Friday, June 24, 2016

The Parcel Dial Tone

As a bit of background, I come by the telephone/communication analogies historically or maybe genetically.  The man on the left in the picture is my dad.

He didn’t invent the dial tone. He was a pioneer in implementing it for long distance dialing.  Before direct distance dial (DDD) all long distance calls were placed through an operator.  The innovation was not the dial tone; it was the toll center.  This was the ability to identify the call line that placed the call, the target, the time of day, and the length of the call so that billing could be correctly assigned.  It was all about the toll center, even if the dial tone made it all possible.

The parcel dial tone technology and data sets are already here.  It should be possible to pick up any map product and add the parcels.  We shouldn't have to go through an operator.  Granted there are still availability, access, content, source, and liability topics to be resolved, but technologically all is possible.  

The toll center is something we may not have addressed adequately.  I was struck by a presentation by Louisville Kentucky (Jefferson County KY) that one third of the revenue necessary to support the core services of their assessment department is reliant on data sales. Even further we see rural and less endowed jurisdictions that do not have sufficient resources to collect, maintain, and provide web access to their parcel data.  It is not just economics. Some of the more endowed counties are reluctant to add their parcels to the national dial tone.  

After 30 plus years the technology has advanced nicely, but the institutional data sharing and acquisition funding issues that were identified many years ago are still with us.

A little follow up.  Note from Jack Dangermond's keynote at the Esru UC 2016

He had a parcel map behind it. I said, "Well, that's interesting. Where is that parcel map coming from? Is that on your desktop?" He said, "No, no, no, it's coming as a service." It turns out that the parcel map is coming as a service from L.A. County, who does about 150 updates and transactions on parcels every day. He was no longer copying the data, having to update it. He was reading in like dial tone behind his map a basemap of parcel data from the county. The city and the county are working together. They're sharing their data. As services, they're leveraging each other's transactional work in real time. 

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