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Multimillion Dollar Program Relies on Esri Software

Tennessee Begins First-of-Its-Kind GIS Basemapping Project

The State of Tennessee has set in motion its four-year, $30 million Base Mapping Project, the goal of which is to provide a standard screen shot of Tennessee basemapping projectdigital basemap for GIS, mapping, and other application areas used by State and county agencies. The project will develop a comprehensive spatial database that consists of a foundation of digital orthoimagery at multiple resolution and a seamless, State-wide cadastral layer. It will dramatically move GIS to the leading edge of technology in the State of Tennessee. Esri is one of the team members on the winning proposal along with EarthData International and Smart Data Strategies (SDS), both Esri Business Partners.

Above right: The state of Tennessee Base Mapping Project is the largest undertaking of its kind and will dramatically improve parcel data update cycles.

The State is providing 75 percent of the funding, with 25 percent of the funding coming from local participation in the form of local government consortiums. These consortiums may involve municipal and county agencies, emergency service organizations, and public and private utilities. The resulting database and digital basemap will include digital orthoimagery at two scales (1:4,800 and 1:1,200) and associated attribute data provided by participating organizations.

Users will be able to access the digital imagery and parcel data and will also be able to access the Comptroller's Computer-Aided Assessment System (CAAS), which is used by 90 of 95 counties in valuation for the assessment of property. The intent of the program is to create parcel data in communities where needed and partner with local governments who have previously created their own parcel data. The ultimate goal is to have a single, comprehensive parcel database for the entire State of Tennessee.

Esri will provide data dissemination tools for local and state governments via ArcIMS screen shot showing orthoimage with parcel database information superimposed on topand ArcSDE. For the day-to-day maintenance, ArcInfo and ArcView will be used by State agencies.

The Digital database will allow users to display data sets on top of the orthoimagery and parcel database.

"The State of Tennessee is working to provide a comprehensive infrastructure for both State, local, and even federal agencies who currently use or will use GIS data," says Mark Tuttle, director of GIS Services, State of Tennessee. "This initiative seeks to provide a single standard framework for agencies to work together and build the finest possible digital basemap available, and our partnership with Esri is a key aspect of this effort."

The State GIS Standard

"Since the State named the Esri product line as a State standard for GIS in 1992," says Jack Dangermond, Esri president. "Esri has been committed to State of Tennessee OIR - GIS Services Base Mapping web sitecontinue its GIS efforts supporting the State of Tennessee with software, services, and consulting to the many different organizations participating in this effort. We believe this project is unique among State activities, and Tennessee's leadership will spark a new trend among State agencies, who will recognize the benefits that can occur from this kind of collaborative effort."

Right: The State of Tennessee GIS Services Web site.

Local assessor's offices, emergency services, planning, utilities, tax departments, and other offices all can use the parcel-level data on a daily basis. State agencies need detailed data on parcels in a multijurisdictional aspect, for emergency services for instance, in the event of a tornado or flood event. Natural disasters, as well as economic development, do not necessarily recognize the traditional lines on a map and do not end or stop at a municipal limit or county boundary.

Attribute data is currently stored in database and mainframe formats. These legacy systems will be migrated into a distributed environment with group and networked servers across the State, from tabular systems to relational database systems.

"This is the largest undertaking of its kind," says Mitch Maddox, Esri Tennessee representative. "This project will streamline the parcel updating process and result in dramatic improvements in parcel data update cycles."

The resulting digital database will allow users to display other data sets on top of the orthoimagery and parcel database, as long as the digital data is in the same coordinate system and has similar spatial accuracy. Additional data can be developed directly from the digital imagery. For example, building footprints can be traced from the orthoimages and vegetation cover, such as tree stands. If the object can be seen on the image, it can be traced into a digital format.

"The data built from this project will be a huge benefit to Tennessee citizens," says Bradley Dugger, chief, Office for Information Resources. "Counties will be able to provide access via the Web, and citizens can begin to ask spatial questions, for example, where you go to vote; where you pick up planning permits; and where schools, hospitals, law enforcement centers, and other services are located. There are so many benefits that can be realized from this project, it's exciting."

Montgomery County

Montgomery County is an example of how the Tennessee Base Mapping Project can benefit State government, local government, and its citizens. Montgomery County was one of the first pilot/test counties in the State's Base Mapping Project and chose to form a consortium to take advantage of the State's digital data delivery to the Montgomery County Assessor of Property Office. The Clarksville-Montgomery County Geographic Information Center represents a three-party partnership between the City of Clarksville, Montgomery County, and Austin Peay State University. It was established on July 1, 1998, to create an operating Enterprise GIS to consolidate, automate, standardize, exchange, update, and analyze the information for both the City of Clarksville and Montgomery County departments and their agencies that use Esri software. The Clarksville/Montgomery County (CMC) GIS Center was initiated as a response to State of Tennessee initial efforts to convert State-wide hard-copy paper maps to digital format and supplied digital data.

The activity of the CMC GIS Center helps to apply innovative digital technology to almost any sphere of activities within the City and the County. The CMC GIS Center has organized data sets, created metadata, and developed new geotechnological products within the Esri environment.

For more information, visit the State of Tennessee GIS Services Web site at or the Clarksville/Montgomery County GIS Center Web site at

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