The Dare County Website

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    In my day job I determine the flood risk on real estate for various lenders and that job necessitates that I locate the relevant properties on FEMA's Flood Insurance Rate Maps. To that end I must first either locate the property on a plat or obtain some kind of coordinate description of the property, such as a description based on the Public Land Survey System (Section, Town, and Range) or in the appropriate State Plane Coordinate System (North Carolina offering a perfect example because the state's Parcel Identification Numbers (PIN) are devised from the state plane coordinates (North American Datum 1983) of the centroid of the lot). Even so it is all too often that I must still try to obtain a plat.

    In such cases I have been helped by the fact that many county assessors now post their tax maps on the Internet. Some of those sites are spectacular: North Carolina's New Hanover County combines the outlines of the lots with aerial photographs. While I was locating sites in Kitty Hawk in Dare County I conceived the following, which is to be sung to the melody of "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze":

Once I was frantic, but now I'm at peace.

In North Carolina my torture will cease.

I must find a parcel to buy or to lease,

    but the lot I'm not able to find.

The lot that I want has an address

    and I'm trying to find it all day.

The map that I'm using is truly a mess,

    but now I have help on the way.

O-o-o-h!

It displays on my screen with the greatest of ease.

The Dare County website is eager to please.

    It gives me the PIN and shows me the plat.

    Now I know where the property's at.

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