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Aerial photo update 4/18/17

Weather forecasts show an opportunity to obtain air photos on Friday.  The flight crew will be prepping on site on  Thursday, in the hopes to complete the project Friday and over the weekend.
Fingers crossed that clouds cooperate! 


Aerial photo update

The contractor was able to collect aerial imagery for parts of the county on Friday 4/7/17.  However, the airplane had engine difficulties and the mission had to be cut short.  The rest of the county will be flown at the next good weather opportunity.


New aerial photography

A spring 2017 flight is being planned for Brown County.  This flight will occur as soon as snow and ice are gone, as weather conditions allow.  We are looking to fly before significant leaf on. 

These photos will be made into digital orthophotography which will become a map layer on our GIS sites, including the BrownDog site.    It is anticipated these photos will be online by this fall.
This year's flight is made possible through contributions by Brown County Municipalities, Wisconsin Public Service, and various county departments.  It is great that we all came together as a community to make this flight happen!

How to use the "swipe" tool to compare aerial photos or other layers

A lot of people use our GIS mapping to look for land use changes through time. The BrownDog interactive GIS map has a handy tool for this called the "Swipe" tool.

Follow the steps on the illustration below to learn how to use the 'swipe' tool. This example shows you how to compare the May 2014 aerial image to the Summer 1960 photo, but of course, you could choose to compare any of our aerial images.

How to measure using the BrownDog online GIS map

The BrownDog interactive GIS map has tools for measuring approximate lengths, acreages, and map coordinates.    Please contact a land surveyor if you need exact property measurements. Read carefully the initial popup message when you first open the online map: The GIS mapping is compiled from various sources believed to be reliable, but it is a general representation only and should not be used for legal or property determination purposes).

How to obtain measurements using the BrownDog interactive GIS map:

1)  Use existing mapped features such as text, lines, and polygons on the parcel map:
  • After zooming to a parcel of interest, you'll see the parcel dimensions as text on most of the parcel boundary lines.  The map text reflects the recorded document we have on file at the county (plat, CSM, deed, etc). 
    • Abbreviations used:
      •  M/L or +/-   =  More or Less
      • to S/L  =  To Section Line or other Government Line
      • C/L  =  To Centerline
      • '  =  Feet
      •  RODS or RDS:   Unit of measure, 1 Rod = 16.5 feet.
      • CH:  Chain (unit of measure).  1 chain = 66 feet
      • WLY = "Westerly"  NLY = "Northerly"   ELY = "Easterly" SLY = "Southerly".
      • ROW or R/W = "Right of Way" sometimes noted in measurements.
      • PCL = Parcel
      • ALG = Along
    • If you want to darken the parcel text:  In the Layer List, click the three dots ( .... ) to the right of the layer named Parcels.  This will bring up an option to set Transparency.  Drag the slider bar to the left to make the parcel text darker (opaque).
  • Most parcels also show acreage or square footage as text display with a fuchsia color. The area measurements are taken from the recorded plat, CSM, or deed associated with the parcel.
    • Abbreviations used:
      • SF = Square Feet
      • AC = Acres
  • Click on the parcel boundary to "select" (highlight in blue) the line of interest and view a popup box showing the approximate length of the line you clicked on. 
  • Click the interior of a parcel to "select" (highlight in blue) the entire parcel and view a popup box that will display, among other things, the size of the parcel.  
    • The size is based on the tax listing roll and may or may not include road right of way
2)  Draw a new shape to make a measurement using the BrownDog "Measure" tools.  Here's how:
  • Click the Measurement button (the upper left button with a ruler shape on it), then click one of the three buttons to set a measurement type (area, distance or location), then click on the map to draw your shape.  For lines & areas, a "single click" with your left mouse button will create an angle point (vertex), and a "double click" will finalize the shape and then show the measurement of it.  You can change the unit of measure (acres, feet, miles, meters, etc)  with the drop-down list that will appear on the measurement screen.   Again, keep in mind that this is not a very precise method and you should call a surveyor if you need more than just an estimated measurement.
  • BrownDog also has a "Draw & Measure" tool on the upper right (also shaped like a ruler).  This tool is useful if you want to create a map PDF or printout which includes your drawing & measurement.   Click this button, then select a draw mode (point marker, line, area, etc).  To see the size of the shape you drew, check on the "Show Measurements" option near the bottom of the Draw & Measure toolbox. Also, choose units of measure. Then start drawing your shape on the map.  This will put text on the map next to your shape.  For Area, the text will include the area measurement as well as the perimeter.  Experiment with drawing the various shape options (each type requires you operate your mouse in a slightly different way). 


BrownDog search pointers

The new BrownDog interactive GIS map will quickly fetch information for you. A few pointers on how to use the search tools to retrieve a property or map of interest to you (woof!)

Simple Search (address or parcel ID number)
Most people have an address in mind when searching our records.  Others may have a parcel ID number.  The simple search lets you enter an address or parcel ID number in the search box on the upper left.  Then simply click "enter" on your keyboard to zoom to your location of interest.

Advanced Search
Click on the Advanced Search button directly underneath the simple search input box (scroll to the bottom of this article to see the screen shot if you can't find it).  After pressing this button, the following list of search options appear.  Most contain a search entry box or pick list, after entering your search text click the green "Execute" button to perform the search.  Many of the advanced search results will appear as a new layer in your layer list, which may be helpful for the map you are creating.  Also, you may need to use the tabs and/or back arrow that will appear near the top of the advanced search box to switch between search results and input screens.
  • Parcel ID search:  Similiar do the Parcel ID search on the simple search box, except with advanced search you can scroll through a list of similar parcel ID numbers and then click to zoom to each.
  • Land Owner search:  Before you begin with this type of search: Our privacy policy requires you first register on this page (click here)  to request a login and password via email.  Once you have received your login & password, you can search by land owner name (you'll be prompted to enter the user name & password when you use this tool).   Enter the land owner's last name (or business name). You are not required to enter the land owner's first name, but this option is available to help you narrow down your search if needed.  Another way to narrow down your search geographically is to use a "spatial filter", where you can zoom to a specific area first, then set the spatial filter to "only return features within the current map extent" to bring up land owners only within your zoom extent.  The default spatial filter setting will return land owners within the entire county.   
  • Address / common name search:  Search business names or other landmarks. Initial results are a subset from which you can choose the final location to zoom to. For example, a Common Name search on McDonalds will list all of these restaurants along with the address & city; From this list click on which McDonalds you want to zoom to it on the map.
  • Street search:  Enter a street name or pick the drop-down list to get a list of all streets in & near Brown County (by municipality). Clicking in the results list will highlight the street you chose and zoom to it on the map.
  • Subdivision / CSM search:  Enter a subdivision name (partial name is OK) then press the green Execute button.  If searching for a CSM (Certified Survey Map) number or Register of Deeds Document Number, you may enter and click "Execute". 
  • PLSS search:  The best way to use this search option is to click the drop-down box to get a list of all Town, Range, and Section number combinations available in Brown County, then click "Execute" to zoom to the section you chose.  You can also start typing and then choose from the options that appear.  This works for Town/Range/Section PLSS (Public Land Survey System) types as well as Brown County's Private Claims, Williams Grant, Fort Howard Military Reserve lots, etc.  The search result will highlight in red and appear in your layer list as a PLSS search result. 
  • Park search:  Type a park name or click the drop-down box to choose from a list of all parks in Brown County.  The results will zoom you to the park address and list the amenities available within the park (whether it has a shelter, playground, sports facilities, and more).
  • School search: Enter a school name or pick from the list then click the green execute button to zoom to the school property. 
  • POWTS search:  Enter the county zoning internal number for the POWTS (Private Onsite Waste Treatment System).  Note:  This type of search is intended for plumbers/installers and others who use this internal number.  If you simply want to look at what system is available on a particular property, use the address search, or another method to find & zoom to the property of interest.  Then simply turn on the POWTS layer in the layer list. This will show the POWTS system on the property.  Click on the system symbol to bring up the type of system and other information about it. 
The above summarizes the types of searches available at the time of this writing (3/3/2017). Other searches may be added in the future, and the above searches may be improved.   
How the search tools first appear on the BrownDog interactive GIS mapping app

Of course, with GIS, there is a different way to find information about a location even if you don't know an address or any of the other search options above:  You can always use the map navigation tools to zoom to an area of interest & then just click on on the map to call up the various popup boxes.  In other words, just zoom in, then poke at the map to call up information.

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact the Brown County Land Information Office at (920) 448-6295 or send a message.


Continued improvements on the BrownDog app

The "BrownDog" online GIS app continues to be developed.  This app will work on any computer device, including iPhones and iPad.  BrownDog is an alternative for those who cannot use our older GeoPrime flex app.

Some of the latest enhancements to the BrownDog online app include:
  • Search by Land Owner Name (available through the Advanced Search button).  This type of search requires a password which is available through the registration form link at the top of the app. 
  • Other enhanced search capabilities using the basic search box and the advanced search button.
  • More map layers and more control over the layer display.  For example, click the ... (ellipses) to the right of the layer name to adjust layer transparency. 
  • Better popup window displays.
 In the coming year, more enhancements to the online GIS sites are planned.


New Brown County map includes 2016 population estimates, land cover

A new Brown County map was recently published as a downloadable PDF:
This map includes major roads and municipal boundaries as well as 2016 population estimates for each municipality.  General land cover classifications show developed, agricultural and forest lands colored in green & gold (of course!).  Land cover is based on the Wiscland2 dataset.  As a final touch:  A 'hillshade' effect was lightly applied to show topographic relief.

Here is a preview of what you'll get when you download the PDFs:


Changes Coming to Brown County's Land Information Web Sites

Some news regarding Brown County's land information web sites:
  • The Property Search site will be getting an overhaul in 2017.  Our Property Search site has changed little since it launched about 15 years ago, but the time has come for change.  This site runs on tables stored in a 33-year-old AS/400 system which is slated for replacement in the coming year, and with that, the Property Search web site will also see some changes.   The new site will have the same information as the old (possibly more) and will of course link to the new GIS site for the map.   More details to come.
  • GeoPrime will be replaced:  Although GeoPrime is Brown County's most-used GIS web mapping site, it has to be phased out  because the technology it is based on is no longer being supported.  GeoPrime will likely be shut down completely by 2018.
  • Plans for the new GIS mapping websites:
    • A new "basic" GIS site will be launched in the coming months.  Check back for the link when it becomes available.  This new site will have mostly the same functions and simple 'look and feel' that GeoPrime has.  Some of the benefits of the new site include:  It will have much faster performance;  It will have 'responsive design' meaning it will work well on any web or mobile device including iPhones; Buttons and the map view will adapt to the screen size;  It will use the Javascript API, which won't require 'plugins' to run ( just know it will make your IT security people happy!). 
    • A new "advanced" GIS site is also being developed.  This site is not finished, but it is available now;   Click here to check it out.  For lack of a better name, we are calling it the "BrownDog". Why BrownDog, you ask?   Well, 1) because we couldn't come up with a better name that has anything to do with Brown County that wasn't boring and 2) because we like dogs (that is a photo of Sunny, my Golden Retriever on the thumbnail image. She's not quite brown in color but close enough and definitely cute enough, I think!).  The advanced site will use the same technology and base data as the basic viewer, but it will have many more functions & features to keep the tech-savvy people happy.  Like the Survey Index, this app is based on Esri's Web Appbuilder which makes it easy to add new features.
    • The above sites are designed for multiple purposes & general GIS use.  As you probably know, we also offer other more 'focused' maps and apps including:
 If you would like to provide some input or feedback, feel free to send a note!

 Sunny the BrownDog (OK...Golden, close enough!)


Land Owned by the Green Bay Packers

Parcels of land owned by the Green Bay Packers

Click to view interactive map
How to use the interactive map:
  • Zoom in (tip: Use your mouse wheel to zoom in / out)
  • Click on each parcel to view more details (assessed values, acreage, links to other real estate documents, and more).  You can view this information for adjacent parcels as well. Assessment values are the most current available at Brown County; Assessment values are updated each spring/summer via the municipal assessor.
  • Click Layers (blue button to the upper left of the map)  to interactively view this area with older aerial photography and historic parcel data. This will allow you to view the development of this area from 1938-present and see how land ownership has changed.
More interesting facts about this area:
  • The parcel on which Lambeau Field is located is not owned by the Packers (it is owned by the City of Green Bay).
  • Most of the highlighted parcels west of Lambeau Field will become part of the Titletown District development starting in 2016.  The Titletown District is in Ashwaubenon.
  • Many of the smaller parcels south of the stadium were converted from residential lots to parking lots over the last 5 years.
Source / More Info:


Future Projects

Land Information Officers across Wisconsin are busy drafting 3-year strategic plans.  This is one of the requirements of the state program.

In Brown County, we collected feedback and needs from many users of the GIS system and this is being compiled into our 3-year plan.  Over 180 responses were received from the online survey conducted through this blog and the Brown County GIS site this past summer and fall.  All of this input is much appreciated!

The detailed plan is in the works but the overall project areas to focus on over the next 3 years are shaping up as follows:

Six  major project areas are to be in focus over the next 3 years:

1.      Land Records System (AS/400) replacement and data improvements

2.      PLSS & Parcel Map Framework improvements
3.      Addressing & Street data completion and improvements
4.      Other Foundational Element Layer updates and enhancements
5.      Internet  Access,  Programming/ Automation and GIS Server enhancements
6.      Administrative, Staffing & Budget Policy improvements

If you're interested in more details, the strategic plan will be available online in draft format soon for review.  I know these plans aren't a lot of fun to read (or write!) but they do help guide the future of our program, which in turn helps you get your work done more effectively. Your continued feedback is always appreciated.