Geography, Community & GIS

ballot box

If my name weren’t on the ballot, I probably would have forgotten to vote too. I suspect many other homeowners associations (HOAs) also have a hard time getting people involved. The rules of our HOA say at least 10% of the residences must vote for a an election to be valid. Since only %6 bothered to cast a vote, the voting period has been extended.

Googling for homeowners assocation + gis doesn’t turn up much. It is strange how little the internet has done for traditional neighborhood communities when compared to the way it has cultivated so many new ones that transcend geography. I would be very interested in seeing any sort of HOA website that includes interactive maps. A while back I started one here, but haven’t had time to keep it going. Maybe if I get elected I’ll put more into it. With that in mind I’ve started a list of requirements for HOA based GIS.


Encounters with some neighbors are so infrequent that sometimes it gets hard to remember names. When that happens, I’ve used the Bexar Appraisal District’s web site to find out who owns (and hopefully lives) in a particular house. Not being designed for this purpose, it is somewhat clumsy. What is needed is a very simple focused tool that allows me to click on a parcel map and get a name.

Flood Plain Proximity
Years ago FEMA did a lousy job when they delineated the floodplain extent. I forget all the details, but to avoid paying extra insurance we had to write our congressman, kindly asking him to push paperwork through FEMA to have our property amended. Others in the neighborhood need to do the same thing. This would simply be a mashup of existing FEMA maps with parcel boundaries, along with links indicating what procedures to follow to get amended (not sure if thiis is the correct term).

Crime Maps
San Antonio Police publishes locations of all crimes. These can be mapped. There has also been a lot of interest in graffiti, but I don’t think the police map that.

Maybe that’s not a word, but you know what I mean. I think it would be interesting to be able to mark up a shared map, not just with graffiti incidents, but also garage sales, actual utilities locations, and observations of actual flood extents. Maybe its just a matter of encouraging homeowners to blog and embed Google’s MyMaps (of course only if they’re not using


This might be controversial … but what if web cams were placed at the entrance to each cul-de-sac sub-neighborhood so that motion sensors would trigger cameras to image license plate numbers? There is a very active Cellular On Patrol committee, I wonder if the same volunteers would like to sit and watch web cams.

More on this later.

1 comment so far

  1. Darrin Clement on

    Don’t forget about GIS’ contribution in terms of neighborhood maps
    and neighborhood map data.

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