Chris Smith serves as the Firm’s Geographic Information System (GIS) Director. He supports all practice areas through comprehensive GIS analysis, data modeling, high-quality map exhibits, data conversion and manipulation, research/forensic mapping, legal descriptions, and web mapping.
Chris’s multiple industry background and experience working with diverse data types across all agencies and organizations, enables him to quickly understand how to best execute each task, whether it be data manipulation and analysis or visual illustration. Using GIS, Chris is able to facilitate understanding of complex situations that may otherwise require lengthy research and review to identify and address issues and formulate strategies.
Before joining the firm in 2015, Chris had over 25 years of industry experience including a position at a civil engineering firm in aerial mapping, as project manager for the Source Water Assessment and Protection Program with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, over seven years as a private consultant working for numerous disciplines such as planning, engineering, and environmental, and four years as a geologist.
- Compiles and analyzes assessment data for Ad Valorem Group. Methods include comparison of similar property assessments, Improved Value, Just Value, Primary Use, and identifying highest and best use limitations. This information can be integrated with other data types to identify compelling factors or conditions that are not apparent otherwise.
- Engineered an automated data integration tool that transforms and combines over 24.5 million records comprised of property parcels, tax roll data, sales data, and land use descriptions. The tool can be automatically updated biannually with minimal effort as the Florida Department of Revenue publishes their preliminary and final tax rolls. The resulting dataset merges property appraiser data from 67 Florida Counties into a single searchable parcel layer that is being used primarily for statewide statistical analysis of property tax but has unlimited potential in other applications.
- Instrumental in the creation and upkeep of the Firm’s online permit tracker, the first-of-its-kind tool that explains what kinds of permits may qualify for extensions, identifies the most recent Executive Orders, and depicts the counties to which they apply.
- Data integration, i.e., combining a local city Future Land Use and Zoning map with legal descriptions from Official Records, Storm Surge extents from FL Emergency Management, historical aerials from the FLDOT, potable water system CAD drawings from a local utility owner, and Flood Zones from Federal Emergency Management.
- Engineered a proprietary “in-house” data model that searches through over a half million property parcels to optimally locate the shortest distances to Bus and Rapid Transit Stops, Medical Facilities, Schools, Pharmacies, Grocery Stores, within Qualified Census Tracts and an optimal Zoning density and acreage range, for vacant land suitable for multi-family development; an exercise that would require a team working for months to acquire is reduced to a few hours.
- Developed the first ever comprehensive state-wide Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) GIS data layer on a parcel-level. 316 boundary extents were compiled from numerous sources, including but not limited to: existing GIS layers, hard copy maps, photos, and legal descriptions.
Other Industry Experience
- Currently serves as data steward at no cost to local government and private clients to store and manage their data safely and effectively.
- Geologist in the ultra-deepwater oil & gas prospects in the Gulf of Mexico and North Sea off of Aberdeen Scotland.
- 7 years as a private consultant working for numerous disciplines such as planning, engineering, and environmental. Management of an entire county’s GIS system, political re-districting, feasibility studies, needs analysis, countless Land Use Amendments, city and county-wide comprehensive plan mapping, DRI’s, site plans, data management and conversion with CAD and GPS data collected for Wetland Mitigation, Natural Feature Inventories, Listed Species, and Phase I Assessments.
- Project manager for the Source Water Assessment and Protection Program with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Served as liaison between the Division of Division of Water Resource Management and Waste Management. Tasked with employing mobile/GPS in addition to internet GIS applications and then training individuals statewide to verify, correct, or field collect GIS point data with the aid of aerial imagery for more than 150,000 potential or existing sources of groundwater contamination. Worked with vast datasets, limited resources, and time constraints.
- Used GIS to capture and manage location data used for groundtruthing aerial imagery and mapping at civil engineering in the Florida panhandle.
- Worked for the Florida Geological Survey in aquifer delineation.
Professional & Community Involvement
- Retired Open Water Scuba Instructor
- Former support cave diver for the National Geographic Society
Publications & Presentations
New Faces at our Tampa Office
Stearns Weaver Miller Continues Expansion of Statewide Land Development, Zoning & Environmental Team