Q: What can you tell us about your recent efforts to use technology to operate the Property Appraiser’s Office more efficiently?
A: We have partnered with Cyclomedia to provide high resolution and street level imagery of all business and residential areas in St. Johns County. Comparable to Google Street View, the main difference is that this will be specific to our county and very high resolution, offering a 360 by 180 degree view. Even with purchasing this new technology, our office will be spending less this year than it did five years ago.
Q: Will residents see Cyclomedia vehicles in their neighborhoods?
A: Yes, over the next three months, county residents will see the Cyclomedia vehicles. The company has hired veterans to drive two of the three vehicles that will be driving every mile of every road in our county. Each vehicle is clearly marked and equipped with sophisticated and precise GPS locationing and positioning equipment, which will tell the vehicle and the camera where they are within one inch. When the photos are uploaded to our system, they will precisely match parcel IDs and addresses.
Q: What other technology will the cameras utilize?
A: In addition to the high resolution photos, the vehicles are equipped with Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), which captures elevations. It starts at sea level and will be able to tell the elevation of foundations and streets. We will have a base elevation of every street in St. Johns County, which will be very important in places like downtown St. Augustine. We can use predictive tides and storm surges and then determine when water recedes, where it will still stand.
Q: What are the benefits to your office?
A: We will use the imagery for assessments, which will enhance our ability to have fewer vehicles in the field. This will be less intrusive to property owners. Also, we will be able to tell the condition of a property and whether it is vacant or occupied. Our plan is to update the imagery annually.
Q: Will the imagery be available to the public?
A: Yes, late next quarter, in 2021, it will be available on our website. Additionally, we plan to make the imagery available to all municipalities within our county as well as the SJSO and the school district. The images will be able to put together an inventory of public assets, such as fire hydrants, manhole covers, traffic lights and light poles. It is so sophisticated that potholes can be identified in streets. And I believe another benefit will be to sheriff deputies and first responders, who will be able to pull up an image of the front of a house on their way to a 911 call for easy identification.
Of course, since the imagery will be available to the public, after all the footage is shot, it will undergo a detailed screening review to blur out vehicle tag numbers and people’s faces.
Q: What is the best way for our readers to contact you?
A: Our office is located at 4030 Lewis Speedway Ste. 203, (904) 827-5500. It is open Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Also, readers can email me at Eddie@sjcpa.us or call me at (904) 827-5500.