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Using GIS to assist decision-making.

GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM TECHNOLOGIES ARE MORE COMMON THAN EVER, so it's surprising that there are still very few appraisal professionals who utilize GIS for managing and analyzing property data sets with other relevant characteristics.


GIS is "a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, integrating, manipulating, analyzing and displaying data related to positions on the Earth's surface," according to the Association for Geographic Information, as cited in the Open Geospatial Consortium Glossary (


Seeing property information with related data sets in a map or geospatial context can be more beneficial than merely viewing the same data in a spreadsheet format. Adding a spatial component to data provides the opportunity to gain greater insight into those data and to see new patterns that might be less visible in a purely tabular or narrative presentation.


Here are some of the ways GIS can help solve appraisal problems and improve reporting communication:

CASE PROBLEM: you need to identify wetlands soil limitations and gain insight into the development potential for a highest- and best-use analysis problem.

SOLUTION: Chris Miner, MAI, SRA, of Greenfield Advisors in Seattle, suggests adding a GIS layer of the subject property boundary lines over a GIS layer of a wetland map. He does so with Maptitude GIS software.


CASE PROBLEM: You need to perform a retrospective appraisal of a home that was wiped out by a hurricane.

SOLUTION: Frank Lucco, SRA, of IRR-Residential Appraisers & Consultants in Houston, recommends obtaining photos of the subject and comps via Internet engines Bing or Google, then using GIS mapping for location and tax-record data and aerial imagery showing views before and after the storm.

CASE PROBLEM: You need to compare warehouse properties with differing transportation access.

SOLUTION: By providing an aerial image from Bing or Google of these differing access characteristics, you can likely demonstrate why the subject's access is superior or inferior to other properties in a market.

There are many other examples of applications emerging in the market to permit a more thorough analysis of data. Increasingly, appraisal professionals will utilize this type of analysis.

John Cirincione, SRA, is the Appraisal Institute's representative to MISMO for residential data standards and vice chair on MISMO's Property and Valuations Services Workgroup. He is the director of business development and alliances for JVI Appraisal Division LLC, in Lake Mary, Fla.

Mark Linne, MAI, SRA, is the executive vice president of analytics and education at AppraisalWorld, an online portal for emerging technologies in the appraisal industry. He is also an author, speaker, columnist, inventor, AVM expert, data standards proponent, software developer and veteran appraiser who has focused on technology, data and valuation modeling and their roles in appraisal practice. He is the author of the blog

Let us know how you are using GIS by sending your comments to

By John Cirincione, SRA, and Mark R. Linne, MAI, SRA
COPYRIGHT 2010 The Appraisal Institute
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2010 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:maps&comps
Author:Cirincione, John; Linne, Mark R.
Publication:Valuation Insights & Perspectives
Date:Mar 22, 2010
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