Point of Beginning

233 Years in the Making - First American develops First U.S. Cadastral System

June 24, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas – First American Spatial Solutions (FASS), a member of The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF) family of companies and a leader in spatial and natural hazard risk solutions, announced today that it has digitally mapped 120 million of America’s property parcels-something no other public or private entity has been able to accomplish previously.

This achievement will have a significant impact on both public and private sector endeavors that seek to use geographic information to improve the accuracy of a variety of products and services, as well as help businesses to increase their return on investment by reducing costs and increasing capabilities for location awareness.

Parcels are most commonly defined in real estate as a “lot” or a “tract” and have defined and surveyed boundaries (or property lines), which are typically documented within a county or township along with the ownership and tax information. FASS has converted digital and paper maps, as well as legal descriptions, from most of the nation’s counties into a single standardized spatial database called ParcelPoint®. The parcels in this database also provide the exact area and associated latitudes and longitudes that are vital in identifying the property’s exact position on Earth.

A single standard for all digital parcel data allows mapping and database applications to search, group, display and append data to the parcels. Other data sets, including FASS’ own hazard, tax, property and a variety of other analytics, can be layered over the parcel information to visually display or query the relationship of the parcel to other key factors. This provides a foundation for a multitude of key benefits for businesses across industries such as energy, utilities, telecommunications, and insurance including:
  • Understanding the location of field assets
  • Improving the efficiency of transportation and distribution
  • Navigating emergency personnel to the correct address for a house or business
  • Providing insurance companies the information to understand the natural hazard risks for a single property
  • Understanding tax jurisdictions to pay the correct taxes
  • Assisting investors in spotting trends
  • Assisting federal agencies in disaster response and recovery
  • Improving the ability for social scientists to understand at a very granular level how people interact, drive, shop and vote
“FASS is pleased to have reached our goal of creating the largest digital parcel data base in the United States. We believe there are many applications and uses for this data, and related analytics, to help businesses and federal and local agencies improve efficiency and evaluate and manage risk,” said Frank V. McMahon, chief executive officer of First American’s Information Solutions Company.

History of the National Cadastre
Clear property ownership has always been an important hallmark of a free society. The importance of mapping property locations was recognized even upon the founding of the United States. For the last several decades, the National Academy of Sciences has recommended to the Federal government the establishment of a National Cadastre, or national map, of all privately and publically owned properties in the United States. However, because of the number of parcels (approximately 140 million), the deficiency of past technology resources and the lack of cooperation between federal, state, county and municipal governments the project has never received adequate funding. Since that time private companies and some states have collected parcel data on a local, county or regional basis, but none had approached acquisition and maintenance on a nationwide scale. FASS is the first to create a multipurpose cadastre that provides the digital fabric to understand property ownership in the United States.


About ParcelPoint
The ParcelPoint database includes digitally converted and normalized parcel information and points for more than 2,000 counties in the United States. This represents approximately 90 percent of the US population and 86 percent of the total land base. When used with the company’s PxPoint geocoder, a high-precision, parcel-level geocoding and spatial analytic engine, customers can achieve the highest level of positional accuracy for any spatial application. PxPoint is the only geocoding engine available that utilizes FASS parcels.

Customers interested in using the ParcelPoint database or licensing the PxPoint geocoding engine should visit FASS at
www.faspatial.com or call 800.447.9959.

About First American
The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF) is a FORTUNE 500 company that traces its history to 1889. With revenues of approximately $6.2 billion in 2008, it is America's largest provider of business information. First American combines advanced analytics with its vast data resources to supply businesses and consumers with valuable information products to support the major economic events of people's lives, such as getting a job, renting an apartment, buying a car or house, securing a mortgage and opening or buying a business. The First American Family of Companies, many of which command leading market share positions in their respective industries, operate within five primary business segments, including: Title Insurance and Services, Specialty Insurance, Information and Outsourcing Solutions, Data and Analytic Solutions, and Risk Mitigation and Business Solutions. More information about the company and an archive of its press releases can be found at
www.firstam.com.