Around the same time that Google was getting a lot of attention and flack for pushing parcel linework into their Google Maps application, First American Spatial Solutions (FASS) was also out promoting their ParcelPoint® GIS database and associated technologies. Back in June, FASS issued a press release on their nationwide parcel database containing over 120 millions parcels. With the total now closer to 122 million, Scott Little, vice president and general manager of FASS talks about his company’s plans and how the Google release is a good thing for the GIS field (and no, they aren’t the company supplying Google with its parcel database).
Tell us a little bit about what First American Spatial Solutions is all about?
First American Spatial Solutions (FASS) develops a variety of premium data layers, solutions and analytics to help businesses solve specific problems. This includes ParcelPoint®, the largest digital parcel layer available, hazard layers and models, and a highly accurate geocoder.
What are First American Spatial Solutions’ reactions to the recent addition of parcel linework to Google Maps?
We think it’s great that Google recognizes the value of parcels and believe they are bringing more awareness to a variety of data sets and spatial layers. We expect that this awareness will increase interest in many of our solutions that are built upon our parcel data.
How does First American Spatial Solutions see this impacting the GIS industry?
The public will benefit from having access to more information and applications for no cost. In the GIS community, we’ll see an increase in general knowledge about GIS as more applications are developed for individual consumers to use on a daily basis and they become more aware of what’s possible. This creates opportunity for GIS-based businesses. We think this will continue to drive the discussion about the value of a highly accurate and well-maintained national cadastre.
How does First American Spatial Solutions respond to those concerned with private industries generating revenue off of data created with public tax dollars?
It’s important to note that the raw data is only a part of the ultimate solutions that FASS is providing. We take the data and enhance it to make it all work together in a way that increases the value of the data—and this additional value is what the customer pays for. Additionally, many of the products and solutions we provide have benefit within the community—i.e. accurate risk assessment for 911 applications, improvements to navigation systems, disaster recovery/response and more.
How does First American ensure the accuracy and currency of over 122 million parcels on a nationwide level?
Accuracy and currency are extremely important to us. We have dedicated research and acquisition teams that are in regular contact with the data providers at the county and township level. We have rigorous quality control and accuracy standards to ensure that we only provide the best possible data to our customers. We’re actually one of our own largest customers—we use the parcel data internally over 40K times per day. We are able to utilize the full breadth of the First American Corporation to obtain data and have developed a maintenance program to ensure that at least 75 percent of the database is updated annually.
What role does First American see itself playing in bridging the gap between the creation of geographic data at the local agency level and access to that data by the public?
We see other players such as Google bridging this gap for general public consumption. At FASS, our focus is really on providing premium solutions for solving business problems. We work with a variety of companies in various industries including underwriting, telecommunication, utility, energy and others to help them run their operations more effectively and more efficiently.
First American Spatial Solutions – http://www.faspatial.com