Get the Gist on GIS Tools for Real Estate
By now, most of us are well familiar with mapping systems that make our everyday lives—from our real estate business to personal travel and everything in between—much smoother and easier to navigate.
What would we do without the interactive maps on our devices and in our cars as we traverse Middle Tennessee with clients, zig-zagging to showings, open houses, our offices, kids’ events, doctor’s appointments, and more?
In that same vein, local governments throughout Eastern Middle Tennessee have increased the number of geographic information system (GIS) tools available to residents and visitors that provide invaluable insights. For example, the City of Mt. Juliet has a comprehensive section of its website devoted to these tools, with one-click access to a full menu of helpful resources.
Why are GIS tools so vital for the work we do as REALTORS®?
Well, as Mt. Juliet’s webpage explains, a GIS “integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information. GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts. A GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared.”
Or, as the City of Lebanon’s GIS webpage puts it, “Simply stated, GIS makes a map smart. Anything that occupies space geographically can be placed on a map. These map features can have information stored about them in a database and linked together by an identifier. This system is designed to store, update, analyze, display and manipulate spatial data.”
The keywords in those descriptions include smart, linked, analyze, solve problems, quickly, and easily shared. Not only can you as a broker or agent jump on a page like this and glean a broad range of data within mere seconds to inform your interactions with buyers, sellers, and prospects, but you can also send links to a client with a quick prompt for them to visit the site and/or view a specific map.
As you integrate such tools into your business, you will boost your credibility; reinforce your dedication to equipping buyers and sellers with the best, current, most applicable information to assist them in their transactions; and demonstrate knowledge of the cities, communities, and neighborhoods in your market-service areas.
The GIS tools available from city and county governments can vary widely, and it’s important to evaluate them carefully and read the fine print before citing or sharing them. (For example, an online map whose legend in the bottom corner reads “based on 2019 data” will probably be much less useful than a map that features stats from, say, 2021 or 2022.)
That said, here are some of the tools on Mt. Juliet’s site. (Similar menus of GIS tools may be found for Lebanon, Wilson County, and others.) Most of these are posted as PDF files that you can download and share with clients; or, if you prefer, you might choose to share the link to the main page and let them explore on their own.
Chipper Zone Map
City Commissioner District Map
FEMA Flood Zones
Future Land Use Map
Mt. Juliet Area Zip Codes
Mt. Juliet Commute Map
Mt. Juliet Comprehensive Transportation Map
Official Map of City Limits
Tax Grid Map
The bottom line when it comes to GIS tools and other similar resources is crystal clear: If a tool helps us as REALTORS® to better serve our buyers and sellers, then it’s well worth knowing about and using when needed.
And we don’t need anyone to draw us a map to arrive at that conclusion.
*The Sewer Map in the list above is a good example of why it’s important to read the details for these tools, because the webpage notes that the Sewer Map was “Discontinued 2013,” making the data there a decade old. The tool still may be useful, but it’s good to know the context before you share it.