GIS upgrades offer clearer picture

Land, parcel information for Jackson County available on website

Visitors to Jackson County’s geographic information system website will notice several upgrades.

The biggest difference is with the images. Aerial photography taken this past summer went from 12-inch pixelation to 6-inch pixelation, making property images clearer to see.

Several of the layers, available on the toolbar at the top of the webpage, also have been updated with information.

Recorded surveys and cell tower locations also now are represented by symbols on the map.

All of the work has been done to provide as much information to the public as possible, said Conner Barnette, the county building commissioner and GIS administrator.

“You’d be surprised how many people I talk to don’t even know it’s a thing,” he said of the GIS website, jackson.in.wthgis.com. “There is so much information on there now. A lot of the (county) offices have been working to keep updating and adding information and pushing it out to the public. We’re constantly updating stuff on there.”

Jackson County GIS is an interactive web-based mapping system used for capturing, storing and displaying data related to its position on the Earth’s surface.

The website, which is maintained by WTH Technology of Indianapolis, enables the public to access land, parcel and geographic information at the click of a mouse.

Each county governmental office that uses the GIS pays an annual maintenance fee to WTH.

The aerial photography hadn’t been updated since 2011. Anyone who built something on their property between then and earlier this summer wouldn’t have been able to see it on the GIS map. With the new pictures taken, they can see the updates.

Those pictures came through in 9,908 files and were put together to create the whole county. Barnette synced those files on computers in every county office. They were then exported to WTH, which put them on the public site.

The county will receive a bill from the state for about $30,000 to cover the cost of going from 12- to 6-inch pixelation. That will be covered through the auditor’s plat book fund, which at one time was used to maintain and update plat books. Now, it is used for any work associated with the GIS.

The website also contains multiple layers, including recorded surveys, property owner information, tax parcel information, FEMA floodplain overlay, zoning overlay, legal drains and cell tower locations. To view the layers, the box must be checked under the layer tab at the top of the page.

Barnette said the surveyor’s office has been working to place survey records on the site. That is an ongoing process. The recorded surveys are represented by an orange rectangle symbol on the map.

With parts of the county being in the floodplain, Barnette said the FEMA floodplain overlay is useful for those living or building in those areas.

“There are a lot of extra steps when you’re in the floodplain to build. It’s not just a building permit,” he said. “People have no idea they are in the floodplain sometimes until they come to build something, and I’ve got to tell them they can’t build it.”

Several cell towers have popped up in recent years around the county. Those are signified by a cell tower symbol on the map.

While looking at the GIS, Barnette said it’s important for people to understand the boundary lines shown on the website are approximate and solely for taxation purposes. The lines may or may not be a true representation of the parcel’s boundary, he said.

On the Web

To view the Jackson County geographic information system, visit jackson.in.wthgis.com.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.