Digital parcel data stored in a geographic information system has become a critical source of information for resource land managers, community development, infrastructure maintenance, homeland security and business development. Washington State leaders, managers, researchers and business continually use GIS parcel data for decison making, science and resource management.
Redundant Efforts are Costly
It is recognized by various city, county, state and other government entities that having timely access to GIS based parcel data is critical. Currently no single source of parcel information exists in Washington State. Each public or private entity must request data directly from the counties which comes in myriad data formats and utilizes differing attribute coding schemes. Many counties have data license agreements which prohibit or severly restrict the ability of one user to share parcel data with another making cross-agency or interdisciplinary research difficult, expensive and variable since no two groups are using the same data. Redundant efforts to collect, store and manage county parcel data are occuring at all levels of government.
A Statewide Dataset is Needed
The Rural Technology Initiave, The Family Forest Foundation, The Washington Farm Forestry Association, The USDA Forest Service, Washington State Government Agencies and various other organizations are working together to create a signle source for Washington State county parcel data. The primary purpose of this effort is to develop a consolidated, consistent and documented parcel GIS dataset for use by public entities and other interested parties. Using the seamless statewide parcel database as a foundation the Rural Technology Initiative, the Family Forest Foundation and the Washington Farm Forestry Association are producing a Family Forest Database to assess, better understand and document the geography of family forests in Washington State.
Goals of the Washington State Parcel Database
More about the Parcels Working Group and the Washington State Parcel Database can be found at the University of Washington Geographic Information Service's site.