State Cartographer's Office constructs public statewide Digital Parcel Database of Wisconsin

A snapshot of the 2nd and newest version of the Wisconsin parcel dataset.
A snapshot of the 2nd and newest version of the Wisconsin statewide digital parcel database, an exciting and unique resource that is freely available for public download and use.

Staff at the State Cartographer’s Office (SCO) recently completed a second version of Wisconsin’s statewide digital parcel database. This GIS database contains information on ownership, tax assessment, zoning, property class, and other attribute for about 3.5 million parcels in the state. The first version of the database—also constructed by SCO—was released a year ago.

The parcel database project is part of the Statewide Parcel Map Initiative, a sustainable, multi-year program to deliver up-to-date tax parcel data to the state’s citizens. The Initiative resulted from Act 20, the state’s 2013-15 biennial budget, and is being led by the Wisconsin Land Information Program at the Department of Administration (DOA).

The SCO’s role in the Parcel Initiative is to ingest, process, and integrate GIS parcel data developed and maintained by Wisconsin’s 72 county Land Information Offices. The team at the SCO includes several student assistants who work closely with staff from the SCO, DOA, and county offices.

Wisconsin is one of a handful of states in the country with a public statewide parcel database and a sustainable program to support it. Parcel data is one of the most widely-used of all GIS datasets, and meets the needs of federal, state and local governments, the property assessment community, researchers, students, non-profits, and businesses. Many of these needs are discussed in the National Research Council report “National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future” which argues that parcel data is an information-rich GIS database offering a high return-on-investment ratio for a broad range of uses.

The Wisconsin database is freely available to the public through an online app or as a GIS file download.

More information on the parcel database can be found on the SCO website and more details on the Parcel Initiative can be found on the DOA website.

Author: Geography Staff