The City of Steinbach is putting more information at the fingertips of property owners and developers with the introduction of an online property mapping tool.
The digital portal helps users locate available land and access basic property data like lot dimensions, zoning, and garbage collection day.
The free service went live on Nov. 13, but city staff have used a backend version of the software for some time, said Mitchell Eastley, a City of Steinbach technician and developer who specializes in geographic information systems (GIS) software.
Eastley said GIS software is becoming increasingly popular with Canadian municipalities, in part due to its user-friendly design.
The Manitoba government uses similar software on its provincial assessment website, Eastley said.
"This takes it to a more local level."
The city subscribes to the service, delivered by Esri, an international supplier of GIS software.
City staff first tossed around the idea of offering an online mapping service to residents a dozen years ago, but Eastley said software limitations shelved the plan.
Steinbach’s GIS portal doesn’t provide new information, but makes existing information easier to access, and presents it in a more visual way, Eastley explained.
Before, those seeking basic property information would have to visit city hall and sift through paper maps.
"This just takes it to a digital level," Eastley said.
Unlike a paper map, the portal database can be updated regularly by city staff.
The website works on mobile and desktop web browsers, and will be familiar to those acquainted with navigation websites like Google Maps.
Users can toggle through various maps, zoom in on a specific land parcel, and click to bring up its profile. Measurement and drawing tools are also included.
Privacy regulations mean names and contact information aren’t included in the software’s public database.
Eastley said the portal allows developers to complete more groundwork ahead of time, but doesn’t replace a proper land survey.
Troy Warkentin, Steinbach’s city manager, said in a release staff remain available to answer planning-related questions.
Users can access the portal via a link on the city’s steinbach.ca homepage.