Last updated: September 13. 2013 9:54PM - 1548 Views

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Richmond County government officials deserved a shout out for the new and improved county website.


It is no ordinary website.


In July, county officials pulled the wraps off the fancy new cyberspace entity that’s user-friendly and helpful in so many ways.


Richmond County Planning and Zoning Director of GIS James Armstrong introduced the new website’s bells and whistles at a workshop.


The new website can be found by going to http://gis2.richmondnc.com/flex/RichmondParcel/


“Within the Richmond County Geographic Information System, there are map services that will provide access to GIS layers such as tax parcels, roads, watersheds, zoning, and the corresponding tax information,” Armstrong said. “Most of this data is considered ‘live’ and is continually updated, (as needed) by Richmond County GIS Staff. This site uses the products of ESRI as the map server. Other options to view the data are available by calling the GIS Department staff.”


It’s not unlike an onion; peel the layers back and learn all sorts of interesting details about our home.


People can tailor their searches to show a variety of results. Users can search properties by address, PIN or owner name.


Helpful for real estate agents, Armstrong pointed out that search criteria can be narrowed down to show properties sold during a certain time frame and for a certain price or acreage.


Tools also include functions that allow people to measure distance with a drawn line, multiple lines or measure an area by highlighting a location and drawing a box. Increments can be changed such as from square miles to acres, and the tool also shows the perimeter at the same time.


The new website allows users to locate fire hydrants, cemeteries, flood plains and fire insurance district boundaries.


“The county has the ability to provide web users with editing permission to some of the data set within the County ’s GIS,” explained Armstrong. “A real example is one using the cemetery … A separate mapping application will be made available through log-in process. The web edit mapping application will make it possible for web users to edit the location and attributes of cemeteries (for example). This would be consider a form of crowd sourcing. Editing other layers will be made available.”


And this week we learned that Armstrong has even more web magic planned.


Speaking to the county planning board, Armstrong is suggesting the county require site plans for new development projects — which only makes sense, frankly. Beyond that, he is asking county officials to approve an online tool that would assist applicants in drawing their own site plans.


“I’ve made it easier for the applicant and created an online site plan builder, similar to our other GIS products. That could help the applicant or staff in creating a scaled site plan and elements listed in the ordinance, and they can submit it with their applications,” he said.


Armstrong said the website is relatively easy to use, and applicants will be responsible for creating their own, but if they run into problems, the planning staff is available for assistance.


Now that’s public service.

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