Wisconsin Geospatial News

Project will add address and parcel layers to statewide broadband map

In 2009, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) launched a statewide broadband planning and mapping initiative, which includes an interactive map to track broadband availability, speed, and providers. In order to improve the accuracy of this map, the State Cartographer’s Office, the Wisconsin Land Information Program (WLIP) at the Department of Administration (DOA), the PSCW, and county land information offices are collaborating on a project to add statewide address and parcel layers. The project, which runs from July 2013 until June 2014, will aggregate county address point and parcel data into statewide map layers with $168,000 in federal funding awarded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Benefits of project to broadband mapping

The PSCW has identified the development of a comprehensive rural address database for the state as a key requirement for its broadband mapping initiative. Address information would greatly enhance the accuracy of broadband maps, improve the identification of underserved areas, and may increase the reliability of delivery cost and economic impact models.

Counties in Wisconsin have varying levels of completeness and accuracy for address points. Therefore, overlaying Geographic Information Systems (GIS) parcel data onto a state address point layer provides additional capabilities for broadband mapping efforts. First, parcels can be used to substitute for address point information where the latter is lacking at the local level. Second, parcels provide a useful quality check on address points, especially in rural areas. Finally, parcels may also allow for more advanced analyses, such as determination of the spatial relationships between property boundaries and broadband infrastructure.

Objectives of the Project

  • Establish statewide address point and parcel GIS layers by integrating county-level data sets.
  • Build on experience of 2012 Wisconsin Land Information Association parcel mapping demonstration project.
  • Provide training and technical assistance to counties for statewide geospatial data integration.
  • Facilitate and refine process for data-sharing between counties and state agencies.
  • Report on analysis of county parcel datasets, process for integrating county parcel datasets at county boundaries, and lessons learned.
  • Create a roadmap for sustainability and improvement of the address point and parcel GIS layers beyond the project.

Relationship to Act 20

Act 20 (state biennial 2013-15 budget) specifies that the Department of Administration (DOA) is to create an implementation plan for a statewide digital parcel map. The broadband mapping project will complement, not duplicate, this initiative. Whereas the broadband mapping project will compile existing local parcel and address point data into statewide GIS layers in order to increase broadband mapping accuracy, Act 20 will improve local source GIS data and focus on a much broader array of state, local, and private sector business needs. County eligibility for grants related to Act 20’s initiative to create a statewide digital parcel map will be determined by the DOA separately from this broadband mapping project.

What’s next?

The project is currently in its planning stages. We will be providing additional details on the project in the near future; stay tuned to the Mapping Bulletin for news. A printable description of the project can be found on the SCO publications page.