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National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future
port initiation of a program or even take over creation and maintenance of parcel data for those jurisdictions that are simply not able to afford this. States would help fund parcel data production and integration because of the benefits for assessing and monitoring property values. An increasing number of states such as Tennessee and Arkansas are already building statewide parcel data programs. In much the same manner as local government parcel data programs, state governments are managing and even creating parcel data to comply with existing mandates and regulations that are linked to equitable funding for public education and property tax relief. Therefore, states are an additional potential source of funding for both parcel data production and parcel data integration.
The federal government has an important role in funding a national land parcel data program. In order to be successful the program will require mechanisms for federal agencies to contribute funds and other resources. There are already several existing models that can be used or extended for parcel data development. For example, both HUD and DHS are able to provide grants to state and local governments to support parcel data programs, among many others. There are also some excellent examples such as the U.S. Geological Survey National Mapping Program in which federal and state agencies have established effective cost-sharing programs to create geospatial data. In this context, OMB’s Geospatial Line of Business is a perfect approach for intergovernmental partnerships, such as with NSGIC’s Imagery for the Nation, which can be the umbrella to finance data acquisitions.
Finally, because the federal government has the most to gain from nationally integrated data, it would fund any additional incremental costs to integrate parcel data across county and state boundaries so that nationally consistent data are possible. This would be funded as defined in a business plan developed by the national land parcel coordinator. Since private companies that depend on parcel data to support their businesses, such as real estate, insurance, or location-based services, are major beneficiaries of a national parcel data system, they could also financially support the system.
In summary, the committee envisions two different elements to the funding model for national land parcel data. Completion of full coverage will be funded through incentives and grants in partnerships between all levels of government. States will step in to support local governments that are unable to develop and maintain their data. The costs to integrate the data nationally and develop a system to make them accessible would be funded by the federal government.
In this chapter the committee has proposed a federated intergovernmental model for the development of nationally integrated land parcel data. The proposed model would provide a certified and consistent set of parcel data for the nation that would be in the public domain. The model would require a series of parcel coordinators who are empowered to create and promote the system. The system would be built on a simple data model that protects privacy while providing the necessary functionality. The committee believes that many aspects of existing OMB and FGDC mandates provide the legal and financial basis for implementing the proposed model. The many current organizational and financial issues are not trivial. However, the renewed interest in an expanded federal role in providing funding and coordination for geospatial data under the Geospatial Line of Business holds promise that the model outlined in this chapter could become a reality.