New aerial maps available online can help Boone County residents find a new home or a piece of property. The maps can be found at showmeboone.com, where users can type in an address, zoom in and out on a particular parcel, identify who owns the property, measure distances and print the maps at no cost.
The aerial photos of Boone County were taken in March 2002 to assist local government officials. But, since becoming available to the public Feb. 6, the photos have also helped local realtors, surveyors and title companies research property and tax information.
“It’s great for the buyers,” said local Realtor Denise Payne. “It gives an overview of the property, and that’s much easier than the buyers having to go out and walk around the property. With these maps they can see if the land will be suited for their building plans.”
Payne has used the service for two months and likes being able to show potential buyers the size of the house, the landscaping and the amount of open space on the property. Several of her co-workers also print out parcel maps for each of their home listings and offer them at open houses to visitors, she said.
Realtor Don Emery said since he first heard about the new maps from Boone County Assessor Tom Schauwecker, he has saved a lot of time and money.
“I used to have to go in and pay for an aerial photo. Now, I just pull up the property so I know what the assessor has to say and what the taxes are before going to visit with the client,” said Emery. “I use the site on average about two or three times a week. It just depends though, sometimes I use it 15 or 16 times a week.”
The legal description, taxes and lot size of any property in Boone County has long been available on the Internet. The aerial maps were developed by the Boone County Geographic Information Systems Department and the Surdex Corp. of Chesterfield was contracted to take the photos. The total cost was $135,690. The Boone County Assessor’s Office plans to update the photos every five years at a cost of $135,000.
Realtors aren’t the only ones utilizing this new service. Surveyor Ron Shy of Allstate Consultants said his firm uses the maps to determine parcel ownership, to research the legal descriptions from recorded deeds and to figure out the names of subdivisions. The maps also show how much development is going on in an area.
Shy said the maps are accessible, easy to use and high quality. Shy says he and his colleagues have saved “at least $100 to $200 per week by using the online service rather than spending time to go to the assessor’s office to retrieve the information.”
Jackie Davidson, chief deputy in the assessor’s office, said the new maps have helped county officials identify property that they didn’t know existed.
“We found one home out in the county from the digital photography and have gone back out and put them on the tax files,” Davidson said. “These people evidently didn’t take out a building permit, but hopefully they have all been found.”
More than 10,000 people have requested and received access to these maps, Davidson said. Users must request a user name and password from the assessor’s office, and explain how the information will be used. “This user list ensures only authorized users have access to the map viewers and helps us keep track of the overall usage of the mapping system, since these new digital photos are used by almost every department at Boone County,” Warzinik said.