WRC Completes Parcel Map for Somerset
The Town of Somerset, the last town in the Windham Region without parcel maps (commonly known as “tax maps”) now has a map and GIS data showing the location of all properties in town. Somerset is unincorporated, has a year-round population of only six, and over 90 percent of the land area is owned by the U.S. Forest Service or power company TransCanada. Still, it has 35 landowners whose property boundaries were collectively unmapped until now.
Creating a parcel map of Somerset was made easier because that many of the privately-owned parcels were on two survey maps, and nearly all are bordered by lands of the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF). The GMNF boundaries have been surveyed, monumented, and blazed. Recording the boundary locations with a GPS unit meant that the survey maps could be easily “geo-referenced,” or located precisely on the Earth.
WRC’s GIS Planner, Jeff Nugent, spent a few weekends hiking and skiing the woods of Somerset with maps and GPS in hand, looking for property lines. One interesting discovery was that the location of the northeast corner of Somerset—a corner the town shares with Stratton—as represented in Vermont’s GIS data was about 500 feet off.
Using this GPS data, survey maps, information gleaned from locals, the U.S. Forest Service, TransCanada, and a forest management map for a private landowner, GIS parcel data conforming to Vermont’s new Parcel Data Standard were created in ArcGIS software, and data were linked to the Town’s grand list via each parcel’s SPAN (School Parcel Account Number).
Final products include: a 24x36-inch map showing parcel number, owner name, and the confidence in the location of each parcel line; an 11x17 map; an on-line map; and GIS parcel data meeting the new Vermont Parcel Data Standards. Data will be available through the Vermont Center for Geographic Information web site, from WRC’s web site in KMZ (Google Earth-compatible) format, and in an ArcGIS On-line data viewer. Information can be accessed here.
Contributors include: John Whitman, Readsboro, Vt.; Bernie Bellmare and Winker Gates, Somerset, Vt. residents; Chris Crafts, Somerset lister; and Jeff Nugent, Windham Regional Commission GIS staff. The survey maps used were created by Stuart Dauchy, the US Forest Service, TransCanada, and New England Power Company. Funding that supported creating the data and maps was provided by the Town of Somerset.