GIS Technology and Parcel DataEnvironmental Due Diligence

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3 ways parcel data helps environmental & consulting engineering firms

LightBox Profile
LightBox Insights
July 2, 2020 4 mins

Using GIS technology to track and manage parcel data helps produce and explain essential, complex data in a way that’s easy to understand, as well as impactful and actionable. But a GIS platform is only as strong as the data that it’s built on, and any maps or models built on inaccurate parcel data can lead to incomplete analysis.

Whether the project goals are identifying optimal land for development, proactive conservation, or preventing further damage to a vulnerable region, GIS technology helps environmental engineers and consultants make actionable, data-driven decisions. GIS data especially helps when looking at long-term consequences for the environment, as well as public health and economic impact. Development activity requires analysis of multiple parcel data points to understand potential outcomes, including understanding human activity or proximity to hazards. GIS technology provides access to this data and real evidence of what could happen. Additionally, analyzing parcel data helps offer solutions for mitigating negative impacts.

Below are three ways that firms use accurate, updated parcel data to get better results. Be sure to read through to the end where we explain exactly how environmental engineering and consulting firms can leverage parcel data for immediate results.

1. Contextualize your existing data 

Most firms have developed specific workflows and systems around tracking and managing data. The problem is that these workflows and systems are often not the most optimal way to manage and use massive amounts of data. Systems tend to become unwieldy, producing data that can be outdated and unreliable. These systems typically do not provide data in a way that’s user-friendly for different user-types.

SmartParcels® is a nationwide parcel database that allows you to contextualize your existing data, making it more accessible and powerful. SmartParcels is designed to be easily and securely integrated with your existing systems and workflows, including proprietary apps/platforms and other software providers. Combining over 300 property and tax attributes with parcel boundaries, when integrated in your GIS platform it provides insights into your data that translate into information you can use. SmartParcels make analysis easier and delivers actionable data for project planning and development.

2. Transform your GIS workflows 

Multiple problems can arise with GIS workflows, including siloed departments, diminished collaboration, and inefficient data collection. Many firms use a myriad of systems and resources to track and manage data, and they often find that established workflows don’t align well with a company’s growth and increasing client demands. 

For example, engineering consulting firm Psomas currently uses our commercial real estate mapping software, LandVision™, to visualize parcel data and develop seamless workflows during project planning phases. The company started using LandVision™ to make research faster and easier. Psomas can access detailed owner portfolios (which allows them to easily generate and send mailers to property owners during projects), streamline their property research (even across county boundaries), and leverage data for key insights such as a project’s proximity to potential hazards. 

Because LandVision™ is built on SmartParcels, All of this information is map-ready and can be instantly streamed into your GIS platform, ready to use how and when you need it. Benefits of SmartParcels include the ability to quickly determine accurate property values, evaluate property characteristics, identify land use and zoning, access complete property ownership details, and determine precise property locations. Using consistent parcel data enables teams and departments to collaborate much more efficiently.

3. Streamline property research

The first two points are key examples of leveraging accurate parcel data for success, but this last point might just make the biggest difference for environmental consulting and engineering firms. The ability to streamline property research—something that can take hours, days, or even weeks—and get it all done quickly, easily, and accurately is a huge advantage. Our GIS technology and data solutions offer the opportunity to simultaneously review multiple datasets in real-time and determine potential project impacts. 

For example, wetlands are commonly viewed as an opportunity to transform land of low economic value and develop it into something more useful and profitable, such as farmland or a commercial development. However, parcel data paired with your data might show that those areas provide crucial benefits to the local habitat or region, such as offering a barrier for a storm surge. Or consider an area suffering from low rainfall that could be prone to drought. GIS technology allows you to easily illustrate current aquifer levels and the potential impact of farmland on freshwater scarcity. All of this information can be gathered on one platform, and then simply explained with powerful map-based visuals.

LightBox offers North America’s most comprehensive parcel database, and SmartParcels can be easily delivered into any solution you are currently using. SmartParcels is trusted by over 1,200 businesses and government agencies to help streamline GIS-related workflows and make data-driven decisions. We process over 75 million record updates per month so that our customers can confidently work off of the most up-to-date information without having to deal with costly database updates and data warehousing.

How to Get Started with SmartParcels

LightBox solutions are built by GIS professionals, for GIS professionals. We offer a broad set of GIS solutions to help environmental engineers and consultants get optimal results for their clients. Additionally, as an Esri Silver Partner, we have configured our GIS data and technology offerings to be fully compatible with the complete ArcGIS suite. 

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