British Columbia and Desktop Assessment

  • Industry: Provincial Government
  • Location: British Columbia, Canada
  • Population: 4,573,321
  • Tyler Client Since: 2009
  • Total Properties on 2012 Assessment Roll: 1,917,394
  • Tyler Products Used: Tyler Verify
  • The Facts: British Columbia has experienced rapid growth of both housing and new construction in recent years. Population in 2011 was up seven percent from 2006 figures, and there was an accompanying housing boom. As a result, BC Assessment has been working to maintain its service levels in the face of increased housing units, and without an increase in staff count.
  • Contact: Connie Fair, President and CEO |

Key Challenges

  • Reduce reassessment costs and improve productivity
  • Achieve a standardized reassessment cycle

Action Taken

A pilot Desktop Review project to address these challenges was launched in 2009 and continues today. Tyler Verify street-level imagery collection service and data integration support were instrumental to the project’s success.

Benefits: Financial and Beyond

Financial Results. Metrics were compiled comparing the time and cost incurred from a physical site visit to the Desktop Review process. Net savings were calculated based on the differences. These were compiled for a sample jurisdiction of approximately 23,000 properties.

Item Site Visit Method Desktop Review Method Net Savings
Time to complete one property reassessment 27.4 minutes 8.86 minutes 18.54 minutes
Labor cost per property $25.89 $8.37 $17.52
Total labor costs $877,435 $283,718 $593,717
Total costs $877,435 $563,443 $313,992

Productivity. Tyler Verify services helped BC Assessment to reduce costs by enabling their staff to perform property appraisals from the desktop, rather than through physical site visits.

Uniform assessment by jurisdiction. Assessments were completed on a jurisdiction-wide basis, not piece-by-piece as properties were sold, built or updated.

Standardized cycle time. No property goes for long periods without being reassessed, and all are up to date, resulting in more efficient appeal reviews and inquiries down the road.

Desktop Review captured home improvements and other nonmarket change.

The savings outweighed the costs, even with additional costs for imagery and sketch capture.

Why Tyler?

  • Tyler has more than 70 years of experience in the appraisal and tax software and services industry.
  • Tyler provides tremendous flexibility and guidance during implementation of all its software and services. It will work with database connectivity challenges and other vendors to assure a smooth-running integrated system.
  • Tyler provides a large array of on-going support options.

Tyler produced a high quality street-front photo product and provided it on schedule for the Desktop Review time window. And they authored building plan sketches, tailoring the work resources to complete them on time.

Doug Carmichael

BC Assessment GIS Analyst

The Challenge

The British Columbia Assessment Authority produces independent, uniform and efficient property assessments on an annual basis for all property owners in the province of British Columbia. In recent years, British Columbia has enjoyed a strong economy with record growth of new construction. As the number of residential properties has grown, there has been mounting pressure placed on BC Assessment to maintain high levels of accuracy, uniformity and reliability, while continuing to create a more open environment with their external clients.

In addition, working with static staffing levels, BC Assessment needed to address the escalating demand by improving the efficiency and cost effectiveness of its data collection processes. BC Assessment chose to partner with Tyler Technologies to create a fully integrated system that allowed assessment staff to review properties exclusively from within their office, with no field inspections. In several counties in the United States, a similar combination of technologies, imagery and data had proven to be of significant value.

Based on this feedback, the Desktop Review pilot project was launched in 2009 and continues into 2012. Its objectives are to: 1) Improve process efficiency and reduce the cost of data collection for new and existing properties; and 2) Implement a standardized reassessment cycle for existing inventory.

Partnering with Tyler to Create an Integrated Solution

Tyler Technologies provided street-front photo capture, and sketch authoring and georeferencing for Desktop Review.


After working with BC Assessment to plan the street-front imagery coverage and project details, Tyler’s photography vans captured the required imagery. and Tyler staff then worked to integrate the imagery into the assessor’s CAMA system.


Tyler also provided sketching resources for converting building plans in PDF format to XML format. The CAMA vendor provided a synchronization function that would automatically load all photos, sketches, and map data when navigating to a property. In addition, Tyler worked with BC Assessment’s CAMA system and their own staff to georeference XML sketch files using orthophotos and BC Assessment’s spatial data as a guide. This resulted in a GIS layer, which was overlaid in ESRI’s ArcMap tool (a desktop extension of their CAMA tool).


The software enhancements required to implement Desktop Review functionality involved the complex integration of Tyler street-front imagery and BC Assessment’s CAMA software along with a number of other applications and data sources, such as oblique and ortho aerial imagery, street-front photos, sketch integration and sketch georeferencing.

Desktop Review Makes a Difference

In 2010, all aspects of the system tools and data developed for the Desktop Review project were released for use to all CAMA system users at BC Assessment. The implementation of Desktop Review was highly successful, meeting all its intended goals, and with the help of Tyler’s implementation team, on time. The initiative provided the following benefits in residential mass appraisal.

  • There are considerable cost savings using the Desktop Review method for reassessing residential property. Even considering the additional imagery and sketch work costs for Desktop Review, it results in cost savings of 35 percent when compared to conventional inspection methods.
  • Assessment inventory for the entire jurisdiction is updated together. In traditional methods, a reassessment is often triggered by a sale, building permit or inquiry from owners or neighbors. A “driveby” of a neighborhood may also occur; however, there are many more properties than staff resources to do this in a timely manner. Some residences may go 20+ years without being physically inspected. With Desktop Review, residential inventory is verified at once, resulting in a uniform, reliable, and up-to-date value for property owners.
  • Non-market change is captured. Desktop Review captures home additions or improvements (non-market change) that may not have had building permits for these improvements. Capturing this reflects the true value of the property.

About Tyler Verify

Tyler Verify provides data verification services and streetlevel imaging to government agencies, offering cost-effective solutions for the collection and verification of real property, addressing and GIS parcel layer data.

Case Study Highlights

  • Tyler staff captured all necessary street-level imagery and uploaded files into the CAMA system
  • Property appraisals were conducted on desktops, rather than relying on physical, costly site visits
  • Resident inventory was verified at once, resulting in a uniform, reliable, and up-to-date value for property owners

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