The New Year can be a time for quiet reflection upon the previous twelve months with a view to looking at the coming year. Much like 2015, 2016 was a busy year for BIS Consulting. Let’s take a look…
In March of 2016, the GIS team completed a database clean-up operation, the culmination of many hours of work. The operation removed over fifty thousand errors from over thirty counties in the database, which made the maps look better and improved the reliability and performance of working with the mapping data and queries.
In April, BIS Consulting introduced a temporary new British manager who gave the existing joint Chief Executives, Britt Martin and Brandon Kay, “the heave ho.” Plans for BIS Consulting included insisting drivers use the left side of the street, “sidewalks” be renamed as “pavements” and at least two “roundabouts” (traffic circles) installed in the vicinity of the office. Fortunately, the management change was an April Fool’s joke. Gotcha!
2016 was a busy year for conferences. The team attended or supported the Texas Association of Appraisal Districts Annual Conference (TAAD), the 82nd Tax Assessor-Collectors Association Conference (TACA), the TAAO & ICTA Annual Conference, and the 26th Annual SCAUG. We also attended and sponsored the Texas Rural Chief Appraisers Conference (TRCA) where, Britt Martin and Brandon Kay, were awarded the Troy Sloan Good Neighbor Award. Rounding off the year, we held our very own TechCon, which ran at the end of November to early December. For the TechCon 2016, we had a number of special guests, including Sterling Harris, Chad Prather, and Luke Wade.
In October, we unveiled our new website theme, which our development and marketing teams had been working on for some considerable time. Not only does the new theme look beautiful, but is now fully compatible on smartphones and tablets as well as laptops and desktop computers. We will be beginning the new website theme migration process in the second quarter of 2017.
Of course, the BIS team has been busy working for and with our clients! During the year, we have replaced old servers and infrastructure across the state with new equipment, as well as welcoming Cooke County, Navarro County, Schleicher County, and Van Zandt County, plus many others, to our family!
During a recent visit to the Brookshire Municipal Water District, the Mayor of Brookshire, Eric Scott, recognized Britt, Brandon, and Kenneth from BIS Consulting and started a discussion about the services that could be offered to him. As a result of that discussion, the City of Brookshire has now adopted the GIS Interactive Map Service, which uses Waller County Appraisal District’s existing database, but makes it accessible within the City of Brookshire offices. The City office is using our GIS Interactive Map for the most up-to-date city boundary and parcel information as part of their plan to smartly and strategically develop the City of Brookshire, which is just thirty miles away from Houston, America’s fourth largest city.
For additional information about our GIS services, drop us an email at email@example.com or call us at 800-247-9045.
BIS Consulting is pleased to announce that Wharton County’s 911 Addressing Office has joined the BIS family, and we are now providing them with our GIS Interactive Map! The 911 Addressing Office uses a very specific way of recording address information, which is applied across the entire county. There are two ways the 911 Addressing Office database is structured for the most accurate and useful of information. The first is that route and box numbers have been replaced with numerical street address information. Street addresses are assigned according to the distance a building is along a given road, with each mile divided into 1,000 numbers. As such, a structure that is 0.3 of a mile along a street will have an address of 300. Additionally, even numbers are on the right side of the road and odd numbers are on the left.
The database contains address information for both businesses and residences, and is used by the United States Postal Service, local businesses (such as delivery companies), and of course, citizens by making it easy to locate properties and buildings. We are very pleased that our GIS team has been entrusted with this critical information, and being given this responsibility will continue to highlight the strength and depth of experience within our team!
For more information about our GIS capabilities and how we can help your office, please give us a call at: 800-247-9045 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
BIS Consulting would like to extend a warm welcome to our three newest clients: Navarro Central Appraisal District, Moore County Appraisal District, and San Saba County Appraisal District! These three counties have signed up for a number of different services. The Navarro Central Appraisal District is now benefiting from multiple services including ProActive IT Maintenance and Support, Automated Backups, Website Hosting, Interactive Map, Online Protest, and Property Search.
Moore County Appraisal District is also benefiting from our Interactive Map, Property Search, and Website Hosting services, but they have also added GIS Maintenance. San Saba County Appraisal District has opted for our GIS Production, GIS Maintenance, Interactive Map, Property Search, and Website Hosting services after detailed discussions with our Client Relations personnel, Sterling Harris. As part of San Saba’s GIS Production service, the county will be switching to a digital map service, and BIS Consulting will be converting all of their existing paper maps to the new digital format.
For more information about our range of IT, GIS, and Sites services, you can call us at: 800-247-9045 or email us at: email@example.com
BIS Consulting is very pleased to announce that our latest website has now gone live! The Zavala County Appraisal District is our first website client to receive the new, upgraded, and improved BIS website theme! The new theme includes an improved and easier to use site layout and a revised color scheme. Behind the scenes, our developers have completely optimized the browser experience for smartphones and other mobile devices by making the websites much faster and more user-friendly on the small screens!
We are in the process of migrating our existing websites to the new theme, and we will be starting with the Property Search and Online Protest webpages first. The entire migration project is expected to be complete by the end of March 2017. If you are joining us at the BIS Consulting TechCon from November 29th through December 2nd, we will have a full demo of the new website theme! We will also provide some training on how to make website changes and updates within the new theme. If you are interested in attending the conference, be sure to contact us! For now, you can visit the new Zavala CAD website here: www.zavalacad.com
The 23rd Annual Texas Rural Chief Appraiser’s Conference is being held from November 13th through 15th at The Omni Hotel in Southpark, Austin. This year the TRCA is running a range of presentations on topics as diverse as “Finding the Funny in Change” and “Oil & Gas in a Downturned Economy.” As a proud partner of the TRCA, BIS Consulting is once again designing and hosting the conference scheduling application that will be available to attendees free of charge for all smartphones. The scheduler app provides attendees a customized, personal schedule for the entire conference, information on the venue and a directory of the sponsors, presenters and attendees. The application can even connect with your social media accounts, which is great for sharing information, and getting to know the other attendees to help build your network of like-minded industry contacts.
In addition to providing the schedule app, BIS Consulting is also proud to support the TRCA conference by providing the signs and banners. If you are attending the conference, or would like to know more, be sure to visit trcai.org/conference.
Stephanie, one of our GIS Technician IIs, is currently putting the finishing touches to Reeves County’s GIS data after a year of dedicated work. This time last year, Reeves’ data was out-of-date and Stephanie has amended the original data using a combination of DGN data, aerial photography, and legal descriptions for each property in order to restore each layer. She has corrected parcel, road, abstracts, lot lines, and city limit layers to where they are representing the correct boundaries.
Currently, the BIS GIS team is working closely with Reeves County Appraisal District for the “post production clean up” stage. The team has created a grid index and map book for the County Appraisal District to research unmapped accounts and submit corrections. The project is nearing completion and once the mapping data has been finalized, Reeves County will be compliant with the state requirements to maintain an up-to-date map accessible for the public, which is stored as a shapefile. There are several benefits of completing the project over and above complying with the legislation. Maps stored as shapefiles are easily manipulated and queried in sophisticated ways to produce reports and information much quicker and efficiently than before.
BIS Consulting is pleased to announce the launch of a new tax invoicing system, built and customized for the Comal County WORD (Water Oriented Recreation District). The new system has the ability to handle either monthly or quarterly sales, whereby a business is able to input their business type, line details, and of course, sales for items such as dry boat storage, rafting tour guides and similar. The website calculates the taxes owed. For a business with no sales, owners or accountants can input a zero balance, allowing you to report no sales rather than appearing as delinquent. Additionally, the website will generate a tax statement, if necessary. This can be printed for record keeping. In order to pay the tax, a business can either mail in the payment or pay online. The ability to pay online is provided by our business partner, Certified Payments. Since 1992, they have been an industry leader in providing highly secured government agency payments online.
In addition to the website, the BIS Consulting custom application also includes a management console that is able to track payments made and display those businesses having paid their taxes. The console also allows Comal County to add or remove businesses, revoke permits if the taxes are not paid, and track the status of existing permits. The county is expecting the new system to dramatically streamline the process of businesses filing their sales and calculating their tax bills. The website and application will be going live on January 1, 2017.
Do you need a similar customized application setting up on your website? If so, please contact BIS Consulting at 800-247-9045 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BIS TechCon 2016 is based around “Be a Game Changer” and will be running from November 29 to December 2 in Frisco, Texas. You and your staff will be able to learn about the latest industry developments, from open carry laws for the office to updating your website. You will also be able to listen to special guest Chad Prather, Sterling Harris, and Luke Wade. To help you get the most from our TechCon, we are pleased to announce the release of our BIS Consulting Schedule App, built around providing attendees a personal, customized schedule for the entire conference.
The Schedule App also offers so much more! After signing into the application, class materials are instantly available, making it much easier to have information in hand. The Schedule App also integrates with your smartphone or tablet calendar applications and can also send you email reminders of when and where you need to be for the next talk. In addition, there is a complete directory of other attendees, sponsors, and the venue. The Schedule App will also connect to your social media accounts, which is great for getting to know the other attendees to help build your network of like-minded industry contacts.
From any device, simply go to: schedule.bisconsultants.com
The BIS TechCon Schedule App is available for all devices, including Android, iOS, and Windows. No downloading or installation required. If you are viewing this on your smartphone, tap below to take you to the app entry.
Over the last few months, we’ve been upgrading servers and infrastructure across the state. We have added four clients. In alphabetical order, Cooke County signed up for IT Maintenance including server support and backups. We replaced Hill County’s server and the new machine comes with IT Maintenance and Support. We also replaced the network infrastructure and upgraded the boardroom with audio-visual equipment. Navarro County is now enjoying our competitive email and website hosting services and Schleicher County is benefiting from our IT Maintenance and Automated Backup plans.
The IT team has also been busy working with our existing clients on three major projects. Delta County replaced their workstations and server, as did Rockwall County. Rockwall also took advantage of the planned downtime to upgrade their network infrastructure with a new rack, switches, and router for a faster, more reliable connection. Finally, Walker County also replaced their terminals and added Microsoft Office 365.
Throughout the summer and despite the busy schedule, the IT team have kept their smiles and can-do attitude! To learn more about our IT services and what they can do for you, you can visit our IT services website page or call us on 800-247-9045.