Using GIS to increase tax revenues
August 21st, 2006 by JTJ

An interesting piece in the NYTimes on Sunday, “Finding Tax Revenue Through Aerial Imaging,” highlights yet another industry and example of how public administrators are using GIS, in this case to increase the revenue stream.  We think that if journalists are not hip to these tools, then they cannot ask the right questions of the public's administrators.

…Until recently, assessors had to accept homeowners’ claims or visit
the properties themselves. But in 2003, the city hired the Pictometry
International Corporation, a company in Rochester, N.Y., to provide
images of every building in the city.

Once a year, Pictometry
flies a Cessna 172 over Philadelphia, taking thousands of
black-and-white photographs. The low-altitude shots, unlike satellite
images, show buildings at about a 40-degree angle. Pictometry’s
computers organize the photos so they can be searched by address.
Nearly 200 employees in Mr. Mescolotto’s office have the software on
their computers.

Pictometry isn’t the only company offering
aerial photos to assessors, but it has won adherents in more than 200
cities and counties, according to Dante Pennacchia, Pictometry’s chief
marketing officer. Its competitors include an Israeli company, Ofek
International, working with Aerial Cartographics of America, based in
Orlando, Fla….”

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