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The Mobile CAMA Movement: Your Paperless Field-to-Valuation Solution | ControlCam Newsletter 1.2

The Mobile CAMA Movement: Your Paperless Field-to-Valuation Solution

By: Michael DeLapa, Vice President, Marketing, FotoNotes

Going mobile.

That’s what’s happening through American business as companies seek to eliminate paper, reduce data duplication, and save time and money in their daily operations. Government, too, is jumping aboard the emerging digital movement. In particular, county appraisers are discovering that there are better, faster, and more cost effective mobile solutions to collect real estate data and establish property tax appraisals.

FotoNotes and ControlCam recently partnered to offer a comprehensive, cost-saving field-to-valuation solution for county governments. By combining ControlCam’s aerial imaging solutions with FotoNotes mobile platform, county appraisers can now easily transform computer-assisted mass appraisal (CAMA) forms into mobile templates and quickly update CAMA records from a mobile device (phone or tablet). The integrated mobile solution offers a number of clear benefits: enhanced communications; digitized, paper-free work flow that eliminates data re-entry; and real-time access to property data in the field.

For the vast majority of county governments, property appraisals remain exceedingly manual.

While there is some variation, the process generally looks like this:

  1. The county appraiser’s office issues a work order to appraise a collection properties.
  2. A field appraiser visits the property, s/he completes a paper form appraisal, and separately takes digital photos.
  3. After returning to the office, the appraiser or another staff re-enters data from the paper form into a CAMA program.
  4. Property photos may be stored separately.
  5. The original paper form is filed.
  6. Aerial imagery, if any, is maintained separately so it’s not necessarily straightforward to find and compare properties on an aerial map.
  7. The county appraiser reviews the field appraiser’s work. If there’s a mistake, a question or an incomplete form, the appraiser may have to revisit the property.

With the combined FotoNotes-ControlCam mobile solution, the process is a lot simpler and less error-prone.

  1. The County Appraiser’s office creates a digital appraisal data collection template using the FotoNotes web app
  2. When the appraiser’s office issues a work order, the appraiser is immediately notified electronically. Information about the property is pulled from the county’s CAMA data, including address, current valuation, and other information. Aerial imagery from ControlCam’s database automatically appears on the mobile device, making it easy to see the property in relation to other properties in the area.
  3. An appraiser goes into the field, s/he completes the custom appraisal form from the mobile device. At the same time can take digital photos that are associated with the fields on the form.
  4. Data from the mobile form, including the aerial imagery, immediately flows into the county’s CAMA database. The county appraiser can review data in real time, ask questions, and seek clarifications while the appraiser is in the field.

Now consider the benefits:

  • Enhanced communications. The field appraiser has all of the information s/he needs. Real-time access to property data in the field: aerial imagery for reference and historic data for comparison. In addition, s/he has digital forms that have been customized by the county for field data collection.
  • Paper-free work flow. The data that the appraiser collects goes directly from the mobile device in the field to the CAMA database in the back-office. Papers can’t be lost or damaged. People can’t make mistakes transcribing notes. There is no duplication of work. Everything flows from field-to-valuation.
  • Faster, more efficient, less costly appraisals. The bottom-line: counties can get more and better valuations in less time than it’s taking today.

FotoNotes and ControlCam are at the forefront of this digital revolution. In the months ahead more and more counties will be moving into a mobile environment that will allow them to use mobile phones and tablets to reduce paperwork, speed up their appraisal efforts, and in this era of tight budgets, reduce costs.