Database integration part and parcel of Ontario project

Public and private sector resources are investing $8.5 million in a project to create a digital parcel mapping database.

The Ontario Government, the Municipal Property Assessment Corp.

(MPAC) Teranet Enterprises have formed an alliance which they say will offer benefits across the board. The database, known as Ontario Parcel, should take about two and a half years to build.

Under the current system each group is keeping its own data, according to Brian Maloney, surveyor general of Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, which is acting on behalf of the provincial government. While each groups uses the data in a particular fashion, he says there was a fair bit of duplication nonetheless and everyone stands to benefit from the agreement.

As a paper-based operation MPAC, Maloney says, will save by going to an automated digital system. MPAC, among other things, prepares the annual assessment roll for use by a municipality in calculating property taxes.

“”On the government side of the equation, this agreement will make access to parcel data for all of our ministries and the non-profit corporations which allows them to take advantage of the parcel fabric, whereas they couldn’t get it in the past without paying fairly exorbitant rates,”” Maloney says.

“”The other big winners are the municipalities of the province in that they either have not had access to parcel mapping in the past or they have been doing their own. This agreement will end up seeing the municipalities get access to parcel mapping on a no-cost basis.””

None of the $8.5 million will be spent on hardware or software. Maloney says all three organizations are investing independently in infrastructure to store it the data. Bonnie Foster, Teranet’s vice-president corporate communications, says once the all the data has been collected it should total about 10GB stored in Oracle Spatial and calls it one of the biggest digital graphics databases in the world.

“”We’ll have four million assessment properties in it, several hundred thousand crown properties stored. So when you think about the land mass of Ontario compared to a lot of single jurisdictions in the world that manage that amount of land, it’s a pretty big database,”” Foster says.

Maloney says a lot of hard work lies ahead before the project is done.

“”The biggest challenge is the disparate sets of data. We’re trying to pull together three sets of data and it’s not all perfect. It’s all been built to different standards, built at different times,”” he says. “”There’s going to be some significant challenges for our contractors to pull that together and make it meaningful and have it properly integrated with our other land information.””

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