CLARION - Clarion County has added another tool for investors in the county. The on-line "parcel viewer" allows people interested in a particular piece of property to view it without going to the courthouse.
GIS specialist Johnathan Best said the new tool is similar to the old plat book.
A "plat" is a cadastral map, drawn to scale, showing the divisions of a piece of land.
Plat maps are an essential tool for realtors, homeowners, land developers, and resource developers.
They provide a legal description of a specific tract or parcel of land to prevent accidental trespass and provide information for the sale or transfer of ownership of a piece of property.
Best said the online parcel viewer is updated weekly while the plat book is updated only once a year.
"It's really helpful for abstractors," said Best. "They can do this from home at nine o'clock at night. They don't have to be in the courthouse during our office hours."
The parcel viewer can be reached by logging onto the county's web page and selecting the colored block at the bottom of the page.
"It is just endless, and it's 100 percent free, so that was a bonus," said Best. "We've been averaging about 50 views per day on the parcel viewer."
Best said the viewer will allow the two-person staff at the GIS office to work more efficiently.
"Before, we'd be lucky to get out because somebody had to stay in the office," he said.
In addition to viewing the parcel the customer will be able to see school districts, address points, streams, and roads.
The data is available to the public to purchase at a cost of five cents per parcel. There is also a $25 processing fee. The printed plat book costs $50.