Have you always been that snoopy neighbor that likes know what your neighbors houses are worth (to the city)? Thinking about buying or selling your house and need to know some specific information? Want to know who owns that slummy apartment? Thanks to many laws that have been created in the last 20 years many counties have GIS systems that allow you to have access to the information you are looking for. If you are computer savvy and live in or around the metro I won’t make you wait any longer to start digging.
Twin Cities GIS Sites
These are just a few that I could think of off the top of my head, even if you live out state or even in a different state these are pretty easy to find if you simply search your county or city or both. With as little information as an address you can find out all sorts of information that many people would consider controversial. Heck, if you are looking for trouble at work you should bring up somebodies property value over the water cooler and things will turn quite hostile quickly. Similar to public workers wages, this seems to really push peoples buttons of what should be publicly available especially with the ease over the internet.
Many of the benefits of having this system (that I see) is when you need information that you might not have one hand. If you are buying a house, tax information is usually much more accurate and legal compared with a realtor’s interpretation of what a room is/what livable space is. If you have a troublesome apartment complex near by that you’d like to complain to the landlord you can usually find the information quite quickly. I find this usually works much better than calling the police in situations involving housekeeping.
Have you ever looked up and used this vast amount of free information know as GIS? If so what did you use it for? What practical purposes can you think about using this service for? Any concerns about privacy?