Eagleswood Takes Proactive Step By Going Digital With Tax Map

Feb 13, 2019

Eagleswood Township is “playing it smart” and being proactive where updating and modernizing its tax map are concerned, according to mapping expert Don Smith, senior client manager and firm associate with Civil Solutions, the geospatial services division of Adams, Rehmann and Haggan Associates, based in Hammonton.

“Digitization” is something of an outdated term, Smith said. Rather, his firm has been contracted by Eagleswood to create a new digital tax map – using existing records and aerial photography, charting the high water line, calculating and realigning municipal boundaries, state highways – that will become the foundation for layering additional information, e.g. zoning, abandoned properties or preserved space. Digital mapping results in better property management and improved tax collection efficiency.

“Creating an accurate foundation is crucial,” Smith said. The ultimate goal is to send the new map to the state Division of Taxation for approval and to achieve a one-to-one match with tax records.

Often towns are pressed into going digital by a state-mandated revaluation, Smith explained. But Eagleswood has decided to undertake the project of its own accord.

The experts researched county records – maps, deeds, surveys, etc. – to build “a useable, workable product” for the town and the public.

“We’re trying to put a puzzle together that doesn’t fit,” Smith said, meaning the individual components that already exist on paper may be imperfect, but together they have to make a perfect, whole parcel fabric.

The Eagleswood project began in late August or early September, according to Smith. The first flight was in November; another will be done soon. The base maps now are just about wrapped up, he said, and the finished product should be ready to submit to the state by late March.

Upon completion of the project, a maintenance protocol is usually what follows, Smith said. Civil Solutions provides a web platform called myiDV that “makes GIS data and functionality available to an entire organization through an easy-to-use password-protected web interface. This allows business knowledge experts and managers to easily view, analyze, report and print mapped layers and integrated databases.”

The company is a state leader in the field, having created over 50 certified tax maps in New Jersey (and 3,500 tax map sheets in the process) and serving as a private sector representative on the state’s Digital Tax Mapping Committee.  —V.F.

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