The World Wide Web has allowed the world to shrink to a managable size for most people with a computer and the mind to use it wisely. Everyday there are new ideas popping up on the web for everyone to search and discover. Some things on the web are totally useless, others are great tools for people, especially journalists or researchers.
My latest discovery isn't something I have just discovered, but something that I have used in my county for a while now, but lately it's popping up in more and more jurisdictions. It's call GIS which is short for Geographic Information Systems.
In the past you would have to drive down to the county courthouse to view maps and aerial images of a county, but now thanks to the internet it's available in your home and because its Public Record, it's free.
With a couple of mouse clicks here and there you can navigate and zoom your way down to some fairy good details of all the property you want to look at from photos taken from about 2500 feet. And all the parcel information from the individual properties is there too. The property lines are drawn in, and with a simple click you can pull up information from the tax office about who owns it, how much it's worth, even how much they paid for it when they bought it.
Example is what you will find at this link. I will give a hint. It belongs to a TV station in the Triad of North Carolina.(NOT WHERE I WORK!!)
I personally like being able to see where the state right of ways are. It was just Tuesday that I was haggling with a property owner that I wasn't really on their property while photographing it, but I was in the state right of way.
They didn't agree with me, but they didn't bring back a map to prove it either. I couldn't check online until after the fact, but I was right by a great distance than I thought.