How to easily access up-to-date parcel data and satellite imagery in Lens

Learn how to easily access parcel data and satellite imagery in Lens.

Use Lens to access parcel data and streamline your workflow
Jul 10, 2023
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If you deal with land in the United States, it’s likely you deal with land parcels. And if you deal with land parcels, you understand the importance of up-to-date, accurate data, as well as how difficult it can be to track down tax parcel information from a range of sources. 

That’s where Lens comes in.

Lens is a web-based app that lets you easily access and analyze geospatial data, including the latest satellite and aerial data to show what’s happening on the ground. Using tax parcel data from Regrid, Lens becomes a powerful tool for accessing tax parcel information in the United States. Regrid accesses 156+ million land parcel records across the United States and is an industry-leading property data and location intelligence company. When it comes to managing tax parcels, Lens makes it easy to gather tax parcel data, analyze properties, and generate reports, all in one place.

We’re thrilled to partner with Regrid – combining their unparalleled parcel data with the most up-to-date earth observation insights for streamlined monitoring via Lens. 

Why land parcels?

While you might not be able to see them, land parcels are everywhere in the United States! A parcel, or plot, is an area of land with a specific use and owner. Parcels are how plots of land in the US are labeled and divided up for taxation purposes. Tax parcel data, then, contains property information, assessments, owner data and changes, and appropriate land uses. You may be familiar with how some land is designated for commercial uses, and other areas are zoned for residences –  that’s parcel use data. Understanding the location of site boundaries, allowed uses, and ownership is valuable context for anyone managing or monitoring land. 

Why parcel data matters – use cases

Depending on your exact use case, land parcel data in Lens streamlines the process for identifying prospective sites as well as ongoing monitoring for property and parcel data changes.

Through Lens, users can access:

  • Parcel boundary lines: know exactly where a parcel boundary is located
  • Parcel address
  • Parcel number
  • Parcel size
  • Current owner, with optional alerts if ownership changes

Below are some ways that parcel data, plus access to the latest aerial and satellite imagery in Lens, can help inform land use project development, planning, and landowner engagement.

Project development, planning, and scoping

Accurate parcel data regarding land and properties is crucial to progressing project development work of all kinds, especially in the early stages of planning and scoping.

When it comes to developing a project, parcel information is key to scoping, permitting, working with different landowners, and getting a project underway. For example, if a renewable energy developer was considering sites for a new solar array, they’d need to understand both the land use context and ownership information to help inform which prospective site is a good fit for their needs. They could access this information, in addition to historic and recent imagery, to conduct this early site assessment efficiently.  

Ongoing monitoring and relationship building

A key use case for tax parcel data is creating and maintaining landowner relationships. 

Establishing a relationship

Land trusts, for example, often work with many landowners to achieve their conservation and stewardship objectives. For context, land trusts are entrusted with the task of ensuring that private land falls within the legal bounds of their respective conservation easements. In order to properly steward this land, stewardship managers must form relationships with each of the landowners and stay up to date with any changes in ownership year over year. When it comes to expanding easement areas or acquiring fee lands, landowner outreach becomes just as important. Properly identifying owners in abutting parcels and creating reports with compiled information is key to landowner outreach workflow, whether it’s the beginning of a relationship, the middle, or the changing of one.

Parcel data is especially helpful for knowing when there has been a change in land ownership. The Land Trust Alliance notes1 that the most likely time for a conservation easement violation is right after a property changes hands.  Access to frequent ownership change alerts enables our land conservation customers to proactively reach out quickly when there is a change in ownership, giving time for landowner engagement, sharing the terms of the easement, and hopefully preventing future violations. If violations aren't a concern, parcel data in Lens can still be helpful for generating a list of landowners or abutters for any form of contact, like scheduling a site visit. 

Know when ownership changes for quick action 

For conservation organizations, receiving parcel data alerts when a priority parcel has changed hands can be a great opportunity to reach out to a new landowner who could be a willing partner. For example, if they’re working to create a connected greenway, conserving adjacent parcels can be a great way to protect habitat corridors. While a previous landowner might have been uninterested in partnering, knowing there’s an ownership change can help organizations keep track of prospective opportunities over time. As a plus, parcel data in Lens is paired with up-to-date imagery of a prospective site, so project managers don't need to wait until they are out in the field to know how land use might have changed. No longer do project managers or conservation teams have to waste their time conducting preliminary due diligence on a project site that turns out to have been already developed into something different.

Four ways to streamline your work with parcel data in Lens

When it comes to accessing this data, it’s important that the data is easy to understand, find, organize, and of course simple to stay up-to-date. Lens has four built-in ways to do just that with tax parcel data.

1. Add a property by selecting US tax parcels

Add properties you would like to get insight on by selecting their tax parcels — it’s that easy. Lens removes the need for prior GIS or mapping experience. Start in Lens on day one and add all properties important to you and your organization by selecting one or more parcels. 

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2. View information on parcel: parcel number, address, owner status

Lens users can view tax parcel info alongside imagery while monitoring. For those interacting with landowners in any capacity, users can access this up-to-date data in Lens to see parcel number, address, and owner at a glance. Enrolled properties can also sign up for alerts, or #3.

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3. Staying up to date with Lens and automatic notifications

Without Lens, looking up parcel data information requires the time intensive task of investigating local county records and other sources, not to mention the ongoing maintenance to make sure the data you’ve acquired in the past is still up to date in the present. 

With Lens, we took this data and created automatic parcel owner alerts to notify you of ownership changes for any parcels that overlap your Lens property on a quarterly basis. It’s as simple as a switch.

No more need to scour records yourself.

For initial landowner outreach, compile data on different parcels on different properties, and create a report to make outreach efforts easy.

For those who already have reached out but need to know when the landowner changes, Lens will do the work of letting you know the change has happened so you can take action.

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4. Compile information into a report and share as outreach, or record-keeping

What good is information if you can’t easily compile and share it? With parcel owner reports, Lens makes it easy to generate a report filled with all the possible information about tax parcels that overlap a Lens property. This facilitates both outreach purposes (when reaching out to a new landowner) and record-keeping purposes (such as filling a grant form or keeping tabs on parcels under your purview). It’s the easiest way to compile parcel data alongside additional information on your properties that Lens offers.

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Lens for parcel data and you

As we’ve seen, land parcels are important to anyone who interacts with land. 

For those looking to streamline their workflow around gathering data on tax parcels and monitoring your properties from above, Lens is the leading choice. Parcel data monitoring and planning in Lens removes the time-consuming, tedious work of digging through county assessor sites and checking different sources, constantly, while providing access to up to date satellite imagery about your property. 

Lens can be a powerful resource through all project stages, from early scoping to project development, ongoing monitoring, and facilitating landowner relationships. A wide range of organizations use parcel data in Lens, including: 

  • Urban planners
  • Sustainable developers
  • Natural resource restoration & mitigation firms
  • Renewable energy and carbon project developers
  • Conservation organizations and land trusts
  • Local and state government and assessors offices 
  • Insurance agencies

Sign up today and get started with parcel data. Need a demo or have more questions? Get in touch!