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Champaign County and Lexur Make Good Use of Pictometry
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

URBANA - A software program purchased earlier this year by the Champaign County auditor’s office might soon help a variety of local agencies, including first responders who could use the program to learn the layout of local buildings in case of an emergency.

Champaign County Auditor Karen Bailey said the Pictometry program was included as part of the larger $382,000 reappraisal contract the county has with Lexur Appraisal Services.

The county is in the midst of its 2013 property revaluations, and the program provides the county with aerial images that will assist with that process. The county already had overhead views of properties throughout the county, Bailey said, but the new program can also provide high-resolution photos from the north, south, east and west of each property in the county.

“For us, that worked really well and then you don’t have to go knock on everybody’s door,” Bailey said.

She is also providing the software program at no cost to other county agencies, such as the Champaign County Sheriff”s Office and Urbana Fire Division.

Craig Evans, director of the Emergency Management Agency in Champaign County, said he recently applied for a roughly $30,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant that would enhance the service further. The Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center is working with the local EMA on the application, Evans said.

If the grant is approved, 360-degree photos would be taken in classrooms and hallways in each of the county’s public schools, as well as the Lawnview Family and Child Center.

The software could help firefighters look at a floor plan during a fire, or help law enforcement officers view a room’s layout during a hostage situation.

“I could see it used in a lot of ways,” Evans said.

In the auditor’s office, the program will provide more accurate views of properties throughout the county that will make the revaluation process more accurate.

“There’s nothing worse than people coming in and saying, ‘You taxed me wrong,’” Bailey said.

By Matt Sanctis | Springfield News-Sun November 7, 2012  | Source Article

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