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News

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

The State of Texas is Teaming up with Google to Bring Government Entities Affordable Imagery


BIS caught wind of the Texas Google Imagery Service Pilot Project and wanted to make sure all of our clients are aware of this opportunity! This project will provide government entities with six-inch ortho aerials that can be utilized in our Web Maps and in our GIS Maintenance. Government entities can also download a copy to their local server, if needed.

Benefits

The benefits of this imagery project include:

  • Updated imagery from Google for web maps that is current and allows government entities to work with the imagery, making your maps more accurate in doing GIS Maintenance.
  • Download your own copy for use in your own applications.
  • Affordable up to date, clean images.
  • Historical images for the past couple of years.

Costs

This project makes Google Imagery free until August 21, 2017 for government agencies. We spoke to TNRIS and they are projecting that the price after the pilot is over will vary between entities, but will come out on average between $7,000 – $12,000 per year to have access to current and past imagery that is very clean and accurate.

Restrictions

The current restriction is that it is a service definition and the file types make it to where only mapping software can use it. Another restriction is that the agency is not allowed to give access to the imagery to anyone except the vendor they apply for, otherwise it is only allowed to be used in the county appraisal district.

How to get it

For more information, you can go to https://tnris.org/texas-imagery-service/. If you would like to signup you can go to https://tnris.org/google-request/ and put BIS Consulting as your vendor. Since this is a government project we cannot request this data, it will have to be requested through your office on our behalf. We hope that you will sign up for this so the state will keep the project open and continue in the future! When Google sends you the information after you signup, please forward it on to us and we will get it in use ASAP! If you have any questions, email Kenneth kweismuller@bisconsultants.com or give us a call (800)247-9045.

Here is some help completing the form to allow BIS Consulting to integrate the imagery data into your GIS Interactive Map:

Austin County Appraisal District Adds Website Hosting and Property Search


We are pleased to announce that Austin County Appraisal District has upgraded their services with BIS Consulting to include Website Hosting and Property Search! Austin CAD had already been using our IT and GIS services for a number of years. Following the upgrade, Austin CAD is also using our latest generation website, which has been designed from the ground up to be compatible with mobile devices, laptops, and desktop computers. We have also incorporated the Property Search application into Austin CAD’s new website. This allows taxpayers simple and quick access to the database search engine from one click on the website title bar, right next to the Interactive Map button.

For more information about our website building and hosting service, our Property Search application, our IT Maintenance, or our GIS mapping services, please call us on 800-247-9045 or drop us a message at admin@bisconsultants.com.

Williamson Central Appraisal District Offers New Website and Online Forms Submission Service


We are pleased to announce that Williamson Central Appraisal District has upgraded their BIS Consulting services to include our latest generation website and online forms submission services. For this project, we migrated Williamson CAD’s existing extensive website content across to the new platform, updating and recreating as necessary. We also custom designed a number of forms relative to their office. Williamson CAD’s information and online forms submission portal are now fully accessible from the website here: http://www.wcad.org/. Additional features of these two new services include compatibility on smart devices! This means that property owners can have the convenience of completing and submitting their forms on almost any internet-connected device, without needing to use a laptop or desktop computer!

Williamson CAD is one of a small number of appraisal district offices in Texas recognized by the IAAO with the prestigious Certificate of Excellence in Assessment Administration. This means the office applies and integrates the best appraisal district industry practices. For property owners, this means he or she should receive the most comprehensive and helpful service from the office including all communication, such as telephone calls, email, and website browsing.

With this in mind, Williamson CAD’s website has been designed to make it very easy and clear to find additional information about the office, including a list of all online services, community outreach projects, public information database, and organizational transparency documents. In addition to hosting Williamson CAD’s website, BIS Consulting also provides the appraisal office with IT support, by offering IT maintenance and data backup and recovery services.

We are honored to have been chosen to provide the website design, hosting and technology support of Williamson CAD! As their website and technology service provider, we must also adhere to the IAAO’s standards and expectations. Are you interested in using the same foundations for your own website? Do you need the very best IT support and maintenance? If so, you can call us on 800-247-9045 or drop us an email at admin@bisconsultants.com and we will be happy to discuss your requirements.

Throckmorton County Appraisal District’s New Website Now Live!


BIS Consulting is pleased to announce that Throckmorton County Appraisal District’s new website is now live! Throckmorton CAD began using BIS’s email hosting service in the summer of 2016, but have since decided to utilize our new generation website! BIS Consulting’s new website theme has been re-designed from the ground to be fast, easily accessible, and compatible on all devices ranging from smartphones to desktop computers. The new website contains a variety of useful information for property owners such as how to contact the appraisal office, important dates and related to property taxes, and an extensive library of forms. Be sure to visit the website here http://www.throckmortoncad.org/
 
If you would like to talk to BIS Consulting about getting your very own website, please contact us at admin@bisconsultants.com or 1-800-247-9045.

BIS Consulting Attending 2017 TAAD Conference February 19th – 22nd


BIS Consulting will be attending the 2017 TAAD (Texas Association of Appraisal Districts) Conference held from Sunday, February 19th to Wednesday, February 22nd. This year the TAAD Conference is at the Houston Marriott Westchase Hotel and registration opens at midday on Sunday afternoon. The conference will include discussions of the latest appraisal legislation, how to engage “Generation Y” with amazing customer service, advice on how to work with different generations in the workplace, and a presentation of the change in land prices because of a fall in oil and gas production.
 
BIS Consulting is proud to be sponsor the TAAD Conference for 2017, and will be presenting a trade booth where you can meet some of the team to talk about our latest products, services and propositions, including our GIS Mapping, Property Search, and Online Protest services. We can demonstrate our new website theme that works on all smart devices, as well as discuss our use of Dell’s scalable PowerVault servers. The PowerVault server uses virtualization for maximum reliability, resulting in minimal downtime for you and your property owners. If you are planning to attend the TAAD Conference, please visit our booth and say hello! We hope to see you there!

Reeves County Appraisal District Upgrading Services


Last year, our GIS department worked with Reeves CAD in order to update their GIS database and ensure it was compliant with Texas state legislation. The update included keeping the database accessible for the public. Following the successful conclusion of the database updating operation, Reeves CAD transitioned to our GIS Maintenance service in order to keep the database up to date going forward. Reeves CAD was very happy with our service and have now adopted our GIS Interactive Map, Property Search, and Website Hosting services, which are currently live! Reeves CAD is using our new and improved website. Check it out! http://www.reevescad.org/
 
For additional information about our services, drop us an email at admin@bisconsultants.com or call us at 800-247-9045.
 


BIS Consulting provided Complete Network Installation for Thomas Y. Pickett & Company

Complete Network Installation for Thomas Y. Pickett & Company
You may have heard that BIS Consulting offers a full IT management service. We can cover everything from server maintenance and equipment installations to software upgrades and network monitoring. Last October, BIS was contracted by Thomas Y. Pickett & Company (TYP) for a complete turn-key network installation. TYP relocated their corporate office to Addison Tower and was in need of a network upgrade to support their growing staff and to meet future objectives. The result was a top of the line network, ideal for a small growing corporate office. The project included 150 CAT6e data ports, 3 Dell N2000 Family Switches, 2 Sonicwall TZ400s, Unifi distributed Wi-Fi, and a fiber internet connection to support the network. Ten new Dell workstations rounded out the end user portion of the system. BIS flawlessly completed the entire project in less than 3 weeks, thanks to their team of talented IT experts.
 
TYP is a business partner of BIS Consulting and attended our 2016 TechCon. As a sponsor and exhibitor, they took all attendees on a field trip to their office to showcase their new place and what BIS had done for them.
 
Do you have an IT hardware or software project where you would like the reassurance of professional, qualified, friendly and approachable technicians? Contact BIS Consulting to discuss your needs. We can cover all aspects of your IT project, including the design and planning of an upgrade, the installation, and any additional training or support you may need afterward.
 
For additional information about our IT services, drop us an email at admin@bisconsultants.com or call us at 800-247-9045.
 

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