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County property site ready for upgrade

I often go to Jackson County's property data page, looking up real estate prices. One thing I don't understand is why the newest, and only, aerial map available on the menu is from 2005. Is there any way for the county to get an updated aerial view on the page?

— Tim K., Medford

The digital world changes faster than most organizations, public or private, can keep pace. The Jackson County's property data page provides a wealth of information even though much it predates computers. There are loads of old photos, schematics and hand-written notes that have been scanned into the system.

The present 2005 aerial map has been supplanted by 2010 and 2012 aerial overlays. The only problem is that the accompanying software and technology don't mesh.

"The software was written in a technology no longer supported, and be can't even be maintained," said Len Jacobson, the application manager for the county. "It will only display in a certain format, and we can't even generate that format now. We didn't want to spend time rewriting that component."

The expense to upgrade the aerial map has heretofore been considered too costly.

The good news, however, is a new aerial map made within the past two years will be included when the county moves to an updated look in the near future.

"Our intention is to get something more modern," Jacobson said. "We are a month or so from releasing a modern product that will allow us to display up-to-date aerial imagery."

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.