VICTORIA, April 17, 2015 — BC Assessment (BCA) received an Award of Excellence today from Esri Canada for using geographic information system (GIS) technology to improve property assessment and public access to property information in British Columbia.
BCA was the first organization to pilot geospatial 3D modeling to conduct detailed condominium valuations without the need for onsite inspections. The organization also revamped e-valueBC, their online application, with mapping functionality that allows users to quickly search, view and compare property information on desktop and mobile devices.
“GIS enables us to deliver better services through innovation,” said Connie Fair, BCA President and CEO. “As the condo market in Vancouver continues to grow, we’re able to maintain accurate property assessments without increasing staff. It also allows us to leverage technologies – such as mobile and the cloud – to provide our customers with efficient access to property information.”
In 2014, BCA partnered with Esri Canada to be the first organization to use a prototype of the Assessment Analyst 3D solution. Built on Esri’s ArcGIS platform, it allows appraisers to conduct detailed valuations of strata properties, such as condominiums and townhouses, using 3D geoprocessing and analytics from their desktop. Through advanced 3D visualization, BCA has gained the ability to quickly identify outliers and patterns within their data which are not readily visible when using spreadsheets. Errors can also be easily fixed within the application. This has significantly improved their ability to maintain and audit data, increasing the accuracy of property assessments.
BCA has also applied GIS to improve their e-valueBC property search application. The new application features an interactive Web map that users can click on to quickly view property information and compare values with surrounding properties, a feature that was previously unavailable. This provides richer context for understanding property values by neighbourhood.
The Web map took approximately three weeks to develop using ArcGIS for Server and ArcGIS Online, which serves as a secure, cloud-based GIS infrastructure. BCA sources authoritative land parcel information and basemap content from local municipalities and publishes the information to ArcGIS Online, where the information is integrated with property value assessments into the Community Map of Canada; it is subsequently fed back into e-valueBC. Because the basemap is hosted in the cloud, BCA does not need to create and maintain their own basemap. This allows them to focus their efforts on maintaining accurate and up-to-date property information for BC residents.
“BC Assessment’s commitment to business innovation is truly remarkable,” noted Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada. “Their pioneering use of 3D GIS for more cost-effective property assessment is setting the direction for the industry. As well, by leveraging Web maps to communicate property information to the public, they’re able to achieve some incredible economies of scale.”
The current 3D GIS project covers two areas in Downtown Vancouver. BCA is looking to expand the scope of the pilot project to include a greater area of the Lower Mainland. They are also exploring the use of 3D GIS to analyze commercial properties and further improve e-valueBC with 3D maps.