Between 2011 and 2013, MassGIS completed statewide standardization of assessor tax mapping (except for the city of Boston). Some communities began to maintain the standardized mapping. Others encountered challenges because the standardized mapping did not support a variety of municipal needs. MassGIS has been addressing these needs by funding enhancements to the standardized mapping in many communities.
Maintaining standardized parcel mapping is endorsed as a best practice by the Massachusetts Association of Assessing Officers (MAAO) and is recommended by the Department of Revenue’s (DOR) Bureau of Local Assessment (BLA). Just last month, the BLA released a new template for reporting “LA3” sales data (this report contains what are known as ‘arms-length’ or ‘market’ sales). Communities are required to report this information. The new template includes a column for, optionally, reporting LOC_IDs (explained below).
The objective of the Standardized Mapping Enhancement Initiative is to make it possible for communities in the Commonwealth to maintain standardized assessor parcel maps. Within this initiative, communities identify the enhancements their standardized mapping requires. They then request that MassGIS retain and pay for a contractor to implement those enhancements, such that it provides the same content as the map they are currently maintaining.
If requested enhancements are funded by MassGIS, a community must commit to requiring that the individual or company that maintains their maps do so in compliance with Level 3 of the MassGIS Digital Parcel Standard. This includes (1) adding the unique ID (the ‘LOC_ID’) from the standard to the assessor database (completed at no charge by CAMA system vendors, (2) annual updates of LOC_IDs in the CAMA system for new or changed parcels, and (3) providing a copy of the maps to MassGIS whenever they are updated (or annually, whichever is less frequent).
MassGIS is pleased to announce that 22 municipalities had their enhancement work completed in FY 2016 by one of six vendors. Work on an additional 39 municipalities has already been awarded for FY 2017.
At the Executive Board meeting of the MAAO held on September 16, 2014 the Board voted unanimously to issue the attached Statement on Standardized Assessor Tax Mapping.
The MAAO is dedicated to providing assistance and advice, along with strong educational programs, to aid the local assessor in the performance of their professional duties. The Executive Board of the MAAO feels strongly that standardized tax mapping will help to provide the tools necessary to assist local assessing jurisdictions in providing the tax payers of their community the type of service that they expect and deserve.
These web pages provide information for municipal assessors and others explaining the value of maintaining standardized parcel mapping. There is also a short explanation of the importance of adding the unique parcel identifier (the "LOC_ID") to your CAMA database. In addition, information to assist those maintaining standardized mapping is also provided. If after consulting these resources you still have questions on either of these topics, please contact Craig Austin at MassGIS
This standard for spatial accuracy and detail of assessor parcel mapping and related attribute information is for developing digital versions of assessor’s property maps for use in planning, property assessment, and map display. Version 2.1, Released May 2012
Many communities now offer GIS map information on-line, including assessing data and maps. This link takes you to a list of links to city and town web sites that offer on-line map information.