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ST. PAUL, MN-Potential investors, developers and others can now find more than 910,000 land parcels in the seven-county Twin Cities area available on compactdisk for sale. The Metropolitan Council assembled the regional database from parcel data provided by each of the seven metro-area counties.

Through the distribution arrangement with the Council, a single point of access is provided and only one license agreement is required. The license provides for three quarterly updates and prohibits redistribution.

Until now, businesses that wanted parcel data had to go to each county separately, purchase individual databases and sign separate license agreements. The access fee for the regional database is substantially less than had been recently charged forcounty-by-county access.

These data were often not compatible across counties. The regional parcel database contains uniform coordinate geometry and a minimum of two common attributes-parcel identification numbers and property addresses.

Developers and Realtors use parcel data to locate and contact potential sellers. Businesses with delivery services use parcel data to determine routes and make maps for their workers. Utilities use the data to keep track of underground pipes, cables and otherinfrastructure. Engineering, planning and other consulting firms also rely heavily on parcel data.

“Regional data sharing is a win-win situation for the public and private sectors,” says MetroGIS policy board chair Victoria Reinhardt. “Issues like economic development, land use, the workforce and the environment don’t fit neatly into public or private boxes.”

MetroGIS, a voluntary collaboration of government interests that serve the Twin Cities area, is the forum that brought the counties together to create the regional database and agree on a distribution policy. More information and an order form are available athttp://metrogis.org/data/Parcels/parcel_forms.htm. The regional database is available only on CD and only for the entire seven-county metro area.

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