For the second year in a row, Missoula County has been awarded a Montana Land Information Act grant to support Map Missoula, a project led by the Clerk and Recorder’s Office. The $39,046 awarded by the Montana State Library will continue last year’s efforts by funding temporary staffing and internships. Real Property Projects Coordinator Sam Scott explains.

“Map Missoula is a large initiative of our office and a few others across Missoula County and even some community partners where we're really working to coordinate our efforts relating to mapping efforts,” Scott said. “Rather than having a bunch of different siloed portals where people can access property information or inquire about what's going on in their neighborhood or look at the history of their property or their home, we're trying to put it all into one place and make it easily accessible.”

Scott said they are continuing to innovate and will provide an unparalleled level of access to property records.

“This is the first program of this sort across the country that we've been able to find that's really making an effort to map everything that's been on file for a property since 1865, since our records here in Missoula County begin, through today,” Scott said. “It's going to be a real time live stream showing how ownership and property boundaries and all that good stuff has changed over the last 150 years or so.”

According to Scott, county staff are using GIS to map real estate documents such and deeds and mortgages to their respective parcels of land.

“Our records have about 1.5-1.6 million documents,” Scott said. “Each one of those is going to be mapped to the specific piece of ground that it impacts. Obviously, that's a pretty big undertaking and right now we're just focusing on deeds. When people buy and sell property, we're mapping those documents to pieces of dirt so that we can accurately show the history of our county.”

Scott said Map Missoula also provides a platform to engage with historical content sources from Missoula County and community partners.

“We have some oral histories about downtown Missoula businesses and so we've mapped it to the middle of downtown,” Scott said. “We have some history about the Greenough Mansion or other notable buildings and people and events. We've linked all those to places people can explore, not just the technical deed and property history, but also with the more cultural aspects as well.”

Map Missoula has a project timeline of five years, with expected completion in the summer of 2024. This year’s grant runs from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022.

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