We Build More Public Trust
Through Transparency With Interactive Tools
For many years, the Assessor’s office has focused on two primary
1.) Perform the most accurate property appraisals we
can to ensure that all taxpayers are treated equally, and
2.) Operate as transparently as possibly so taxpayers
can understand how we arrive at market value estimates.
With the help of current and past mayors and metro councils
throughout the years, we have been able to acquire, develop, and
implement an impressive suite of high technology Computer
Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) systems to help us accomplish
equity in our analysis of property valuation.
The inauguration in 2001 of a database system allowing public
access to Davidson County property information was a giant step,
followed by the 2005 introduction of our first online appeals
But, we did not stop there. In 2007, our office incorporated an
advanced aerial photography application to increase our
productivity while cutting costs in office administration.
We also introduced convenient online filing of Schedule Bs for
businesses via our .
In 2012, as we prepared for the analysis phase of this year’s
(2013) quadrennial mass
reappraisal, we began to put strong emphasis on our other
important objective: demystify the entire appraisal/assessment
We decided to make the information and tools we use in our
processes more easily accessible to property owners via our
website through user-friendly means. Our goal was to offer an
online interactive way for property owners who disagree with our
appraisal and assessment of their properties to see whether the
assign are fair and equitable, and, further,
to be able to contest them and tell us why.
Toward that end, we challenged several of our primary technology
vendors to work collaboratively to create for us a uniquely
seamless online system featuring important components.
To this date, the primary participants including Patriot
Properties, Spatialest, and Pictometry, along with the
more recently added Modria, continue to perfect these processes
which take a taxpayer from viewing aerial and at-an-angle
property images, comparing sales of properties, and assembling
property information with a few simple clicks of a mouse, to
finally, appealing a property value, all online and interactive.
Says Assessor George L. Rooker Jr., “Working in tandem, our new
online technical tools encourage a great understanding of how we
arrive at the values we place on Davidson County properties
(which number approximately 240,000 total over 533 square
miles), based on real estate trends and the economic
changes currently taking place in our communities.”
“Thus far, public reaction has been consistently positive.
Within just a few minutes of use, property owners can now see
more clearly how land and building characteristics, as well as
location, influence fair market value. Already, we have more
and more property owners now focusing on the relevant factors
that influence value rather than simply getting upset over taxes.”
“Our efforts toward achieving equity and transparency will
continue and, ultimately, expand as we broaden our property
information platform to provide map-based data to other
departments, including Codes, Planning, Trustee, Fire, Police,
and Elections, and as we better educate the public regarding how
to use our resources to fit the needs of each individual
“At this moment in time, we believe that we have the best assessment
administration suite of tools in the state of Tennessee. In the
future, we plan to offer the absolute greatest assessment
interactive, high-tech tools in the country.”
In the following paragraphs, you will find introductions to Pictometry, COMPER Sales,
Spatialest Analytics, and Modria.
Instructions for use are also included, with page numbers
displayed beneath each product logo.
All of the new online technology systems are now available for
public use AT NO COST to the property owners via our web site
The user may simply employ our
home page to launch the WebPro
Property Search database link, then jump to the online tools
that he or she needs to build a solid base of property
Pictometry Takes CAMA To The Skies
Combine the prefix ‘pict’, which means “picture, depict,” with
the suffix ‘metry,’ defined as “measure, measuring device,” and
you have one of our important Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA)
Pictometry is a photography application designed by Pictometry
International Corporation that provides visual intelligence for
users to see everything within the photographed area.
Pictometry’s photos are ‘snapped’
via fly-overs by contracted light aircraft using a patented
capture system that guides the pilot into flight lines, fires
the camera at pre-determined locations (as often as three
seconds to photograph up to a dozen different views of any
property, structure, or land feature), records and merges the
navigation data, and completely monitors the system to ensure
and improve quality.
Pictometry actually captures two
types of imagery for every square foot of an area:
orthogonal (straight down with north always at the top of the
image) and oblique (taken at an angle in a 360-degree viewing,
allowing the user to see details of objects in an image). A
single flight captures enough imagery to provide a tremendous
amount of visual detail for our office appraisers to use in
valuing Davidson County residential and commercial properties.
While the images are somewhat commonplace in aerial photography,
the software and what it can do with the photos sets Pictometry
apart from other companies. The interface of its software,
Electronic Field Study (EFS), is the ‘nerve center.’ EFS sends
messages to the focal compartment of the Windows-based product
that holds the subject image. A simple click anywhere in the
main image transmits a request to EFS to display up to 12
thumbnails of images that pertain to the property.
These photographs are stored in a standard image format such as
JPEG or TIFF. Geographic data is housed in Pictometry’s
proprietary image trailer format, with maps,
elevation files, and Geographic Information System (GIS) data
stored using a methodology that is easily accessed by EFS.
Finally, both the images and data are ‘married’ and transferred
to ‘libraries’ to be accessed online through Pictometry’s
This collaboration of pix-and-info gives our appraisers the
capability of literally viewing and analyzing any house,
building, or other feature in the photographed area from a
computer workstation, which, in turn, offers many important
benefits to property owners individually and Davidson County as
For example, property inspections can be completed more
comprehensively and quickly with increased efficiency.
Appraisers no longer lose time traveling from one property to
another, which, in turn, allows them to concentrate more fully
on analysis, which ultimately leads to improved accuracy in
appraisals. (Pictometry partners with iLookAbout for a
pictorial view of a neighborhood through street-level images,
which aids in the determination of the true condition of a
Budget constraints have required our office to utilize fewer employees to complete appraisals for both
residential and commercial properties, which, in turn, has
resulted in savings for Davidson County through payroll, benefits,
insurance, and other costs. We have also more efficiently
allocated this core staff
to develop highly reliable
appraisal models and to perform quality control,
which ultimately produces improved results.
Fewer vehicles are required for service by the Assessor’s
office, which results in fuel savings for Metro
Nashville/Davidson County. (For instance, an analysis conducted
during the first quarter of 2012 indicated a 15% reduction in
the number of vehicles, as well as a 36% reduction in fuel
While change is constant for any assessor’s office, Pictometry
makes it easier for our own employees to stay on top of new building
construction, demolitions, permits, and even the appeals
process, as image and data libraries are periodically refreshed
to allow for the analysis of property changes that take place
over time. It also offers the public an opportunity to use a
high-tech tool in a way that is non-intimidating, because Pictometry
images do not require photo-interpretation skills
to recognize features and decipher other pertinent details.
Optimize our staff resources.
Maintain the integrity of Davidson County records.
Ensure equalization of the tax burden in our community.
These are our main objectives. Clearly, Pictometry plays an
important role in making sure that we consistently meet, and
often exceed, these goals.
COMPER PROPERTY SALES
Comparing Home Sales Is Streamlined With COMPER
Owning a home can be an expensive proposition. In addition to
the initial cost of
purchasing the building and land (raw or with land items), the
property owner is often subject to paying other necessary fees
and charges, including maintenance, utilities, renovations,
landscaping, and, don’t forget, property taxes.
The dollar amount of taxes hinges on property value, which, in
turn, is based on several determining factors, including one of
the most important: recent sales of comparable properties in
the immediate neighborhood of the subject house.
Our new online tool, Spatialest
Sales of Properties, makes it easier than ever
before to research property values for both our office
appraisers and the public.
COMPER is a unique software package that uses comparable sales
comparison features, and location to produce
estimates of value. It offers a comprehensive range of
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and statistical
functionality to provide both novice and advanced users with an
online tool to generate accurate appraisal information. A few
clicks of a mouse, and the user can view:
showing the location of the comparable properties in relation to
the subject property
of the model parameters (number of comparable properties and
of the comparable rules upon which the property was assessed
of each property
A summary table
that compares pertinent property attributes between the
subject property and comparables used to determine the assessed
As one of the most innovative comparable sales selectors in the
country, COMPER streamlines research by quickly locating sales
evidence, allowing the user to broaden or narrow the selection
criteria (e.g. increasing the area of research surrounding the
subject property), and storing this information so that creating
a PDF report can take place in real time or later, whichever is
most convenient for the user.
The resulting PDF report includes location, proximity, sale
date, square footage and value per square feet, bedrooms, baths,
year built, and the sale price for the subject property and
those selected as comparable. Armed with this information, the
property owner can more easily make a choice whether or not to
file for an informal review of property value (the first step in
the appeals process), using the Comparable Sales
Report as evidence.
COMPER is an important tool because
it provides a shortcut to property data retrieval, even as it
promotes greater reliance on accurate data.
Spatialest Analytics Is All About Identifying Trends And Making
Within our suite of new interactive online tools,
is the one that
features the most levels of data tracking.
Developed to rely on the discovery of meaningful
patterns in data, Pii Analytics’ high-tech computer software
systems, extensive use of data visualization to describe and
predict, not to mention its research of both our office
administration and repetitive public use of information, makes
Spatialest Analytics one of the best resources for gathering data that
is reliable and verified.
Our analytics dashboard offers a view into the detailed
information associated with property sales, permits, census
information, and assessments that a user (both our office
appraisers and the public) can generate through neighborhood
delineation. Each of the major category search tabs yields data
that is accurate, reliable, and verified, and is further
supported through facts, figures, and visual accessories such as
maps, photographs, and graphs.
For example, while the user will certainly find data regarding
recent area sales in a selected area, when he or she clicks on
the Sales tab, Spatialest Analytics further separates the data into
differing property types. It then shows sale values for the
current year for each type, plus the median sale price and sale
volume by quarter, all pertinent to Davidson County. When the
user clicks on an individual house icon displayed on this map,
property information which includes parcel ID, land use, owner
name(s), and the tax district in which the home is located, in
addition to the aforementioned sales data, is displayed.
The permits tab sends the user to a frame that offers data
regarding building permits for the past year. A sub-layer
reflects permits issued for demolition, residential addition,
storm damage, new residential properties, and rehab properties.
One click on the icon for an individual property offers up a
photograph plus details about the property which includes date
built, description, and additional notes.
Census is the third Spatialest Analytics tab, and
information here is separated into sub-categories which list
population by sex, median household income for the previous
year, median age of the population in the subject area, and area
The flood tab follows, with data regarding mean appraisal values
pre- and post-flood (from the May 2010 500-year flood that
created multi-billion dollar damages to properties in downtown
Nashville and several of its surrounding areas), mean sale price
by quarter, and mean sale price 12 months before flood and 12
months after flood damage.
Finally, the assessment tab leads to information regarding
appraised amounts for 2013 residential properties, along with
appraised values both from the current and the 2009 reappraisals
(Davidson County is on a 4-year cycle). Add a map layer, and
the user may view hot (gain in property value) and cold (loss in
property value) real estate market areas, colorfully
characterized through gradient red and blue graphics.
Through our implementation of Spatialest Analytics, we believe that our
emphasized focus on
delivering access of essential property information to the
public is largely responsible for a heightened understanding of
the factors that figure in to our property valuation for
Resolving Property Appeals Takes An Up-Front Hi-Tech Approach
Advances in communication and information technology have
changed the face and pace of business. This has never been more
apparent than in our new
recent implementation of a Modria-designed user-friendly
interactive online format, if a property owner feels that his or
her property is being taxed beyond reason, he or she may contest
the assessment valuation of the property by using the resolution
Accessed through our WebPro Property Search tool on our website,
the Resolution Center takes the user on a seamless path from the
first step of filing an informal review to finally appealing the
assessment before the Metro and/or State Board(s) of
Equalization. Extensive instructions are included in each
section to guide the user (property owner) every step of the
On the administrative side, the Resolution Center automatically
assigns requests for review of property valuation to the section
leader of the neighborhood in which the house or land is
located He or she reviews the request, then turns it over to
the appropriate staff appraiser for analysis. Should it become
necessary, appraisers can enable discussions with the property
owner online to make sure that their analysis and
calculations are correct.
The very best feature of our Resolution Center is that it
provides a convenient filing
process for the property owner, which, in turn, leads to more
efficient assessment processes within our entire office. It
truly is fast, easy, and available online 24 hours/7 days a
It is also a paperless process with all property information
stored in a central location, so that efficient case management
for our office, from open to resolved, is administered
consistently. Furthermore, easy tracking gives both the
property owner and our office appraisers great visibility
throughout the entire appeal life cycle.
Although we launched this Resolution Center just months ago,
already we have seen many property owners use it with great
results. We are excited to report that, among taxpayers,
hearing officers, and our assessment staff, improved
communication and satisfaction levels are at their highest.
Using high-technology to change property assessment processes to
fit the property owner better is as important to us as making
sure that we do our jobs the best that we possibly can.
The Assessor’s office is committed to EXCELLENCE, and IT SHOWS!
The remaining 'pages' of the Summer 2013
newsletter make up the CAMA Tools Dashboard. Each of the
new tools sections features instructions and screen shots for ease of
You may also
download a PDF copy of the newsletter to have handy when you
any of our new tools. You should find the notes invaluable
in maneuvering through the online processes.
If you have any questions, or if you
encounter any problems in using Pictometry, Comper Sales,
Analytics, or Modria, please call Customer Service at (615)
862-6083 and one of our representatives will be happy to assist
ASSESSOR OF PROPERTY, DAVIDSON
Office Newsletter, April - June 2013
Editor: Vicki H. Moser
Contributors: Vicki H. Moser, Sam McPherson, and
Elizabeth M-K Sullivan
Editors: David Booth,
Dan McGowan, Brad Pigue, and Amy Raines
The Assessor of Property
newsletter is published quarterly in house.
Editorial Policy: covers news regarding the
Assessor's Office appraisal and assessment administration
practices, statistical data, and/or trending real estate news
pertinent to Davidson County.