Tax Maps 101

Tax Maps 101

This page is intended to give the user background into the fundamentals of tax mapping


What are Tax Maps?
Tax maps are property boundary maps approved by the NY State Office Of Real Property Services to identify real property parcels on an assessment roll for taxation purposes.  New York State Real Property Tax Law Subdivision 2 of Section 502; prescribes that the assessment roll include for each separately assessed parcel  "a description sufficient to identify the same, including the surname of abutting property owners, names of the abutting streets or highways, and the approximate number of square feet, or acres."  The law further provides that when a tax map is approved by the State Office Of Real Property Services, a description of the property by reference to the tax map number designation is sufficient in describing the property for the purposes of that section, namely; to identify real property parcels on an assessment roll for taxation purposes
How are tax maps drawn?
Tax maps are drawn by 'Tax Map Technicians' based on their interpretation of property boundary lines via the plotting of parcel descriptions contained in deeds or displayed on various maps, such as survey maps.  Tax maps are constantly being revised and updated based on the recording of deeds and survey/subdivision maps.
How accurate are parcel boundary lines?
Tax maps do not establish title or boundary lines.  Parcel boundary lines are plotted from deed descriptions or source maps (such as survey maps) by Tax Map Technicians.  They are subject to interpretation of title documents and best estimates from the information available and are also subject to frequent revisions and updates.  Tax Map boundary lines are NOT surveyed or drawn by NY State licensed land surveyors.  
How accurate are Tax Map scales?
Section 2.23 of the NY State Rules and Regulations for the Preparation and Maintenance of Tax Maps for Real Property Assessment and Taxation Administration stipulates that the absolute position accuracy of the base manuscript ( aerial photography background base map ) shall be such that 90% of all well defined planimetric features are plotted within 1/40 inch of their true coordinate positions as measured on original 1" = 400' and 1" = 200' manuscripts.  This basically means that 90% of the positional accuracy of items on the background tax map aerial photography must be accurate spatially to the ground to within 10 feet of the true position.
Where can I purchase Tax Map prints and what do they cost?

You can obtain hard copy tax maps by visiting us in the fifth floor of the county office building. 160 Genesee st, Auburn, NY 13021.
Please Call (315) 253-1270 for a current price list.

To view and print tax maps in either Adobe PDF or AutoDESK DWF format on the Internet by visiting the  downloads section of our website 

Can I view owner's names and inventory data on the Internet?
YES! You can view tax maps on the Internet for FREE using the interactive mapping website

The Cayuga County NY Office Of Real Property Services also offers Internet access to RPS (Real Property Systems) by visiting Image Mate Online.

You can also view the  tax rolls section of our website.
Are the Tax Map images copyrighted?
Cayuga County, NY tax map images contain a notice of copyright protection.  This does NOT mean that we wish to restrict access to tax maps or tax map images.  We do however believe that it is in the public interest to require any tax maps that are privately re-published in digital or paper format to include a prominent notice of the map publication and revision dates.  An Attorney General opinion in 1997 (op I 97-54) ruled that a county may obtain a copyright under federal law in order to prevent unauthorized use of its publications.  A federal court judge specifically ruled in May of 2000 that tax maps could enjoy copyright protection.  This decision was overturned in August 2000 and was rechallenged in court actions involving Suffolk County, NY.  In circa July of 2001, federal court judges again ruled that NY County tax maps may enjoy copyright protection.
Are the tax map image files be available in other formats?
Tax Map images are available at the Cayuga County Office of Real Property Services Office.  AutoDESK DWF format & Adobe PDF format versions of section tax maps and a countywide ESRI shapefile can be downloaded and viewed from the downloads section of our website
Can I print the Tax Map images from the internet?
YES.  Current tax maps can be printed from the website via the interactive viewers, or as features of the AutoDesk Design Review Viewer or as Adobe PDF. AutoDESK DWF format & Adobe PDF format versions of section tax maps and a countywide ESRI shapefile can be downloaded and viewed from the downloads section of our website.
Where can I find answers to other questions?
It is our sincere effort to always provide prompt, courteous attention to all requests for information, products or services. Please contact us via the address, phone number or E-mail: