Geographic Information Systems: Pinpointing Lost Revenues
Pens, Joshua, Government Finance Review
The proliferation of information now available creates exciting opportunities as well as challenges for tax auditors. The proverbial "shoe box" of accounting records has been digitized and is recorded in ever-increasing detail. Solutions for efficiently and accurately auditing large amounts of electronic data can be costly and difficult to implement. However, the City of Westminster, Colorado, recently solved one of its most tedious and time consuming audit procedures using a geographic information system (GIS)--an in-house tool employed with minimal training and expense.
GIS is "an information system that is designed to work with data referenced by spatial or geographical coordinates. In other words, a GIS is both a database system with specific capabilities for spatially referenced data, as well as a set of operations for working with data." (1) At its core, a GIS is a database. In addition to the traditional tables of information, a GIS includes specialized tools for managing and analyzing spatially referenced data. GIS also stores points, lines, and polygon shapes representing real objects. These features are precisely located to a specific latitude and longitude, creating complex spatial models.
Behind these features, data tables store detailed information about the graphics. For example, the map may include shapes representing land parcels. When a specific parcel is selected, the GIS can detail the parcel's legal description, owner, taxable value, or associated building permits.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS
GIS, like all databases, allows users to make queries. Specific datasets can be selected from tables based …
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Publication information: Article title: Geographic Information Systems: Pinpointing Lost Revenues. Contributors: Pens, Joshua - Author. Magazine title: Government Finance Review. Volume: 25. Issue: 2 Publication date: April 2009. Page number: 56+. © 1999 Government Finance Officers Association. COPYRIGHT 2009 Gale Group.
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