Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Site gives lowdown on Butler

By Steve Kemme, skemme@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Butler County will launch a Web site July 22 that will allow users to quickly obtain information about parcels of property through layered maps with zoom features and aerial photographs.

        The county has spent five years and $2 million so far on this Web project — called the Geographic Information System (GIS).

        Todd Housman, Internet coordinator in the auditor's office, gave the county commissioners a brief demonstration Monday of how the site will work.

        Users can zoom quickly from a county map to a single parcel of property and obtain such information as the owner's name, the property's dimensions, soil type, the appraised value, the latest sale price, the outlines of buildings and the school district.

        Besides giving the public easy access to property information, the Web site is designed to assist the county's economic development efforts.

        The map will show exactly where the county's fiber-optics network runs as well as the location of 250 pieces of available commercial property.

        “It will be a very advantageous tool in economic development,” Commissioner Courtney Combs said.

        The Web site, which has not been given a name yet, will make it easier and less expensive for businesses considering moving to Butler to obtain vital information needed to make their decision, he said.

        The map also will display school district lines and congressional district and ZIP code boundaries.

        The Web site has been developed under the direction of Auditor Kay Rogers' office. But the GIS committee that has worked on this project for the past 18 months includes the county engineer's office, the county economic development, building and zoning and environmental services departments. Hamilton, Fairfield and Middletown officials also have participated.

        About $1.5 million of the $2 million spent on this project has been for aerial photography.

        Over the next few months, the Web site's map will be expanded to include rivers, lakes and streams, land contours, bridges and culverts, Mr. Housman said.

        “There are many more things we're going to do,” he said.


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