The WestCOG GIS team is working on a number of initiatives at the moment which are listed below
- Regional Viewer
- WestCOG Data Campaigns
- 2020 Census Boundary Update
- Parcel & CAMA Data Acquisition
- Zoning Data Acquisition
- Regional GIS Initiative
The Regional Viewer showcases WestCOG regional datasets which includes parcel, assessor, transportation, landuse, environmental, and topographical data.
Always Improving. The viewer is continually updated. WestCOG is happy to collect feedback to improve user experience and incorporate desired datasets. Leave feedback through the Viewer’s Dashboard or send directly to Mike Towle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Host Locally. Interested communities can link directly
to the regional viewer on their websites or even use it as their primary viewer
(the latter may provide cost savings).
Regional Viewer Link: https://gis.westcog.org/
Imagery Viewing. 2019, 2018, 2016, 2012, and 1990 imagery available for viewing.
Updated Regularly. Data is scheduled to be updated quarterly. WestCOG will manage data collection campaigns in March (Parcels & CAMA), June (CAMA), September (CAMA), and December (CAMA). Communities interested in more frequent updates can contact Mike Towle for more information.
Abutters Tools. Users can generate a list of abutters in the form of an excel list or mailing labels. The user can select the extent of the abutter ranger or perform an abutter selection based on a geometric shape (manually drawn).
Map Printing. Users can select layers, draw shapes, add points and text to prepare for sharing and printing.
Personalized Viewer. WestCOG can provide Power user access for municipal staff upon request. This would allow individual towns to view sensitive data in a protected space, host municipal specific layers, or other personalized requests. Contact Mike Towle with your requests.
Property Cards. Users can access property cards associated to their properties by: Choosing your town of interest from the drop down menu > Select your parcel of interest within that town > click the “Property Record Card” link found in the left hand ribbon. [This feature is in development and may not work for all towns.]
Training. The viewer has a short tour (opens on start up, and available in the menu) to walk through initial functionality. There is also an extensive Help Manual covering the additional features.
Upcoming Improvements. WestCOG has substantial improvement slated for completion for the end of March which includes.
- Additional data entries for assessment value data. Currently, mismatched or missing data reads as value 0. Data improvements are tied to WestCOG’s March Data Collection Campaign (A separate email will address this effort).
- Improved Regional Zoning Symbology.
- FEMA Flood Zones.
- Wetland Data.
- Stormwater Feature Layers
- Easier access to municipal property cards. Currently users are required to select their community of interest from a drop down menu in order to access property card links
- Selectable parcels for Stamford.
Every Quarter (March, June, Sept, December), WestCOG launches Data Campaigns to collect the latest in parcel, CAMA, and planning data from its member municipalities. Collected datasets are then processed and standardized for the extent of the region and made publicly available (with exceptions to sensitive datasets). Contact Mike Towle at email@example.com with questions.
March – April Data Campaign:
- March 4th. WestCOG Kicks Off the Data Campaign.
- March 4th – April 10th. Assessors develop specialized reports for Data Extracts based on WestCOG CAMA Data Schema.
- March 20th. Assessors and/or GIS staff provide most current Data Extract and Parcel data for their respective community.
- March 4th – April 17th WestCOG reviews provided data as it arrives. WestCOG may request data keys for unidentified data fields.
- April 17th. WestCOG aims to have collected Parcel and CAMA data from all participating communities.
- WestCOG will continue to work with communities to collect Parcel and CAMA data.
Fun Fact! The data collected thus far is already being used for interesting applications such as WestCOG’s Regional Viewer and assisting First Responders through CT’s Eagle-1 Program. The latter is overlaying parcel and address information on their night vision imagery systems, very cool!
The US 2020 Census’ Participant Statistical Areas Program (PSAP)is under way. Every ten years, the Census reviews its existing boundaries. These boundaries serve as the foundation for tabulating statistics on socioeconomic data. The Census has designated WestCOG as the PSAP Primary Official (PPO) to oversee Census Boundary Updates for Fairfield County. WestCOG will be working with its member communities, neighboring COGs, and CTDOT to perform these updates. WestCOG has identified two tasks to work on during this process. Updating Census Designated Places (CDP), and reviewing existing census block-groups and tract boundaries.
CDP Update: Census Designated Places (CDP) provide detailed socioeconomic information for a neighborhood, downtown district, or village that may be difficult to capture using census block groups or tracts. CDPs are currently used sparingly or not at all within CT. WestCOG has developed a methodology to update and delineate new Census Designated Places (CDP). The methodology can be downloaded here: CDP Strategy. A list of named places can be downloaded here: Fairfield County Named Places. WestCOG wishes to recieve these updates by May 15th 2019.
BG and Tract Review: WestCOG will be working with CTDOT and municipalities to request edits to census boundaries. The goal is to develop boundaries most useful for analytics, regional studies,and traffic modeling. WestCOG is working on a methodology to standardize its role in this review/edit process. One process is to track down special use areas and anomaly areas as these locations throw off, or skew data within the census. More information on this process can be found on the Special Use Area Strategy.
State mandate, PA-1875, requires communities to provide their respective COG with their latest Parcel and CAMA data by May 1st, 2019 and then annually thereafter. The request is timely, as WestCOG is looking into a Regional Parcel CAMA data viewer.
For the communities of Newtown, Wilton, Brookfield, and Weston; the delivery of Parcel and CAMA data is being handled by New England GEO.
For the remaining communities WestCOG is looking to establish a streamlined approach to minimize staff burden for this and future data transfers under PA-1875. Details on the data requests are provided below:
Parcel Data Request: WestCOG is looking for the latest Parcel Data Set usable in a GIS
- A date for when it was last updated.
- A unique parcel ID attribute to link with the CAMA data.
If you have a third-party vendor and you provide a contact, WestCOG would be happy to collect the updated data on your behalf from the vendor.
CAMA Data Request: WestCOG is looking for a full CAMA data extract for all properties in your community. One approach may to collect the CAMA data extracts already prepared by many towns for Warren Group Reports. Once established WestCOG can access the data each year to meet the state requirement on behalf of the community.
WestCOG is creating its Regional Plan of Conservation and Development and as such has been collecting and updating its data resources, one of which is zoning data. We have collected all our towns zoning maps in PDF format, but are looking for GIS datasets (or CAD if it’s the only option) so we can review zoning in the region and its correlation to demographics, economics, and natural resources.
WestCOG seeks GIS or CAD data from each community. Datasets can be sent to Nick Trabka to <firstname.lastname@example.org> We hope to complete our inventory of zoning data by early May 10th.
Initial Grant Award
In 2012, WestCOG’s predecessor, SWRPA, received Regional Performance Incentive Program (RPIP) funds to develop a regional GIS program to develop a regional GIS Program which would host extensive data resources such as imagery, lidar, contours, and planimetric data. With consolidation of the State’s planning regions, the project was extended to the entire Western Connecticut Planning Region, and was expanded to cover additional tasks (in the areas of property assessment and records).
GIS Data Acquisition
Flight Data for Southern Towns: The project launched in 2014 when the vendor, Kucera, was selected to generate:
- High resolution imagery (3”)
- Oblique Imagery
- Lidar, Elevation Data
This data collected was known as the 2014 Kucera Flight Data.
Flight Data for Northern Towns: RPIP funds were utilized to develop planimetrics data for the 10 northern towns in the WestCOG Planning Region. This effort was performed in 2016 using data from a state flyover performed in 2016.
Planimetrics Update for Developing Areas: In areas with high development activity (Stamford, Norwalk, and along Route 1), remaining grant funds were used to update planimetrics data to match 2016 state flight data. This work was completed by Sanborn in 2018.
Axiomatic, in partnership with WestCOG and its members, conducted a study of opportunities for regional cooperation in property assessment and records, including the viability of a regionalized Real Property Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) system.
- Existing Conditions & Initial Recommendations Report (aka Regional CAMA Study), Appendix
- Regional GIS Web Application Recommendations Report, Appendix, Case Study
- Regional Recommendation Prioritization Report
Regional CAMA Study: The study found that the cost savings of a Regional CAMA Service were negligible due to the diversity in property tax base, software, and schedules within the Region. The report did identify four workflow efficiency projects:
- Regional GIS Parcel-CAMA web viewer
- Personal Property E-File
- Automated Deed Integration
- E-File for Exemptions
This report is explained in detail in the Existing Conditions & Initial Recommendations Report.
Two follow-up reports were developed to facilitate implementation of these projects:
Regional GIS Parcel-CAMA Study: This service would develop a sustainable approach to collect and standardize parcel and CAMA data across the Region, and to share these data via the web. The report provides a breakdown of cost benefits, best practices, and an implementation strategy.
Following this report, WestCOG has performed a Request for Information (RFI). Following the RFI, WestCOG Foundation Inc. is now in the middle of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to identify vendors to provide this service. This project is expected to commence in 2019.
This project is explained in detail in the Regional GIS Web Application Recommendations Report.
Regional Recommendations Study: This report outlines the cost, benefits, and steps for implementation for three projects:
- Personal Property E-File (Completed)
- Automated Deed Integration (In Progress)
- E-File for Exemptions (Pending)
These projects are explained in detail within the Regional Recommendation Prioritization Report.