Allen County will abolish most fees previously charged for county maps and will join 85 other counties participating in the IndianaMap initiative.
Its not the end; its a new beginning, Allen County Commissioner Linda Bloom said Friday.
The county will continue to charge for customized mapping or for printing a map, but map fees ranging from $85 to $15,000, depending on the detail of the request, were eliminated.
The IndianaMap program is free to anyone and accessible on any office, home or field computer.
When the countys GIS department was created, user fees were put in place to provide for expansion of the department and programs, Bloom said.
With online advancements, certain services are in less demand, said Dave Estes, who manages the countys geographic information systems office.
Fifteen years ago a person could not access Google maps or free GIS services on the Internet, Estes said. That has changed.
There was also a disparity between the county and state services, he said.
Other factors such as the city of Fort Wayne sharing in costs of the GIS department, have offset the previous need for user fees, as well, Estes said.
While the IndianaMap is an excellent tool, the county maps have more accurate and more local data, Estes said. Because of that, the free access will be especially beneficial to contractors, builders and developers and should enhance local economic efforts, Estes said.