The GIS committee has been working on bringing this project to fruition for almost two years, said Finnegan at Monday night's selectmen's meeting. In March 2004, voters granted the committee $13,800 in Community Preservation Committee funds to create the GIS. Last Friday, the new system was added to the town's web site, www.town.duxbury.ma.us. On the web site, it can be found under town departments: GIS.
With this new system, users can look up individual properties using a street address or assessor's parcel number. Using a computer and projector, Finnegan showed selectmen how looking up a specific address brings up a boundary map of the parcel showing lot lines with some measurements and some basic information on the properties from the assessor's database. Duxbury's information includes parcel ID, address, acreage, building value, land value and total value, as well as sale date and price, a photo of the property and the book/page where it can be found at the registry of deeds. Property owners' names are not included in the assessing information available to the public. For that, a trip to town hall is required.
Also included is the ability to see an aerial photo of a property and to zoom in to view a certain feature. Patience is required, however, because with each magnification, the web site takes some time to redraw the maps. The system also has the ability to show where a parcel is located within the town map, as well as create a printable version of this information. It can also show things like easements and wetlands in an area.
The new GIS will be helpful to anyone looking for information about land or a house. This would include potential homebuyers, realtors, builders and developers, as well as town boards and committees.
The assessors office can use the system to create abutters' lists that even include address mailing labels.
Finnegan said the town worked with a consultant to create the GIS, with one of the first steps being digitizing the assessors' maps and then inputting assessors' records.In the future, the information on the GIS can become even more sophisticated, said Finnegan, with other maps being added such as the open space map and the zoning map. This takes more time and funding, he said.