Land Use 2019: A Spatial Odyssey

2023 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Howard County, Md., MD

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About the Program

Category: Information Technology (Best in Category)

Year: 2023

In 2019 the Howard County Department of Planning & Zoning’s (DPZ) Research Division undertook a comprehensive upgrade of its Land Use database that converted a manual process to a user friendly, dynamic, and largely automated system. The Land Use database incorporates a wealth of critical data, such as development plans and building permits, for monitoring and projecting growth, in addition to traditional land use activity information. Maintained at the parcel-level since at least the 1970s, this extensive database heavily relied upon a cumbersome and tedious manual process to maintain prior to its upgrade. The upgrade allowed the County’s Land Use to more rapidly and efficiently reflect real time development patterns and changes. This significantly enhanced the timeliness and accuracy of data critical to many of DPZ’s analytical efforts including critical support provided to other departments and regional development forecasting efforts.