The National Research Council released its 2007 parcel study in time for the ESRI conference in mid-June.The study envisions a distributed system of land parcel data that is housed with appropriate data stewards but accessible through a central web-based interface.Counties and other units of government that maintain parcel data for their own purposes would publish a critical portion of that data to the distributed system.
National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future is the look at parcels since the 1980s when it started with The Need for a Multipurpose Cadastre.Like the earlier report, the 2007 study identified the value to the nation of wall-to-wall parcel data.Like the earlier report, it calls for national funding to assist local governments and state efforts to coordinate and provide assistance.
Things have changed a lot since 1980.Hurricane Katrina and attacks on the World Trade Center have increased awareness of the value of parcel data.Technical changes have increased capabilities and decreased costs of land information systems.Most of the big counties have completed systems, but basic development work remains for the smaller counties.The web has made it easier to access data and encouraged use of information in decision-making.
The report contains nine recommendations:
A panel should decide whether the Bureau of Land Management can be the lead federal agency.
The Federal Geographic Data Committee should consider the parcel as a basic resource for various OMB A-16 mandated data themes.
A Federal Land Parcel Coordinator should be empowered to develop and maintain a single database of land parcels owned or managed by the federal government.
A National Land Parcel Coordinator should be established to develop and oversee a land parcel data business plan for the nation including federal, local, state, and tribal partners.
An Indian Lands Parcel Coordinator should be established by the Office of Special Trustee for Tribal Lands.
Congress and the Census Bureau should explore modifying Title 13 so that building addresses and coordinates can be made public.
State Coordinators should be established in each state to develop plans and relationships with local government. The goal of these efforts is to achieve border-to-border parcel coverage for all publicly and privately owned property within the state.
The National Land Parcel Coordinator should develop an intergovernmental funding program for the development and maintenance of parcel data, including incentives to participate for those counties with fully-developed systems and financial support for those who do not.
Local government is expected to put into the public domain both parcel geometry and a very limited set of attributes.This should become a minimum requirement to receive federal funds directly associated with property, such as disaster relief.