When Nick Haney moved to Huntsville from North Carolina in 2018, his first thought was, “How do I find where I want to live?”
“I did that quite easily because I work in GIS,” he said. “I pulled everything from crime data to housing prices to commute times.”
Haney, the City’s GIS program specialist, wants that kind of information widely available to everyone – whether they have a background in GIS or not.
With help from GIS Manager Amy Kenum, the City of Huntsville recently launched an online tool that lets you do just that simply by searching for an address or a parcel.
The search feature allows users to find a substantial amount of information about any piece of property in Huntsville/Madison County as well as some outer-lying areas. It pulls from 72 different sources, including parcels, zoning, demographics, permits, government, districts, etc.
“The idea was, ‘Let’s try to make this more accessible,'” Haney said. “Let’s try to get the maximum amount of info out there with the fewest amount of clicks and searches.”
GIS search tool
Zelda Friedman, managing broker at Crye-Leike, uses the tool often and recommends it to her clients.
“There are so many different things you can look up,” she said. “Schools, libraries, anything a person moving into the area and away from their home would want. It gives them a chance to be familiar with Huntsville before they even get here.”
Many of Friedman’s customers are interested in moving to neighborhoods near greenways. With the GIS tool, they can pinpoint where they want to live and Friedman can learn where greenways will be located.
Having the ability to research schools, colleges and universities is also a plus.
“With my relocation customers, a lot of them have never even heard of Huntsville, Alabama,” Friedman said. “This gives them a chance to look around and see the amenities that are important to them and their families.”
An asset for developers, engineers
In addition to helping residents and prospective buyers, the new GIS offering is a great asset for developers and engineers.
Dennis Madsen, manager of Urban and Long-Range Planning for the City, said the tool is a valuable source of information on properties in and around Huntsville.
“It allows people to have more of their publicly owned information at their fingertips, especially when talking about our developments, our growth and the way Huntsville’s going to change in the coming decades,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, a more informed public is a public that’s going to be more comfortable with those changes and that growth.”
Interested in learning more? Click here to check out the GIS search tool.
You can also view the GIS Department’s full gallery of apps on our website.