Mapping the Future of GIS

At ParcelQuest, we have a lot of valuable tools in our parcel data toolkit. Our unique relationship with county assessors in all 58 California counties means we get the most up-to-date parcel boundaries and ownership information. And our dedicated hand-drawn cadastral mapping team ensures that those updates are reflected immediately in our maps, so every ParcelQuest user has access to the most up-to-date California property data in the universe.

But one thing we don’t have is a crystal ball. Or a divining rod. Until we figure out how to make parcel-specific Tarot cards for predicting the future, we have to make educated guesses about what will happen next in the realm of geographic information system technology and parcel search.

Lucky for us, our guesses are pretty good thanks to our team of super smart, super insightful, and super modest GIS experts. We picked their brains for some insights to share about what’s most exciting in geographic information right now, and what they wish more people understood about GIS.

Our All-Star Mapping Team

Our ParcelQuest GIS team is led by Denise Tober, a GIS veteran whose career began in a California county assessor’s office in the 1980s. Today, she’s on the Board of Directors for the California Geographic Information Association (CGIA) and stays on the leading edge of GIS developments.

Her daughter Tracy has been with us since the early 2000’s, working in GIS after growing up fascinated by her mom’s world of maps and drafting tables and majoring in Geography/Land Use Planning. Tracy is involved with the CGIA membership and engagement committees. She spends her time at PQ maintaining parcel basemaps and managing our feature service, PQ Gateway.

Rounding out our team is Michael Arreguin, a GIS Analyst and Developer whose academic career in Archaeology led him to explore other disciplines using GIS in innovative ways. He’s also a member of the CGIA and spends his days at ParcelQuest reimagining workflows and implementing innovative solutions that delight ParcelQuest customers.

What Should More People Know About GIS?

Somehow, not everyone in the universe has caught on yet about how fascinating parcel data is. For those of us in the know, though, the beauty of well-drawn maps and geospatial analysis shines through. We asked our team about some of the things they wished more people understood about GIS and parcel data.

Michael said, “I wish people knew how accessible GIS is and how much they use GIS and parcel data in their everyday life.”

Denise pointed out the biggest one: GIS is more than the tools used by developers. She said, “GIS is a technology based on science that pulls together multiple sources of information into an understandable visual product.” It’s a frame of mind, a life philosophy if you will, with unlimited capacity for growth as our understanding of the world deepens and technology improves.

In fact, as Tracy explained, GIS technology can even take us to the stars: “GIS was used to map out the surface of Mars and pave the way for rovers to eventually land on its surface. Isn’t that cool?!”

It IS cool, Tracy. Maybe we should get ready to start mapping parcels on Mars…

Exciting Trends and Advancements in GIS

We asked our team about what’s around the corner in GIS mapping and parcel search, and what they’re most excited about right now. Close to home, Denise is pleased to see Esri’s parcel mapping product, ArcGIS Pro, in action. ArcGIS Pro (or ArcPro, to its friends) is a full-featured tool for exploring, visualizing, and analyzing data as well as creating 2D and 3D maps and sharing them online or through the ArcGIS Enterprise portal.

Michael has been keeping an eye on GIS applications using augmented reality to help visualize information from multiple perspectives. He sees the potential in AR for everything from car navigation to infrastructure maintenance, providing a more intuitive context for analyzing the world.

Another high-tech GIS application Michael’s particularly excited for is digital twinning. As he explained, “A digital twin is a digital replica of some area/object of interest, be it a city, energy plant, a car, and so forth. The digital twin allows users to simulate various scenarios (flooding, fire, traffic, path of development, and much more) in addition to monitoring via internet of things (IoT) devices. More and more, we’re seeing the integration between AR and digital twins.”

Tracy is most excited about advancements in real-time GIS. She said, “It allows you to connect, analyze, and stream data from real-time data feeds. Jack Dangermond described real-time GIS as becoming ‘the nervous system of the planet,’ helping us to monitor its health and correct trends that need correcting. This is a huge societal benefit and GIS can be a way to help change and heal the world.”

ParcelQuest might not heal the world. But we can give vital tools and information to the people poised to do just that, and that’s almost as good. If you want to know more about what we’re cooking up in our parcel lab or are ready to integrate our parcel data into your Esri ecosystem to bring your ArcGIS game to the next level, give us a call—888-217-8999.

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