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TRANSFORMING THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY AND VALUATION USING TECHNOLOGY he real estate industry, especially the valuation side, is about location, location, location. How many times have we heard that term expressed in our day-to-day work within the industry? However, the significant reality with the statement is that, although we know it is true, we have not really used systems, technologies and workflows that are 'influenced' by geography (location). Figure 1 illustrates the evolution of technologies used in the property assessment industry over the last 30 years. e timeline demonstrates the rapid evolution of technology and how it is moving towards more geographic or location centric technologies. Although this article highlights key examples from the property assessment or mass appraisal side of the industry, the reality is that the concepts, applications and points pertain to most areas of the real estate industry, with minor amendments to the workflow or volumes of transactions. In other words, it is about taking our property information, spreadsheets, sketches and salient facts and placing them on a map (Figures 2a and 2b) allowing more analytical and location centric information and capabilities. Enter the world of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) GIS leverages the fundamental principle of geography, i.e., that location is important in people's lives. With the vast information sources available today, GIS is a key tool in determining what it all means. With so much information tied to a location, GIS helps find patterns/analysis that we might not see or explore without visualization. Simply put, GIS takes the numbers and words from the rows and columns in databases and spreadsheets and visualizes them on a map. e use of maps to convey information adds an extra dimension to data that might not jump off the page in a simple list or spreadsheet. It allows you to view, understand, analyze, interpret and visualize your data in ways previously not possible. e visual aspect of a map provides unprecedented insight and knowledge about an organization's assets and workflows. Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) systems throughout the world use models in some form to value properties. What a model represents is an equation or relationship between the value of a property and the various components (data) that influence and make up that value. erefore, mass appraisal models represent the equation which influences value for a specific location. As a result, geography is a critical and integral element that cannot be ignored in a CAMA system. GIS and CAMA systems are both technologies that have been around for a few decades. However, for various reasons, there is slow adoption of more intermediate and advanced uses of GIS within the real estate industry at large. is slow adoption has limited the true power and sophistication of GIS in the assessment industry and its business processes, which is especially concerning when we go back to the earlier statement of the importance of location, location, location. A noticeable performance gap in the industry is that real estate software applications typically operate independently from each other, leaving users to interact with each one manually as an isolated database. Whether they By Michael James Lomax, R.I., Director of Assessment, Esri Canada, Vancouver, BC FIGURE 1 Canadian Proper ty Valuation | √Čvaluation Immobili√®re au Canada | Volume 59 | Book 3 / Tome 3 | 2015

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