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Access to Information is a Key Component in Forest Management

Deeds layer in our GIS system

The deeds layer in our GIS system is being used in a new shared database to quickly find out details about each property.

May 2014, Ryan McKillop, Inventory Forester –

There’s probably enough paper in our office that if we stacked it all up it would reach the top of our two-story building.  And as old as this Company is, some of the office files look like they date back to biblical times!

Still, historical documents and information are considered somewhat sacred around here, so only a small portion ever gets thrown out.  These days, more and more businesses are converting their piles of papers into digital format, not only to save space and time, but to have virtual copies stored in tiny memory chips on a server.

Recently, we decided to undertake a project which would bring all of our Lands information into this new digital age.  Julie Kerr has been busy scanning the hundreds of Deeds while I have developed a new data layer in our GIS so that lands information can be linked to each parcel we own and manage.

Additionally, Dan Kruger is working on taking the data and creating a searchable, user-friendly database in FileMaker Pro, that provides one click access to the scanned documents.  With this new system, what used to take some serious time digging around in various semi-organized files and binders, will take only minutes to access.

Some of the types of information that will be incorporated into this system will be parcel maps, deeds, road easements, right-of-ways, agreements, leases, facilities and mineral/water rights.  The ultimate goal is to be able to click on a map and have instant access to all kinds of current and historical documents and information critical to good forest management.

Another way to use it is if you know the property’s name, parcel number, legal description, deed number, or any other database field, you will simply be able to type it in, look at the results, and open up any of the linked documents.

This tool will likely be expanded on in the years to come, but we’re off to a good start, and it’s quite an improvement in efficiency and preservation of information.  Clicking on any one of these parcels brings up all the relevant information about that property.

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