Shapefiles are computer files that produce images for users in a GIS environment. There are three primary types of shapefiles that are used in GIS.
There are additional file types that must be used together in order for a GIS system to display the data. Common file types are .shp, .shx, .sbn, .dbf, etc.
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GIS is a tool that displays and analyzes mapping data to obtain more information about features. The main software package that we use is called ArcGIS and is purchased from ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute).
GIS generally uses two forms of data; spatial and attribute.
Simply put, spatial data is any data that can be mapped. It contains information about the location and shape of a geographic feature and the association between the two (stored primarily as geographic coordinates and topology).
Attribute data consists of non-spatial information about a geographic feature. This data is usually stored in a table and linked to the geographic feature via a unique identifier.
Maps can now be viewed at home using our free GIS/Mapping Department Online GIS Portal. These maps include Tax Parcel outlines (Parcel Identification Numbers [PIN] & Owner Name) as well as Spring 2016 Aerial Photography and Water Features. Maps with additional information (such as Deed Book and Page, Acreage, etc.) can currently be viewed at the courthouse and can be printed out for $5.
Note: Luzerne County GIS/Mapping Department maps are for assessment purposes only - not to provide engineering data.
There are two main reasons property lines may appear to go through houses and garages on our map. First, the aerial that you see in the background of our map is a photo taken by plane. Though it is georeferenced very closely, many houses may be shown at a slight angle due to the altitude of the plane and the location of the camera. This could make them appear as though they encroach onto another property.
Second, our maps are best representations of county parcels based on tax maps that were digitized many years ago. Upon receiving recorded surveys, we can fix parcel lines to match the survey as needed. The only way to know for sure the exact property lines is to get the property surveyed based on its deed. You may be able to get more information on the property in question by accessing the property’s deed in the Recorder of Deeds office.
Contact the mapping department by phone, email, or in person at our mapping counter located on the ground floor of the Luzerne County Courthouse. Our mapping analysts will be more than happy to assist you.
Luzerne County's most current high-resolution aerial imagery was taken in the Spring of 2016.
Geographic data for hundreds of sources is available for free from sources such as PASDA (Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access), DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) Open Data, PennDOT Open Data, etc.
If your property has been surveyed engineering quality maps may be recorded at the Recorder of Deeds. Otherwise you may need to contact a surveyor.