Bangor updates city website to include property lines, buildings

Posted Aug. 10, 2012, at 7:16 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Thanks to a new Web wrinkle, business owners, citizens and anyone interested in Bangor can get a better view — part and parcel — of Bangor real estate.

It’s called a Web-based parcel map viewer and it allows visitors to the city’s website, www.bangormaine.gov, to search and view maps, overhead views and technical information on various properties with the click of a mouse.

Sean Gambrel, a geographic information specialist in Bangor’s engineering department who created the program, said it was surprisingly simple to set up.

“To be honest, we didn’t put a lot of resources into it because we didn’t have to. It was a pretty quick thing to put together,” said Gambrel. “The most time spent was on collating data.”

The parcel viewer is supported by Geographic Information Systems software and the city’s own geographic database. GIS differs from other digital mapping because it offers features that each come with their own tables of information. That allows for more thorough investigation and analysis for people who are searching for properties by address or property owner.

“Essentially, we’d been developing our parcel data for awhile,” he added. “We had some rough data we could use for ourselves to use for zoning and things like that. As we started filtering it, we thought there might be other uses for it.”

Not only have there been other uses, but other benefits as well.

It’s proving to be helpful to a lot of people from city employees to assessors, lawyers, residents and business owners who can all use it for a number of things.

“For a typical resident, it helps them see where the property lines fall, especially, if they want to put up a fence or something,” Gambrel explained.

While Gambrel cautions that these maps and views shouldn’t be treated as legally binding or official — they are assessing maps and not necessarily akin to the results of a land survey — they are constantly updated and always current.

“It’s not old data, and that’s why it’s more accurate than Google maps, which may not be updated as often as it could be,” he said. “This is a constantly updated system.”

The parcel viewer program, which debuted online Thursday, allows users to print customized maps. It will not only be a time-saver for users, but for city employees as well.

“Business owners and developers can get a better lay of the land, and it streamlines things for us, where people can now find answers for themselves without having to come into city hall to look over maps,” Gambrel said. “That should save a lot of staff time not having to go through as many as 160 maps.”

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