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Is there a simple way one could relate GIS (Geographical Information System) and property tax?

The expanded form of GIS indicates that it gives information regarding real world features (both man-made and natural), such as forests, buildings, rivers, roads, etc. Property (in the real estate sense) represents features on the Earth’s surface which are claimed for their ownership, for example buildings, land etc.

In a country with a quickly growing population like India, the demand for property keeps increasing, leading to rapid changes in land-use and corresponding rise in the construction of buildings. Maintaining and controlling the details of all property, in the traditional record keeping way, is a herculean task. GIS is a technology that can help contain this issue to a very good extent.

How could GIS help in efficient implementation of property tax?

GIS is a powerful technology that enables users to collect a range of information into a single window, including, for example the ownership details of the property, number of floors in a building, location details, tax amount, date of previous payments, etc.

It maintains a rich combination of spatial and non-spatial data. Preparation of such a GIS broadly includes the following steps:

  • A field survey of the area to collect information regarding the property
  • Preparation of the digital maps, with the help of scanned hard copy maps, and placing the parcel (buildings, land etc.) information with the help of the aerial imagery
  • Linking the field surveyed data against its respective parcels
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The system is implemented after passing all quality checking steps, and can be programmed to send automated notices to tax payers about pending dues, thereby reduces the frequency of field visits for complaint redressal and other assessment purposes. It is necessary to maintain and update the property records on a regular basis, in order for the GIS system to continue being fully efficient. An efficient GIS can not only help local civic bodies monitor property taxes, but also facilitate sharing of information between various departments, resulting in a better local governance.

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