GIS offers easy access to information

Beth Rumsey

Finding information on property lines or locations for septic systems at the Ripley County Surveyor’s Office just got a little easier with the completion of a five-year project to digitally record information previously found in books.

With just a click of the mouse, a wide range of people from hunters and property owners to economic development and lawyers can learn who owns a certain property, zoning, or receive assistance for a title search.

According to office assistant Sue French, the project started when the 911 call center needed a base system of addresses as per state mandate. French then visited several counties to review program options available. Geographic Information System (GIS) was chosen because it provides a comprehensive data base used by several county offices as well as flexibility in use.

The project was paid by grants and matching dollars from the county. “Without the grants, we wouldn’t have been able to complete this project as quickly as we have,” said county technology director Kelly Vollet.

French helped to reduce costs by teaching herself to use the program. Together with WTH Engineering, the 16,000 parcels in Ripley County were entered into the database complete with aerial views, tax information, soil types, and other types of information that has been previously recorded.

How can this information be used? For example, it could be an economic development tool providing statistics on property for sale such as zoning or flood plains.

Property owners can use this information to learn if a survey has been done on their property as well as the date. Those looking to sell a portion can determine if there is enough road frontage to meet county specifications.

The assessor’s office uses the information to determine a tax rate. Other county offices such as the auditor, area planning, and the health department access this information almost daily.

The information is updated daily and is as accurate as possible, according to French. She hopes to be able to offer access to the database via the county website in the future.

To learn more about the GIS system and services available contact the Ripley County Surveyors Office at 812-689-0504.