Drive-thru property appraisals streamline data collection
Historically, real estate appraisers in Johnson County, Kansas went to each structure, took pictures, then entered them into a system when they were back at their desktop computers. This year, however, the county has gone digital.
As a result, evaluators will get more and better images, do their work online, and only go to places that need further verification. The result will save about $2 million, said county assessor Beau Boisvert.
“Two people doing 1 mile drive – both sides of the road – it took us just over 20 minutes to do both sides, stop and go,” Boisvert said of the previous workout. “An appraiser drove the car. The other was sitting in the car with the [SLR] camera, and when they got to each house, they stopped to take a picture. It’s 20 minutes for one mile.
In contrast, between December 2021 and January, drivers took four CycloMedia Technology vehicles equipped with five cameras and a roof-mounted LiDAR unit and automatically captured images every 16 feet while adhering to the speed limit, a said Alex Hepp, director of corporate valuation. . All five cameras are triggered at the same time, capturing 100-megapixel 360-degree footage as well as static footage. In total, drivers covered over 4,000 miles of road and collected over 1.4 million recording points (those points at 16-foot intervals) in addition to approximately 190,000 JPEGs.
CycloMedia hosts the images in a secure Microsoft Azure cloud-based server and can integrate with county verification software, powered by Tyler Technologies. Using application programming interfaces, evaluators can move data from CycloMedia to the Tyler Mass Evaluation System. There, the county’s seven appraisers – Johnson said there will be 20 by the end of June – can determine if anyone has made any changes to the property that could affect its value. They also use the 360 degree views to look around the neighborhood to see if any changes have occurred that would affect the rating.
Now, every trip by appraisers to the field tends to be to update data, said Jake Wilson, director of Tyler Verify, Appraisal and Tax. “So rather than going out and measuring an entire street and finding out, ‘Hey, I really only had to make a couple of changes’, you can now deal with it more effectively in the office.”
The county is required to appraise 17% of its 260,000 properties each year, covering all of them over a six-year period. “When we award the work, each appraiser gets their percentage of that 17% in their market areas, and then they have to review it, and then hand over the documentation after making the changes or corrections in the systems,” Boisvert said. They also note when nothing has changed on the property, he added.
Currently, the county is putting all JPEGs into the system, he said.
One of the main benefits is the ability to enhance images internally. “We can actually look at the images and often, if one is a little dark or a little bright depending on the angle of the sun, we can adjust that ourselves without sending it back to Cyclomedia and Tyler to take a new picture” “, said Boisvert. “We are able to correct [that] ourselves before integrating them into our system for JPEGs. Previous systems I’ve worked with, you weren’t able to do this yourself. »
Additionally, the technology automatically blurs faces and license plates to protect privacy. If reviewers capture an image that needs additional blurring, they can click a button indicating the problem, and CycloMedia fixes it, Hepp said.
The county also analyzes other images such as aerial and orthogonal views. He has worked with Tyler’s Mass Appraisal System for approximately 30 years to study the physical features that make up the building and help calculate the cost and sales market to determine the appraised value of the property.
But because CycloMedia captures more than a resident’s property in its images, other departments and jurisdictions can take advantage of the data. For example, in Coral Gables, Florida, officials used CycloMedia images to examine several city assets: storm drains, signs, sidewalks, curbs and gutters, ramps, and wheelchair-accessible pedestrian roadways.
Other uses of imagery include simulations of natural disasters. In Wake County, North Carolina, officials have turned to analytics and machine learning to make more accurate assessments.
Currently, three Johnson County employees from other departments are being trained on the technology, Boisvert said. “I anticipate that in the future many more of our jurisdictions will use it,” he said. “There’s a lot of value in that.”
Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in Northern Virginia.