County Releases Mapping App

I keep meaning to write about Albemarle County’s new web-based mapping system, but every time I get sucked into playing with it for an hour or so and then I don’t have time to write anything. It’s a map of the entire county with zoning classifications, school districts, soil classifications, watersheds, voting precincts, historic districts, hydrant locations, structures, driveways, elevation contours, bodies of water, 1ft aerial photography and a whole lot more. My wife and I are preparing to acquire land and build a house, and suddenly this data is all enormously useful. This system is really impressive, and the county deserves a lot of credit for making it available.

7 thoughts on “County Releases Mapping App”

  1. Well, there does seem to be one significant limitation: latitude and longitude is limited to 7 digits. 38° 08′ 41.6″ N is a good distance away from 38° 08′ 41.616″ N. I just attempted to locate my homesite and, despite entering exact coordinates from my GPS, the system rounded it off from 9 to 7 digits and has my homesite in the back yard of a house on the other side of the road, a good 3,000 feet away.

  2. Waldo, are you sure about those figures? A difference of 0.02 seconds of latitude works out to only around 150 feet, I think. Anyway when I plugged in my GPS coordinates for my house I got a blue box on the map sitting right on top of the end of my driveway.

    It is a nifty mapping tool. I learned more about my neighbors (or owners of neighboring land, at any rate) in 15 minutes than I had in six years of living here. (“Here” being out past White Hall in the middle of a checkerboard of small, medium-sized and huge rural parcels.)

  3. I didn’t enter the actual coordinates for my house (scary stalker types on the internets, doncha know), and just invented the numbers that I dropped into my example. But the ones that I did enter — after double-checking pre-entry and post-entry — landed me at a distance that the GIS tool itself calculated as being just north of 3,000 feet away from my home site. But your point about the difference gives me an idea — I could just round up the number that I’m looking for, to at least end up closer to the target.

  4. Stalkers? I ain’t afeard a’ no stalkers. Anyone wants to come see my property at 38°00′37″N 78°27′09″W they’re right welcome. Though I do think the County has under-assessed the value of my improvements, which I consider priceless.

  5. Because of this website, I’ve just discovered that my apartment is not owned by who I thought owned it. I’ve got some homework to do now. Thanks for the link.

  6. the geocoding is pretty poor IMO. simple street address search did not yield results for a handful of my searchs. they returned similiar addresses, but that aint cutting it. at least ALB is trying to provide us with a useful tool.

  7. For anyone who’s ever looked at the other tool they had before, this is a VAST improvement!

    We have this huge expanse of forest behind our house, owned by lots of different people. Now I can actually see who owns different parcels, and I’m no longer worried about tresspassing (especially when the owner lives in Baltimore, or Pennsylvania….

    Speaking of such things, often when travelling around in the county looking for places to explore, oftent he coolest places are marked at “hunt clubs”. I’m assuming that hunt clubs are actually just leasing these properties and don’t own them (and this tool confirms that to some degree). I wonder though, how does one contact a hunt club (or how do people find them to join anyway?) Is there some kind of listing of hunt clubs somewhere?

    I’m wondering, not because I’m a hunter, but rather because it means these pieces of property are probably relatively unused during the summer, and they’d be great place to hike or cycle. I wonder if i’d be possible for other groups (like the OASC) to lease some of these place in the off season?

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