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Geographical information system to be made available to public

MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved funding FetchGIS, a geographical information system, to improve the efficiency of its equalization department.

The $7,500 program is a web and mobile platform used by communities, industries, businesses and nonprofit organizations to improve access to location-based data and information and develop or enhance location-based services.

The system allows government agencies, businesses and the public to view parcels within each county and provides property information such as the taxable value, recent sales, acreage, legal descriptions, maps and more.

The system would also improve the efficiency of the Marquette County Equalization Department, said the department’s deputy director, Jackie Lykins.

Currently the department receives requests for parcel maps, then must generate an invoice, send it to the inquirer and wait for the county treasurer’s office to receive payment before sending the map out.

“It’s a lot of hands-on from staff to be able to collect $3 for a map, where they can go online, click, pick out their own section that they want and print it,” Lykins said. “It’d be very efficient for improving staff time to be able to do other things.”

Users would still have to pay for the information the department currently charges for, but could use the system to view for free. Businesses who access the information on a regular basis, such as Re/Max, will be charged a monthly subscription fee.

“We would like to obviously see how much revenue we generate during first year, but based on what we currently sell we would expect that it would come close to paying for itself,” Lykins said.

Lykins also noted that there are uses for the system in other county departments such as the road commission and health department.

The information available through FetchGIS can also be customized by the county to include more or fewer details such as location of sewer infrastructure or electrical lines.

Upon approving to fund FetchGIS, the board also agreed to a data exchange between the county and the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

County parcel information will be shared with the state which will in exchange provide the latest aerial imagery of the area.

Lykins said the system would give the county a head start, because she believes that by December 2020, it will be required for all local units of government to provide online access to such information.

With board approval, FetchGIS is projected to be up and running by September, Lykins stated.

Trinity Carey can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is tcarey@miningjournal.net.