Maps & Data Frequently Asked Questions
Livingston County, MichiganGeographic Information SystemsMaps & Data Frequently Asked Questions

Maps & Data Frequently Asked Questions

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Is the GIS available online?,

Visit our LivingstonLive online services website to purchase a map or GIS snapshot.  Both products are generated using the GIS layers.  The PDF map or snapshot will be created after you pay for the product with a credit card.  At this time, you cannot zoom or pan to view GIS data.

Can I order a map?,

Maps can be purchased in hard copy or digital format by visiting the GIS office located in the Administration Building – First Floor. Our address is 304 E. Grand River, Suite 101, Howell, MI 48843. The Administration Building is directly east of the Historic Courthouse.  Map orders can also be submitted to the Mapping Technician to be printed before you visit.

How much does it cost for a hard copy printout?,

Livingston County GIS offers a number of layers, which can be combined to create a custom map. The cost varies by the layer requested and the paper size selected (view our Hard Copy Map Order Form for current prices).

 

Can the maps and/or data be shipped?,

Yes.  The hard copy printouts and digital data can be sent to the customer, but shipping costs are extra charge.​

Can the map be e-mailed to me?,

Yes.  Maps can be exported to PDF and e-mailed to you.​

Can you print maps of other areas in Michigan?,

No.  We only have data for Livingston County.  However, many other countries also have GIS programs.  Contact the individual county to find out if they have a program similar to Livingston County.​

Are the data layers available in digital format?,

Yes. The orthophotography is available in TIF or MrSID format. TIFs can be viewed using any image viewing software. MrSID images or TIFs are mainly used in GIS or CAD software designed to view the images. Any user who has AutoCAD 2002 or later version can use the MrSID images. We most commonly provide the images in TIF format because people seem to be more familiar with that data format.

 

 
All other GIS layers are available in standard Esri shapefile format. Shapefiles can be inserted into AutoCAD or can be viewed in a variety of GIS software.

 

How much does it cost for digital data?,

According to the Enhanced Access Policy, the orthophotography costs $100 per section or $1 per acre. It is more cost effective to buy an entire section if the request is for more than an 1/8th (80 acres) of a section. The cost of other GIS layers varies by layer (view our Digital Data Request Form for a list of available layers and fees). 

 

How are digital products sent?,

If the files are small enough, the layers will be posted to our FTP site and you can download them at your convenience.  Larger file sizes require CD or DVD media that are shipped according to the prices listed on the order form.

 
What is orthophotography?,

Orthophotos are a stereo pair of aerial photographs mathematically and optically corrected to eliminate distortion caused by the curvature of the Earth and the curvature of the camera lens, but still have the readability of an aerial photograph. The main difference between orthophotos and aerial photos is that measurements can be done on orthophotos.

When were the most recent photos taken?,

The entire County was re-flown in Spring 2015 as part of a regional partnership that included the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), United States Geologic Survey (USGS), and all of the SEMCOG counties: Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St Clair, Washtenaw & Wayne.

Do you have historic aerials available?,

Yes.  We have true-color imagery for the entire county from 2000, 2005, 2008, and 2010.  The southeast quarter of the county was flown in 2002 and the northeast quadrant was updated in 2003.

Historical black and white photos are available from 1966, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995 for the entire county. We also have historical black and white photos from 1950 and 1975 available for most of the county. Historical black and white imagery was provided courtesy of Consumers Energy and SEMCOG.

What is the resolution of the imagery?,

The pixel resolution of the imagery varies with each orthophotography project:

  • 2000: 6” resolution in urban areas & 9” resolution in rural areas
  • 2002: 6” pixel resolution county-wide
  • 2003: 6” pixel resolution county-wide
  • 2005: 6” pixel resolution county-wide
  • 2008: 12” pixel resolution county-wide
  • 2010: 12” pixel resolution county-wide
  • 2015: 6" pixel resolution county-wide
What data is found in the Roads layer?,

Road names can be auto-labeled or can be added to a map as annotation. The road names were verified in 2004 and the GIS road centerline layer contains the correct road name for the majority of streets in the County. The roads file also includes address ranges for every segment in the county. 

E9-1-1 Central Dispatch uses the road names and address ranges as part of the Computer Aided Dispatch system. The County Clerk and local Clerks also utilize the road centerline data to assist with maintaining the Qualified Voter File to ensure each voter is placed in the proper precinct, school district, zip code, etc.   The roads are updated at the end of each month.

What is the accuracy of the Parcel layer?,

Generally, the parcel lines are within 5-10 feet. However, we know certain areas need further investigation, which will occur as we maintain the parcel layer. If you think the parcel lines are not accurate, please contact the GIS Technician and provide any additional deeds, surveys, or other information that may help us map your parcel.

How did you map all the parcels in the County?,

We mapped the legal description listed in the tax roll. Each parcel or subdivision was entered in AutoCAD. Then, all parcels were put together like a puzzle to create the data you view through the GIS. The subdivisions were inserted into the township-wide drawing first because they are platted/surveyed and (most likely) have a higher spatial accuracy. Next, the parcels with Metes & Bounds descriptions were inserted. Finally, any aliquot description (NE¼-NE¼-etc) or description referencing landmarks were entered.

What information can you obtain from the Parcel layer?,

Each parcel has long tax id number and short tax id number (which is easier to use for labeling). The parcel polygons have been linked to the assessment database to display owner information, addresses, assessment values, etc. The GIS_ACRES field contains the acreage calculated by the GIS; it may not match the acreage included in the legal description. Along with the parcel lines, subdivision polygons with names and block numbers are also available. All parcel-related data layers are updated on a daily basis.

What do elevation contours show?,

The 2' Contours are derived from the LiDAR data, which was collected during the Spring 2010 ortho project.  The contours were generated in-house using the Esri 3D Analyst Extension. Contours can be used to provide a general topography of the land. If contour lines are close together, then a slope or ridge exists in that location. Contour lines also point upstream so users can determine the general drainage pattern of the area.

What features are included in the Hydrology datatest?,

Lakes, rivers, & open drains are included in the dataset. These features were digitized from the orthophotography. The Lakes file includes all open water sources. The Rivers file includes all rivers, streams, creeks, & open drains. Names of the County Drains were obtained from maps provided by the Drain Commissioner’s Office; no tile drains have been included in the hydrology dataset.

Do you have a wetlands layer available?,

Yes, we have two layers that have been created to map the wetlands throughout Michigan:

  • National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) - digital version of the National Wetlands Inventory. These data were compiled in 1971.  Class codes indicate the type of vegetation potentially found in that location.
  • DEQ Wetlands - In 2006, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality published a wetlands layer. The DEQ Wetlands data includes a description and acreage of each wetland area.  Areas were determined to be wetlands based on their presence in the historic NWI or MIRIS data and the location of hydric soils.

 

Does the presence of wetlands on my property mean that I cannot build?,

Not necessarily. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality regulates wetlands that meet certain criteria. Contact the MDEQ at 1-800-662-9278 or visit the State and Federal Wetland Regulations portion of the MDEQ website to obtain additional information.

What is a floodplain?,

A floodplain is an area adjacent to a river, lake or stream that will be inundated by water when a flood occurs. Every river, lake or stream has a floodplain associated with it.

What is the 100-year floodpain?,

The 100-year floodplain is the land adjacent to a river, lake or stream that will be inundated by water during a flood which has a 1% chance of occurring of being exceeded during any given year. Each year, there is a 1% chance of a 100-year flood event. The 100-year flood may occur several years in a row or it may occur very infrequently. If you live within the 100-year floodplain, we do not know when the 1% chance flood will occur, but at some point in time, it will occur.
Is my property in a floodplain?,

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) creates maps showing the 100-year floodplain and other areas considered a flood hazard risk.  We have a digital version of the Flood Insurance Rate Maps that can be overlaid with the parcel lines to show if your property falls within the floodplain.

How often does FEMA update the Flood Insurance maps?,

In 2008, FEMA published new Flood Insurance Rate Maps in Livingston County’s three major watersheds: Huron River, Red Cedar, & the Shiawassee River.  FEMA has not released a schedule to update the maps again.

Why am I required to buy flood insurance?,

Under the National Flood Insurance Program Reform Act, if a building securing a loan is located within a federally identified 100-year floodplain and the lender is federally regulated, supervised or insured, flood insurance must be required as a condition of the loan. Under the Act, if the lender makes a loan on a structure that is in the 100-year floodplain and does not require the flood insurance, they will be subject to fines.

How can I prove I am not in the floodplain so I do not need to purchase flood insurance?,

If the property is within the floodplain on the Flood Insurance Rate Map, the only way to remove the flood insurance purchase requirement is to apply to FEMA for a letter of map amendment (LOMA). A LOMA requires that the property owner submit surveyed elevation information that demonstrates that the structure is above the 100-year flood elevation. The elevation certificate and the LOMA can be downloaded from FEMA’s website.  Contact the Department of Environmental Quality - Water Management Division if you have additional questions about floodplains or flood insurance (517-335-3448).