Parcel maps help facilitate administration, zoning, building and site development, flood control, lake and stream erosion control, and the planning, design and construction of roads and public works. In the private sector, parcel maps are useful to attorneys, appraisers, assessors, surveyors, engineers, and utility corporations as a means to inventory land holdings and index land records.
Wisconsin State Cartographer's Office (SCO)
Parcel mapping is created by using the best available information on record which may include recorded deed descriptions, plats, certified survey maps, and maps of survey. Using Coordinate Geometry, a method of defining geometric features through the input of bearing and distance measurements, we can map together parcel ownership of land throughout Polk County.
NOTE: A parcel map doesn't replace an actual field survey.
To review different types of surveys, please visit the Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyors website.
Other reasons for Counties to have Parcel Mapping
An important reason for having a high quality parcel mapping program is service to the public a.k.a. taxpayer and property owner. They pay most of the cost of local government.
There is savings (both in time and money) benefit to the landowner (taxpayer) when quick answers are needed. Whether it is a required zoning set back or “is the big tree on the property line” type of question, what a service it is to be able to come to the Government Center or look online and address such questions immediately.
When government bodies such as Town Boards, Cities, County Boards, Planning Commissions etc., have complex land issues to deal with, they have a source of reliable information and guidance.
Accurate parcel maps have a great value to Town Assessors for fair taxation. Legal descriptions such as “that part of the SW-SW lying north of the highway” may be 8 acres, may be 16 acres, may be 2 acres etc. You don’t know where the road falls in the forty until the parcel map is completed based on the Public Land Survey corners, and viewed with an aerial photo back drop showing the location of the road (unless you pay to have a land survey done.)
Road right of ways are researched and shown on parcel maps which assist town personnel in their determinations of 3 rod or 4 rod roads for clearing, reconstruction and other maintenance.
When parcel maps are based on survey information, (as Polk County’s are) their value is multiplied. For example, if a “cartoon type” parcel map is overlaid on an orthophoto (corrected aerial photo) and a barn appears to be over the boundary line…it may be, in reality, that the barn is well within the boundaries. The appearance of an encroachment can cause un-necessary grief for both land owners. In a survey based parcel map, the appearance of a barn over the boundary line indicates it should be checked out.
Possibilities for long range planning activities are expanded, enhanced and more accurate.
Parcel mapping is integral with 911 mapping, Census activity, school district designation… the list goes on.
The County Real Property Lister can perform their job better, assist town officials and problem solve more efficiently with the availability of a parcel map.
Lake Associations and other organizations consisting of land owners are frequent users of parcel maps for identifying possible members, land owners of problems.
Parcel maps are a critical part of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), planning, zoning and many other types of mapping.