-scale parcel data systems are technically feasible and affordable. The committee was guided by the following principles as it developed the details of the proposed model:

  • The parcel data will continue to be controlled and maintained locally. Communities will accurately locate, uniquely number, and assign a street address, if one exists, to each parcel.

  • Only a minimum set of attributes will be available on a state and national level in order to minimize privacy concerns and keep the scope reasonable. The unique parcel identification number would be used to link to other data that the community may make available.

  • The system will operate in the public domain under the existing federal policy (Office of Management and Budget [OMB] Circular A-130). There will be no limitations on the use of the national parcel data.



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National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future 6 Vision and Model Based on the information gathered for this study, the committee believes that a national approach is necessary to provide a rational and accountable system of property records. These national land parcel data would be truly multipurpose. They would support law enforcement needs, improve disaster planning and response efforts, facilitate real estate transactions, promote equitable property taxation, assist in the identification of fraudulent insurance claims and real estate appraisals, and help in a host of other administrative and business activities. The committee has developed a vision and model for a national land parcel data program. The vision is a distributed system of land parcel data housed with the appropriate data stewards but accessible through a web-based interface. It would have a minimum set of attributes, and the development and integration of national data would be overseen by a national coordinator, working with coordinators for federal lands, Indian lands, and each state. These data would serve as the cadastral data layer of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). This model is based on an assessment of user needs and an analysis of the requirements to make such a model successful. This model combines modern geographic information systems capabilities, sound database management practices, existing Internet capabilities, and pooled financing with a shared organizational structure. The system that the committee envisions is based on ample evidence that large-scale parcel data systems are technically feasible and affordable. The committee was guided by the following principles as it developed the details of the proposed model: The parcel data will continue to be controlled and maintained locally. Communities will accurately locate, uniquely number, and assign a street address, if one exists, to each parcel. Only a minimum set of attributes will be available on a state and national level in order to minimize privacy concerns and keep the scope reasonable. The unique parcel identification number would be used to link to other data that the community may make available. The system will operate in the public domain under the existing federal policy (Office of Management and Budget [OMB] Circular A-130). There will be no limitations on the use of the national parcel data.

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National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future The committee is not proposing a centrally maintained database. The vision is a federation of systems, all of which serve as conduits for data aggregated “virtually” at state and national levels. State and federal coordinators will set and enforce standards, provide technical assistance, reconcile boundaries, coordinate and distribute funds, and act as aggregators and delivery mechanisms. They will maintain data on state and federally managed lands. The federal government should assist with the costs of initial conversions as well as the incremental costs of standardization and distribution. However, ultimately, the program should follow a collaborative model and be supported by all parcel producers and users. Development of nationally integrated land parcel data will be an ongoing process. Single points may be used to represent some parcels in the initial phases, to be replaced by polygon representations as they become available. Boundaries will be reconciled and accuracy improved as time goes on. Once established, the parcel system would provide an unambiguous set of land parcel data that completely cover the United States. When attached to appropriate attributes, these parcel data would provide a clear basis for all decisions relating to land ownership and use. A by-product of this approach would be a system of accurate, current, and unambiguous geographic coordinates for all street addresses in the United States. As in many developed nations, the local government parcel database would be the definitive source for all street addresses. These geographic representations of street addresses would form the basis of a consistent emergency 911 (E911) system, as well as robust location-based services. No matter what service one used—an E911 dispatch program, a web-based map, or a vehicle navigation system—a street address would be associated with the same location on the earth. Therefore, the national parcel system would support the needs of the postal service and the Bureau of the Census as well as the average citizen and entrepreneur. The committee believes that this system could become a widely adopted and highly valued resource. Over time, various stakeholders could form an authoritative chain of transactions that would keep the system current, so that the information is timely enough to be valuable to the consumer market. 6.1 MODEL FOR FEDERATED COORDINATION It is not feasible for a single entity to interact with the large number of counties, municipalities, regional bodies, school districts, and special districts in the United States that produce parcel data. Therefore, an intergovernmental framework involving local, state, and federal agencies would have to be established and promoted in order to develop nationally integrated land parcel data. In their article about local government data sharing, Harvey and Tulloch (2006, p. 764) characterize this type of arrangement as a “Federation by Mandate” in which … an agency (or group of agencies) is given special authority with regard to data production and sharing. An example would be a regional planning agency that is designated by the state as the official producer of specific data layers. Their authority may extend to requiring other jurisdictions to submit data to be incorporated into the official dataset. Unlike the hub-and-spoke model, this would be a more complex network, in which many of the participants are major data producers. The mandated participation creates a significant opportunity for consistent data across a jurisdictionally complex landscape. The federation by mandate has a high reliability over time, wherein participants can generally count on the availability of the same data under roughly the same terms year after year across a fairly wide area. Need for a Multipurpose Cadastre (NRC, 1980) recognized that organizational and institutional issues would be the major barriers to implementation of a national system of land parcel data.

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National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future Therefore, in order to address these concerns, the current committee carefully analyzed the logical flow of parcel data in a nationwide federated model (Figure 6.1). This model provides the core of the committee’s vision of how a unified and nonredundant parcel system would operate. It recognizes that parcel data are created and maintained by several public entities. Each of these organizations has a recognized legal mandate to produce parcel data and a set of related attributes. For example, local governments produce parcel data to support the administration of property taxes while other levels of government need an accurate representation of their interests and rights relating to property they own or manage. While private firms involved in real estate and insurance may produce parcel data for their own internal business needs, these data are not considered part of a national system. In fact, one of the goals of the national system would be to encourage private firms to utilize and financially support the public sector parcel data system. The model identifies an important role for parcel data coordinators at the state and federal government levels and a coordinator to deal with the special needs associated with Indian lands. These coordinators would assemble and reconcile parcel data from the relevant parcel data producers. For example, a state coordinator would deal with edge-matching parcel boundaries along county boundaries and inserting and reconciling state-owned lands with privately owned land. In fact, several states already have such coordination offices. The federal land parcel coordinator would specifically deal with inventorying and managing the geographical representation of all property managed by the federal government. The Indian lands coordinator would work with tribal governments, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Office of the Special Trustee to reconcile the parcel data for tribal and Native lands. This position will be particularly tasking because it will often require determining which of the above organizations’ data to use, since there is a great amount of duplication and variation between organizations. There is also a need for a national land parcel coordinator, who would have the ultimate responsibility of creating wall-to-wall coverage of land parcel data across the United States. The national coordinator would be the conduit for a diverse user community to access a trusted and authoritative representation of all land parcels. Technically, all adjustments to parcel data made by coordinators at any level would be maintained with appropriate digital time stamps that FIGURE 6.1 Flow of parcel data from producers to a national system. NOTE: BIA = Bureau of Indian Affairs; GSA = General Services Administration.

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National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future would enable parcel data producers to synchronize their data with any changes. It is also understood that parcel data producers are likely to have a set of parcel data that is used for internal operations and decision making and another set that is periodically published for distribution. As a mandated intergovernmental federation the producers and coordinators would operate under an established set of standards and practices such as those that have been established by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Subcommittee for Cadastral Data.1 6.1.1 Local Government Responsibilities In this model the county or equivalent unit of government would be the primary producer and manager of parcel data within a county or equivalent jurisdiction. It is acknowledged that these representations are not legal definitions of the parcel ownership information. Typically, the county government would coordinate with other jurisdictions in the county to ensure that there are no redundant or overlapping parcel production programs. The local agency would be responsible for continuously creating and maintaining a comprehensive seamless set of land parcel data that are integrated from all public and private lands. Each county would be the ultimate point of contact for any modifications to the parcel fabric. It would reconcile the graphic representation of all parcel boundaries within its jurisdiction. It would also create and maintain a parcel-based jurisdictional area file that accurately represents incorporated and unincorporated areas, with metadata for published data sets. The local stewards may build the parcel data with any tools or methods they desire and may collect any set of attributes that are required for their local business and regulatory functions. Local governments in areas without existing digital data would receive assistance in the form of grants and training to equip them with skills that would enable them to maintain a digital representation of at least a point-level feature for each parcel on an annual basis and assign it a unique parcel identification number and a street address, if one exists. On an annual basis, or more frequently if desired, the county would provide the state integrator with parcel boundaries, attributes, and jurisdictional boundaries conforming to the format and quality standards established by the coordinators. 6.1.2 State Government Responsibilities The state government coordinators would serve the parcel business needs at a state level. This would include functions such as property tax revenue, law enforcement, transportation planning, and emergency preparedness and response. At a minimum, the state would assemble a comprehensive set of parcel data on at least an annual basis. It would produce and maintain parcel data for counties that are not financially or technically able to handle such a program. It would provide Internet-based services for those counties that cannot afford or prefer not to maintain such a system. It would maintain a secure archive of the parcel data. It would maintain parcel data for state-owned land and ensure that all state-owned property parcel information is provided to the counties. A state coordinator would enforce standards and reconcile data at boundaries as needed. It would also serve as the authoritative point of contact to the Bureau of the Census for the Boundary and Annexation Survey program. The state would assume the responsibilities for coordination of funding and other cooperative agreements with federal agencies. It would also develop a technology transfer and training program and metrics for assessing progress. 1 These are part of the Framework Data Content Standard, which will soon be approved as an ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard. See http://www.fgdc.gov/standards/news/fdcs-begins-approval [accessed June 14, 2007].

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National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future 6.1.3 Federal Government Responsibilities In the committee’s vision, the federal government would provide two essential services: ensuring (1) that parcel data representing federally managed lands are included in the system (federal land parcel coordinator) and (2) that all other parcel data sources are integrated into a seamless system (national land parcel coordinator). The exact organizational location and responsibilities of these two coordinators would be determined by a review of the current OMB Circular A-16 mandates. The two offices could be co-located in the agency that is determined to have the clearest overall mission for parcel data coordination or they could be in separate agencies. The federal land parcel coordinator would respond to the various mandates for a comprehensive inventory of federal property and develop and maintain parcel data for federal lands. This would require coordinating with all federal agencies that manage land and develop land parcel data. The national coordinator would establish a robust Internet portal for discovery, navigation, download, and mapping of all parcel data on a national basis, including all public and private lands. The portal would ensure that parcel data can be displayed in conjunction with other data such as street centerlines, census geographic areas, imagery, hydrological, and transportation features (e.g., The National Map). The national coordinator would develop a comprehensive business plan to coordinate the development of national data. This would include funding and regulatory activities. The national coordinator would set standards and develop policies and procedures to ensure that there are smoothly functioning lines of communication with the states such as through the Fifty States Initiative. He or she would also coordinate requests for additional parcel attribute data under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Critical Infrastructure Program or as part of the Homeland Security Infrastructure Program Gold geospatial data inventory, which might include assembling snapshots of the parcel data for multijurisdictional areas for specific programs such as hurricane preparedness. Other responsibilities would include developing decision support systems that retrieve the necessary parcel data in near real time from the state and local producers, and evaluating and monitoring the states’ and local governments’ quality of performance and progress in general. 6.1.4 Private Sector Role As described in earlier chapters, the private sector is involved in many aspects of parcel data development. It already provides contractual services to parcel data developers at various levels of government for such things as data conversion or web services. The committee envisions that private industry could play a role in the development of nationally integrated data as well, through contracts for such tasks as completing the initial data, developing the network that accesses updates to the parcel data from the appropriate data stewards, and building a web-based interface for easy and efficient access to the data. As shown in Chapter 4, many companies already exist with the expertise in parcel data that could apply their skill and knowledge to the development of nationally integrated data. Also, since private industry is currently compiling data sets of address points and parcel boundaries, these data sets could be assessed and purchased as needed to complete initial coverage. After that, updates to the data would come from the data steward. Because U.S. data policy as stated in OMB Circular A-130 (OMB, 1996) requires that national data sets be in the public domain, a model in which private industry compiles the data and sells them is not possible. However, private industry would be free to take the national land parcel data, enhance them, and develop value-added products that would fit the business needs of specific sectors, similar to the way in which the Census Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) data set spawned whole new products.

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National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future 6.2 PARCEL DATA MODEL 6.2.1 Geographic Representation It is estimated that the United States covers 3,586,498 square miles, which includes 144.2 million privately owned and 8 million publicly owned land parcels. Each parcel has at least one public or private owner. In this model, each of these parcels would be represented as a closed polygon that approximates its legal boundaries or at least a point in the initial phases. Eventually, as in many developed countries such as Australia there would be a set of mutually exclusive and comprehensive polygon features with geographic coordinates that define every part of the United States. It is estimated that about 70 percent of the parcels are already represented in digital form and that the effort to complete the coverage is technically and economically feasible. In fact, most state governments require local governments to produce tax maps that depict the boundaries of each parcel. Even though these parcel polygons are only a sketch of a legally defined parcel they can fulfill the basic needs for a national system. Once the initial set of parcels has been established, over time further integration can be done to address the more complex accuracy issues, including the absolute accuracy of the boundary data. There are several acceptable procedures for converting existing tax maps into digital parcel data. Furthermore, many communities have utilized legal descriptions and ground survey measurements to produce highly accurate parcel boundaries. For those parts of the country that are not covered by tax maps or definitive descriptions of parcel boundaries it will be acceptable to initially represent a parcel with a single point. These points can be gathered directly on the ground through global positioning system technology, geocoding information from the legal description, or capturing them from geographically registered imagery. Following this approach it would be possible to quickly represent each land parcel in the United States as a polygon or point-level feature that can be associated with an owner or owners. Of course, the long-range goal would be to have complete coverage of nonoverlapping parcels with shared boundaries that are as accurate as possible. 6.2.2 Attributes The benefits of any parcel data system are associated with the information relating to the parcel. While a tax map can provide a graphic depiction of parcel boundaries it does not convey information about the ownership, surface rights, easements, land use, or value of the land. Local governments require this information to build an equitable property tax system and many also use it to support applications relating to land use and emergency response. There are common needs in each community and there are also needs for regional coordination. At the national level the need for sufficient parcel attribute information must be balanced with legitimate concerns about personal privacy and confidentiality. Therefore this national model should be limited to only a basic set of attributes that would support discovery and navigation of relevant parcels. From a functional viewpoint the base set of attributes would enable one to Uniquely identify each parcel in the national database; Link a parcel uniquely back to its source provider; Provide basic information concerning the parcel geometry; Locate its street address; and Identify the owner type. (Note that in cases where parcels do not normally have a street address, such as agricultural or timber lands, address information would not be required, and the address field would be empty or null values.)

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National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future BOX 6.1 Descriptions of Attributes for National Land Parcel Data Metadata—The metadata will contain information about the data such as the data steward, the parcel contact, the date of the data, and other information that would support the use and application of the information (e.g., projection, coordinate system). Parcel Outline (Polygon)—The geographic extent of the parcel, the parcel boundaries forming a closed polygon. Parcel Centroid (Point)—A point within the parcel that can be used to attach related information. This may be a visual centroid or a point within the parcel. It may not be the mathematical centroid because this point needs to be contained within the parcel polygon. Parcel ID—Aunique identifier for the parcel as defined by the data steward or data producer. The parcel identifier should provide a link to additional information about the parcel and should be unique across the data steward’s geographic extent. (Note: To obtain a unique nationwide Parcel ID, the jurisdiction’s Federal Information Processing Standards [FIPS] code could be added to the front of the parcel ID when the source data are posted to the publication site. This can be done transparently so that data producers do not have to worry about changing their parcel numbers. In the case of federally owned parcels, data concerning federal agency code and state FIPS code may be incorporated transparently as well.) Owner Type—The classification of the owner. In some local governments, tax parcels are tagged as either taxable or exempt and the owner classification is not known. In these cases owner types of taxable and exempt may be added to this list: international, tribal, federal, state, county, local or municipal, private, not for profit, other, or unknown. Parcel Street Address—The street address (site address) for the parcel. If there is more than one, select the first or primary site address. (Additional site address may be provided in a related file.) Parcel Area—The area of the parcel expressed in acres. Public Parcel Name—For publicly owned parcels, this is the commonly recognized name of the parcel (e.g., Dad Dunham Park orYellowstone National Park). SOURCE: Descriptions adapted from FGDC Subcommittee for Cadastral Data, 2006a. Therefore, in the committee’s vision, national land parcel data would include the attributes listed in Box 6.1. Descriptions of each element are based on those developed by the FGDC Subcommittee for Cadastral Data.2 Based on a study done by the subcommittee, these are the most commonly needed attributes for a wide range of business needs, with the addition of the parcel address (FGDC Subcommittee for Cadastral Data, 2006a). After much deliberation the present committee has decided that the parcel address was an important addition to the attributes suggested by the Subcommittee for Cadastral Data. It is important to note that these basic attributes do not include information about private property ownership, use, value, or improvements. The base-level parcel data would support map display in relationship to other features such as imagery, administrative boundaries, or transportation features. By reference to the unique parcel identification number and geographic coordinates it would be possible to use database tools to associate these parcels with additional information on a “need-to-know” basis. Additional attributes may be included and shared under DHS’s Critical Infrastructure Program. 2 These attributes are all currently part of the FGDC Cadastral NSDI Data Content Standard.

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National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future 6.2.3 Format and Distribution The national land parcel data system would function as a trusted virtual system of uniquely identified and certified land parcel data. The parcel boundaries would be distributed as simple geographic features in an open standard. The geographic coordinates (e.g., latitude and longitude) would enable the polygons to be displayed in relationship with other features on a national basis. The attributes would be a simple flat file data table that could easily be downloaded. The published version of the parcel data would be updated on at least an annual basis. Access to the parcel polygons and the minimum set of attributes would be in the public domain and conform to federal guidelines under OMB Circular A-130. To address issues relating to privacy and confidentiality, no information will be provided about private ownership, use, or value. At a minimum, local government parcel stewards would provide a published copy of the parcel data and limited attributes to the state coordinator on an annual basis. These data would be considered the official data for the national parcel system. The local agency would be encouraged to establish a dynamic linkage that would provide access to current data. The same local agencies could continue to operate their existing parcel distribution programs in parallel with the national system. There are several examples of similar levels of data sharing between local governments and the Bureau of the Census. It is assumed that existing technology can easily support the exchange of data and operate parallel systems. Where appropriate and necessary the state coordinator could assist the local agencies with various aspects of parcel data conversion and maintenance. In all cases, the state coordinator would serve as a backup for the local stewards. State coordinators would reconcile the boundaries between public and private land parcels. They would also deal with county boundary issues. In a similar manner the national land parcel coordinator would have appropriate linkages to the state coordinators to access the official version of parcel data. The national coordinator would also integrate the parcel data representing federal lands. At a given time, it would be possible to assemble a snapshot of parcel data for any part of the nation. The actual source for delivery of parcel data would be determined by the spatial extent of the request. However, there would always be only one source for the official parcel data. For example, if a local government established a dynamic linkage with the state coordinator, then it would be possible for these data to be accessed through the national parcel portal. In effect this entire data flow process could reflect the situation on the ground, be updated on the basis of transactions, and be transparent to the user. Producer-level metadata would always enable the user to identify the source and the distribution channel. The parcel geometry and minimum attributes could be downloaded and used locally or accessed remotely via a web service. It is assumed that the most dynamic aspects of the system would occur at the local level where new developments result in the subdivision of existing parcels. As a normal local business function, any new parcels would be given a unique identification number and address. They would also be reconciled with the boundaries of any affected parcels. Local parcel stewards could establish their own procedures and practices to determine when these transactions are reflected in the national parcel program. They would only be required to meet the accepted schedule. It is assumed that fewer updates will be required at the state and federal coordination levels. As a standard practice, parcels that include county boundaries have already been identified and resolved for tax and administrative reasons. At the state level these parcels could be flagged for special attention. A critical component of the system would be to develop parcel data for all publicly owned property and tribal lands. It is acknowledged that this will be a challenge. However, it is widely recognized that completing such an inventory is necessary and long overdue. Once completed, these parcel data should become relatively permanent parts of the system. They could easily be discovered and retrieved through existing attributes or metadata.

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National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future The general characteristics of both the downloadable parcel data and the corresponding web service would adhere to the following characteristics: Data Contents—Both the data and the web service would consist of graphics, attribute data, and related metadata designed and structured to offer seamless coverage of all 50 states as well as U.S. insular areas. Geographic Reference—National parcel data would employ a single, well-defined geographic reference framework based on North American Datum of 1983, consistent with NSDI specifications and sufficiently documented to allow easy transformation into the respective coordinate systems that may be employed by different users. Coordinated and Authoritative—Parcel data would be created from and maintained through a distributed network of individual “authorized” suppliers at the state, county, and local levels. Limited Basic Functionality—Parcel information should be viewable by panning and zooming across a national map and be searchable by attributes—centering the view on a given city, street address, zip code, or even a local parcel identification (ID) number (PIN). Navigation Through Place Names—Names of key public sites may also be used to center the view on a given geographical area. An already existing visual illustration of the committee’s vision can be seen in Figure 6.2. This figure shows parcel data across the boundary of two states, accessible through The National Map. This is just one aspect of what the committee envisions for the whole nation. 6.3 FUNDING MECHANISMS Any successful funding model would address two different aspects: (1) the production of digital parcel data where they do not yet exist, and (2) the additional costs needed to ensure the data are consistent and have been reconciled across boundaries, and can be accessed and used as a seamless national data set. Getting support for the program will involve a marketing strategy and the proper identification of the products and service. If the service and product are properly defined, clients will become eager customers. There are many stakeholders, which makes it possible to create a sustained program for parcel data development. The funding model would first address the concerns of local governments that are the primary producers of parcel data. There are literally hundreds of different models for local parcel data production, and as noted in Chapter 4, there is considerable evidence of sufficient return on investment to justify the creation of parcel data even in smaller communities. Local governments have discovered that the cost of a parcel system is often offset by the addition of many new properties to the tax rolls and by having an improved basis for property assessment and taxation. Many of them are also supporting their systems with fees attached to real estate transactions. These same local governments are also realizing that as parcel data become the authoritative source for street addresses, they can justify non-real estate-based sources of funding. Most importantly, first responders and law enforcement personnel would have access to accurate locations of a street address. As the source of street addresses, parcel data can not only save lives but also provide a justification for funding from E911 fees and even federal funds from DHS and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Much of the existing revenue that comes through collaboration agreements, licensing agreements, real estate transaction fees, or E911 fees would not be significantly affected by a national program. Local government licensing fees are often (but not always) based on the attributes associated with the data above and beyond the geometry, address, and PIN required for a national system. Therefore, the national data will provide an advertisement for the detailed data

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National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future FIGURE 6.2 Parcel data conjoined across North and South Carolina and accessible through The National Map. The black line shows the North Carolina-South Carolina border—above the border is Mecklenberg County, North Carolina, and below is York County, South Carolina. The blue lines show parcel boundaries. SOURCE: North Carolina OneMap, http://gisdata.usgs.net/website/NC%5FOneMap/ [accessed February 26, 2007]. Image courtesy North Carolina Center for Geographic Information and Analysis. that are valuable to the real estate and insurance industries and that are available only from the data steward. The release of this more detailed information can still be subject to any local policies, whether this involves making it available for free, licensing it, or selling it outright. Despite all of these potential funding mechanisms and benefits, the committee recognizes that incentives or additional support will still be needed for many local government entities to be willing or able to provide their parcel data for a national land parcel data system. One can consider four different issues that need to be addressed: (1) how to reward those local governments that already have parcel data and distribute it only for a fee under licensing agreements, (2) how to acknowledge those local governments that currently freely distribute their data, (3) how to assist local governments that need help in establishing their programs, and (4) how to manage parcel programs for those local governments that will never be able to support them on their own. The national land parcel coordinator will have to establish proper incentives for these various cases. However, the committee envisions that a major incentive for categories 1 through 3 above would be requiring digital parcel data for participation in geospatial data programs such as the National States Geographic Information Council’s (NSGIC’s) proposed Imagery for the Nation, which would represent substantial long-term cost savings to all local governments on data that are needed for parcel data production. For categories 3 and 4 above, the committee believes that the states or regional consortia can sup-

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National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future port initiation of a program or even take over creation and maintenance of parcel data for those jurisdictions that are simply not able to afford this. States would help fund parcel data production and integration because of the benefits for assessing and monitoring property values. An increasing number of states such as Tennessee and Arkansas are already building statewide parcel data programs. In much the same manner as local government parcel data programs, state governments are managing and even creating parcel data to comply with existing mandates and regulations that are linked to equitable funding for public education and property tax relief. Therefore, states are an additional potential source of funding for both parcel data production and parcel data integration. The federal government has an important role in funding a national land parcel data program. In order to be successful the program will require mechanisms for federal agencies to contribute funds and other resources. There are already several existing models that can be used or extended for parcel data development. For example, both HUD and DHS are able to provide grants to state and local governments to support parcel data programs, among many others. There are also some excellent examples such as the U.S. Geological Survey National Mapping Program in which federal and state agencies have established effective cost-sharing programs to create geospatial data. In this context, OMB’s Geospatial Line of Business is a perfect approach for intergovernmental partnerships, such as with NSGIC’s Imagery for the Nation, which can be the umbrella to finance data acquisitions. Finally, because the federal government has the most to gain from nationally integrated data, it would fund any additional incremental costs to integrate parcel data across county and state boundaries so that nationally consistent data are possible. This would be funded as defined in a business plan developed by the national land parcel coordinator. Since private companies that depend on parcel data to support their businesses, such as real estate, insurance, or location-based services, are major beneficiaries of a national parcel data system, they could also financially support the system. In summary, the committee envisions two different elements to the funding model for national land parcel data. Completion of full coverage will be funded through incentives and grants in partnerships between all levels of government. States will step in to support local governments that are unable to develop and maintain their data. The costs to integrate the data nationally and develop a system to make them accessible would be funded by the federal government. 6.4 SUMMARY In this chapter the committee has proposed a federated intergovernmental model for the development of nationally integrated land parcel data. The proposed model would provide a certified and consistent set of parcel data for the nation that would be in the public domain. The model would require a series of parcel coordinators who are empowered to create and promote the system. The system would be built on a simple data model that protects privacy while providing the necessary functionality. The committee believes that many aspects of existing OMB and FGDC mandates provide the legal and financial basis for implementing the proposed model. The many current organizational and financial issues are not trivial. However, the renewed interest in an expanded federal role in providing funding and coordination for geospatial data under the Geospatial Line of Business holds promise that the model outlined in this chapter could become a reality.

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