Before GIS implementation, the Municipality of Casablanca had data dispersed over the districts in paper format, and staff could not estimate the real value of its properties or locate them. Now, GIS allows digital storage of municipality data and the ability to query it.
GIS Technologies Empower Property Management in Casablanca
The Municipality of Casablanca and Casa Patrimoine
The Municipality of Casablanca needed an authoritative database on all city properties. This would become the municipality's single source of truth for decision-makers to have a clear understanding of current assets to plan for future growth.
Casa Patrimoine, a local development company, worked with Esri distributor Geomatic to oversee, collect, and create the GIS database. Geomatic staff used ArcGIS Collector, ArcGIS Enterprise, and ArcGIS Web AppBuilder to create a dashboard and property value application for the municipality.
The data collection and ArcGIS system configuration took almost two years to go live and be available to enhance the current business workflows for the Municipality of Casablanca in visualizing its properties and data on a map to better analyze and plan the sustainable growth of its communal assets.
Sitting on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and central-western Morocco is the city of Casablanca. This famed economic hub is home to over four million people and the site of one of the largest artificial ports in the world.
With a history spanning back to the 10th century BC, Casablanca has grown into the most prominent city in Morocco. As such, the Municipality of Casablanca recently initiated an ambitious development program to address current and future property challenges. While the program receives financial support from national and international partners, it is also dependent on self-financing through the municipality's portfolio of properties.
To support the program's growth, the Municipality of Casablanca designated Casa Patrimoine, a local development company, to be the project management office (PMO) for this project. For its service provider, Casa Patrimoine selected Geomatic, an Esri distributor in Morocco, to provide a wide range of geographic information system (GIS) solutions including distribution, implementation, and subject matter expertise. The team used GIS to address several of the program's key objectives including conducting and geospatially tracking the inventory of properties and assets. Another objective was to identify and evaluate the market value of targeted properties for purchase. With those key objectives identified, the end goal was to implement an authoritative geospatial data management system that will be used to store and analyze property data.
Casablanca is immense in size, with sparse distribution of communal properties, so the path to delivering a geospatial data management system would not be easy. Plus, there was a lack of consolidated and consistently formatted data—most of it was in paper format. Staff had to balance these current challenges while implementing a GIS database to meet their future needs. One such need was to account for a list of criteria for the valorization of properties. Among this criterion are location, zoning assignment, age, use, and condition.
"The evaluation of communal properties remains a task that is not easy to achieve or communicate," says Ahmed Taoufik Naciri, general manager of Casa Patrimoine.
To establish a valuation formula, project staff created a reference system under a general taxation direction, which would provide data on the unit price of construction and land.
Team members needed GIS to address three additional challenges. They needed to create a coherent database, identify the unknown locations of the city's dispersed properties, and filter through a variety of data provided from different sources.
The first step was a year-long data collection phase. "The data collection phase is essential to ensure the geographical location of the property, the actual status of the property, and all information related to the property," continues Naciri. "In addition, surveyors in the field are able to attach photos to increase data quality and facilitate data validation."
Once property data was collected, it was used to create a data layer to account for the valuation criteria. Other data layers included Land Use Plan, Cadastral Map, Esri basemaps, and drone imagery captured by Geomatic. All stakeholders agreed to keep the disparate data consolidated and up-to-date.
Esri solutions were deployed to meet the challenges. Esri's software can absorb all types of data collected in the field and from various institutions. Additionally, the move from paper to digital processes addressed the program's inventory challenges.
The team used ArcGIS Collector from Esri to digitize the data associated with each asset—information that was previously stored on paper administrative documents and cadastral plans. The app utilized a template format to integrate identification references such as land status, land title number, type of occupation and use, geographic coordinates, and images including photos and videos for each property.
Once the information was in ArcGIS Collector, team members leveraged Portal for ArcGIS from Esri for spatial inventoried properties data dissemination. They also created a set of widgets using ArcGIS Web AppBuilder to indicate each property's valuation. The combined GIS technologies worked together to serve as a property valuation application designed to automate the calculation of market value based on property price data and state of properties data from the Moroccan General Direction of Taxes.
The team also created a GIS dashboard that gives a clear perspective of actual rental prices for each property, displays all information related to the collected properties, and geoenables comparison to rental value of existing markets and properties in Casablanca.
The project was completed in two years. The majority of the properties owned by the Municipality of Casablanca has been inventoried and consolidated into a single GIS database. The GIS database, maps, apps, and dashboards continue to provide Casa Patrimoine staff with a clear understanding of their properties, enabling proactive management.
"The GIS database allows users to request various files concerning the properties and to know all the information related to it such as the history, state, photography, technical, legal, and administrative files," says Naciri. "This database is empowering decision-makers to better manage their assets by making informed decisions at the right time."
The GIS solution offers other benefits beyond providing property inventory tracking and estimation of market value. It helps the Municipality of Casablanca discover undervalued properties across the city. This new information empowers staff from Casa Patrimoine to review the rental prices of certain properties. The database also provides property managers with vital information for tenants such as monthly rent cost, contractual status, and payments history.
The luxury of easy-to-find information in the database and its location on a map has improved the city's overall ability to manage communal assets. "Before GIS implementation, the Municipality of Casablanca had data dispersed over the districts in paper format, and staff could not estimate the real value of its properties or locate them," continues Naciri. "Now, GIS allows digital storage of municipality data and the ability to query it."