USA: La Crosse County recently added a GIS function to its land records information Web site. The new mapping function is expected to make the site even more popular with the banks, real estate companies, attorneys, title companies, builders and taxpayers, who accessed the site more than 80,000 times last year.
“Despite cutbacks in staff, we’re now doing more with less,” said Jeff Bluske, director of the county’s Office of Zoning, Planning and Land Information. The new GIS feature allows people to access things like ownership records, legal descriptions, property locations, assessments, lottery claims, taxes and payments, zoning information and permits filed for wells, sanitation, driveways and erosion control — all from their own computers.
Traffic at the site has increased greatly and, according to Bluske, is likely to get more than 100,000 hits in 2009. “The first three-quarters of our Web site were rolled out about four years ago, but the mapping feature adds another dimension,” Bluske said “Out of all the info on our county page, our records site is the top one to be visited. That’s something we’re very proud of. The only one that’s jumped ahead of us recently is “jobs,” which I guess is a sign of the times.” The 80,000 hits recorded last year represent a nearly incalculable savings in time, energy and fuel. In the past, an individual requesting such information would have to trek from office to office or tie up the phone system waiting to talk with staff members who would look up the relevant data.
“This is great for us and for the customer,” Bluske said. “Typically, people would jump in the car, drive down here and then wait for a staff member to help them. It was complete downtime (for the customer), but now they can access the information from the luxury of their desk or even at night or on weekends.”
The new GIS system can be accessed at the county Web site.The site has a user guide that shows how to use the site and what kinds of tools are available.