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Author Archive

Are you prepared for Hurricane Harvey? BIS Automated Backup Clients are.

The remnants of Harvey pose a flooding threat to Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast

With Harvey redeveloping as soon as this Wednesday, August 23, 2017, there is a chance that it will make landfall somewhere from northeast Mexico to the Texas Gulf Coast around Friday.

BIS is closely monitoring the weather in South Texas and is prepared to respond with any disaster recovery needs for our clients that have our Automated Backup service.

BIS Consulting Sponsors TAAO & ICTA Conference 2017


The TAAO & ICTA Conference is described as “the premier event for all property tax professionals in Texas.” The theme for this year is “Smooth Sailing.” The TAAO & ICTA Conference will take place Sunday, August 27 to Wednesday, August 30 at the Omni Corpus Christi hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas. There is a wide and varied series of presentations on a number of topics, including our very own Britt and Brandon, as well as some less serious events. There’s a golf tournament, a Fun Run, yoga class, and ice cream! If you haven’t signed up to participate, we recommend you visit this website http://www.taao.org/?page=conference and complete the registration form.

Register for the Fun Run or Yoga Class and note that you were referred by BIS to receive a freebie!

We are proud to sponsor the conference again, and the sponsorship includes the brochure, the Flight Simulator, and the band that you’ll be able to watch aboard the USS Lexington. Oh? Didn’t we mention that there’s a live band aboard the USS Lexington?! We have a stand at booth #9, next door to our partners, Thomas Y. Pickett and Certified Payments. This year, we have designed a “Popeye the Sailor Man” booth and theme to go along with Smooth Sailing, be sure to check it out! You might want to bring along some spinach as we will be lending our own unique lean on Smooth Sailing! At our booth, you can learn about BIS Consulting and what we do. We’ll be showcasing our new free TAAO Chapters website, which has been built to allow local chapters of TAAO to publish their meeting agendas and notes.

If you feel the need… the need for speed… be sure to join Lt. Pete Mitchell and Lt. Nick Bradshaw – that’s callsigns Maverick and Goose – on the USS Lexington, where we will be handing out freebies to all you budding US Navy aviators out there!

As you can see, we are all very excited to be back at the TAAO & ICTA Conference. We hope to see you there, sailors!

Look for us and our booth neighbors TYP and Certified Payments!

Calling All TAAO Chapters: You Have A New Website


Juan Saucedo of the Alamo Chapter of the TAAO approached BIS Consulting to see if we could create a website for the TAAO Chapters that will allow them to post Chatper information, agendas, and meeting details. Of course, we were delighted to help! We custom designed and produced a new sponsored website, www.taaochapters.com, including the website layout, logos, and uploaded the content for the first featured Chapter, Alamo. The new website went live in early August 2017 and allows individual Chapters to showcase information about their operations. The website will include details of up and coming events together with information about previous meetings.
 
The new website is live today – check it out! The 2017 TAAO & ICTA Conference, 2017 IAAO Annual Conference, and 2017 TRCA Annual Conferences are already showcased on the website, but we’ve built this website for all TAAO Chapters! Contact us with your chapter information today so we can post it on the website! You can email bkay@bisconsultants.com or 800-247-9045. Tell us how we can help your Chapter succeed.
 

GIS Team Refines City Boundary for City of Brookshire


Two members of the BIS Consulting GIS team have been working with the City of Brookshire and researching their records, dating back over seventy years, to confirm the city boundary. After over two months of work, the GIS team members were able to clarify and confirm the city boundary and, during the process, discovered at least forty- three parcels that had not paid taxes to the City of Brookshire for a number of years. This city is a relatively small town; therefore, these missing parcels represent a noticeable drop in tax revenue.
 
During the investigation and data reconciliation project, the GIS team mapped out twenty-six annexations and have re-established the City of Brookshire’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ. In effect, this allows the City of Brookshire police, ambulance and fire crews to service this area beyond the official city boundary.
 
Now that the investigation is complete, GIS is sending their data to Waller County Appraisal District, so that the county records may be updated. You can see the map data at this link gis.bisconsultants.com/cityofbrookshire/
 
If you would like to know more about BIS or how our GIS team can provide a great service for you, please call us on 800-247-9045 or email us at: kweismuller@bisconsultants.com.
 

Free BIS Trading Card booster pack if you sign up for the Fun Run at TAAO!

Sign up and get free BIS Trading Cards!

The Walter Stoneham Scholarship Committee has reached out to BIS to help promote these exciting 2017 TAAO & ICTA Conference events! Sign up for the Fun Run or Yoga class and mention BIS on your registration form to receive a 5 card booster pack of BIS Trading Cards!

Want to run with BIS?

After you register, please email Nami Ahmed, nahmed@bisconsultants.com, for details on our team colors and theme!


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Email Scam Alert – May 2017


Our goal at BIS is to help you be productive while keeping your data protected. Over the last week, it has been brought to our attention that an email scam has hit a few districts and is proving to be very sneaky. We want you to be aware so you can alert your staff and be proactive with these scams.

Key items to look for in this email scam:

  • The email is appearing to come from the chief appraiser’s email address and they are sending it to the finance person or the deputy.
  • The subject line reads “Transaction Request”
  • The body of the message reads “OK, I’m busy right now and i want you to process an outgoing domestic instant wire bank transfer today. So, i need you to email back and reconfirm what information required in order for you to process the transfer.”
  • The signature is the chief appraiser and underneath it reads “Sent from my iphone”

What should you do if you received an email like this and have responded?

  • Do not respond. If you have, do not send any more responses.
  • Change your computer login password.
  • Change your email password.
  • Run a malware scan on your computer just to be safe.
  • Call BIS for assistance with any of the above items.

The best way to protect your office is to promote communication.

  • Share this article to your entire staff.
  • Tell them they should always ask you in person or on the phone when they get an email of urgency to send money.
  • Remind them to use secure passwords and never use a family members name or a birth date as this information is all easily available on social media and can be accessed by virtually anyone.

If you would like any more information please feel free to give us a call at (800)247-9045.

Remember – being Proactive will keep you Protected so you can stay Productive.

BIS Consulting Welcomes Fisher, Potter Randall, and San Patricio CADs to the Family


BIS Consulting is pleased to welcome three new county appraisal districts to our client family: Fisher, Potter Randall and San Patricio. Fisher County Appraisal District has signed up to use a number of our services. Fisher CAD will be using our GIS Interactive Map and GIS Hourly Support contract. The GIS Interactive Map service will provide the appraisal district with access to our online, interactive, and shareable mapping software.

Our GIS Hourly Support service will provide Fisher CAD access to our team of highly skilled GIS Technicians. This service is designed to support an existing GIS team by providing expert technicians on hand to help where needed. The service is ideal for providing urgent or temporary GIS Technician coverage to get your busy GIS department through a difficult period.

The Potter Randall County Appraisal District will also soon be using our GIS Interactive Map, as well as our new generation website. We will also be hosting their Online Protest, Property Search, and Online Forms submission services. Our new generation website has been designed to be fully compatible with all devices, including smartphones and tablets! In addition to containing information about the appraisal district, the website also includes links to our other services such as GIS Mapping, Online Appeals, Online Forms, and Property Search services. Our website customers can enjoy the convenience of using these services wherever they are, and on whatever electronic device they are using.

The San Patricio County Appraisal District has signed up for our IT Maintenance service, including support for both servers and workstations, plus secure and offsite backups. We will keep San Patricio’s IT equipment and infrastructure running smoothly! San Patricio will also be using our new generation website, including links to the other BIS Consulting services that the appraisal district uses, which are GIS Mapping, Online Appeals and Property Search.

Would you like to find out more about BIS Consulting’s products and services, and do you need the very best IT support and maintenance? Please call us on 800-247-9045 or email at admin@bisconsultants.com and we will be happy to discuss your requirements.

BIS and Skyvision Support Van Zandt Tornado Disaster Recovery

On Saturday, April 29th multiple tornadoes ripped through Van Zandt County. One tore a 40-mile path through the center of the County and through the county seat, Canton. Unfortunately, four people were killed and dozens were injured. Our hearts and prayers go out to those people directly impacted by the disaster. The cleanup operation will take weeks if not months.


After a natural disaster such as a tornado strike, time is of the essence. Emergency services and recovery teams need to know the most heavily damaged areas, including ownership information. County Appraisal Districts are bombarded with information requests, including imagery of the impacted areas, and the number of requests can be overwhelming.

In the case of Van Zandt County, the appraisal district asked BIS Consulting if we could help provide the information needed. The answer was a resounding “yes.”

BIS Consulting was able to provide parcel boundary and ownership information free of charge to emergency responders. Our database provides the information in an industry-standard Esri Shapefile format. We provided links to our GIS Interactive Map, which allows field operators to access the information remotely or out in the field. At the same time we contacted our industry partner, specialist drone operators and aerial photographers, SkyVision. SkyVision’s drones are flown by ex-military pilots, and are smaller and more nimble than traditional aircraft. This means that in most cases they can get closer to the affected areas. When combined with today’s small, high-resolution digital camera technology, SkyVision’s drones are able to take excellent quality photographs at very short notice.

However, before SkyVision’s drones were able to operate, the company needed plan and coordinate with the FAA and local authorities. This required information from BIS Consulting so that we could maximize the coverage of damaged areas, and this in turn meant providing details of the tornado’s track data. Although BIS Consulting was unable to confirm the optimal route until the National Weather Service had provided the tornado track data, one of our GIS team members utilized the Texas storm chaser networks to obtain an early, unconfirmed plot of the tornado track. This information was passed on to SkyVision and this in turn meant the pilots were able to plot a preliminary flight plan. When the National Weather Service released the official tornado track data, SkyVision was able to expedite their final flight plan process and the aircraft was sent up into the air on Thursday, May 4th.

Once the SkyVision drone had provided detailed imagery, they were immediately processed and added to our database – taking just five days.

This meant that Van Zandt CAD had access to detailed, high resolution photography of the impacted area only ten days after the disaster, with the advantage that this was achieved at a fraction of the cost of traditional aerial imagery techniques. We added the post-tornado imagery to the database to allow the damage to be compared and assessed with pre-tornado photographs. Furthermore, the information gathered allowed our GIS team to produce paper maps and run a number of analysis reports to show the affected properties, which can be emailed as a spreadsheet to interested parties.

BIS Consulting and SkyVision are happy to have been able to help the Van Zandt County Appraisal District in a difficult situation, where intelligent use of technology can make a real difference in bringing information to the emergency services in a timely and efficient manner. However, SkyVision’s drones and our GIS Interactive Map services are not just for emergency situations! The power of this partnership will allow most Appraisal Districts the ability to obtain high quality imagery with a robust GIS Interactive Map at a fraction of the cost and time.

See Van Zandt’s GIS Interactive Map! Click on Skyvision in the Basemap Selector

Save $1,000 off a HP DesignJet Z5600 44-in PostScript ePrinter

Save $1,000 off HP DesignJet Z5600 44-in PostScript ePrinter

Act now to get the best value for the money that appraisal districts love!

 
Create in-house posters, photos, canvases, backlit prints, indoor signs, line drawings, and maps.

Express Printing: Fast one-click, and multi-roll

  • Boost operator media loading efficiency up to 75% with automatic multi-roll printing
  • Print up to 39% faster—save time on technical drawings with quick-drying HP Vivid Photo Inks
  • Easy—one-click printing, color touchscreen, print preview, direct USB flash drive, email printing
  • Flexible—supports color workflows with genuine Adobe® PostScript® and broad choice of RIPs

Vivid, eye-catching, water/fade-resistant images

  • Impressive—HP chromatic red ink enhances the color gamut—ideal for high-impact POP signs and posters
  • Versatile—with pigment-based photo inks for GIS, durable maps, technical drawings and photos, canvas
  • Reliable color, line accuracy—HP Professional PANTONE® color emulation, with Adobe® PostScript®/PDF, HP-GL/2
  • Durable—water/scratch/fade-resistant and archivable prints last up to 200 years with HP Vivid Photo Inks

SAVINGS: Cut costs with HP 6-ink printing system

  • Up to 20% ink consumption savings using HP’s optimized 6-ink printing system
  • No maintenance cartridge—auto drop detection and nozzle switching reduce cleaning, maintain image quality
  • Less operator intervention and more cost-effective printing with 300-ml HP ink cartridges
  • Optimize media usage by autoarranging multiple images on a roll with HP DesignJet Click printing software

Normally retails for $5,995.99

BIS Special Price: $4,995.99

Does not include setup or shipping.
Limited time only.
 

✅ ARB Tech Checklist: Are you ready?

ARB Season is right around the corner! Are you ready?

BIS Consulting is here to help you prepare for the hustle and bustle of ARB season by providing preparatory measures, expert support, and reliable hardware to ensure your hearings runs smoothly. While everyone’s boardroom is unique, we went ahead and put together a quick checklist of the 5 most common items to test beforehand:

  1. Login to your boardroom PC and test that your CAMA appraisal software connection is working.
  2. Test the microphone to be sure it is recording properly.
  3. Check your printer connections and print a test page.
  4. Verify that your projector is working properly.
  5. Login to your public PC that displays the ARB Survey Form 50-823 and test that the form is open and ready for property owners to use.

Were there any issues? If so, call us today and let one of our amazing techs help you! (800)247-9045

 

Don’t forget about the public PC that the state requires you to provide for all property owners that visit your office!

Special ARB hardware and equipment deal from your IT experts!

If you find that you are in need of equipment, check out this ARB package with incredible pricing: a Dell Optiplex Micro Form Factor PC, a wide-range condenser microphone, and a plug-and-play signal adapter for only $999, with expedited shipping included! For only $300 more, get an expert BIS technician to bring your equipment, install it, and provide training and best practice methods on equipment use and care.


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