Hennepin County's Web site has long been the repository of public information about your house - property taxes, lot size, legal description, etc. - all the dry, boring stuff that makes assessors' hearts sing.
Now, though, the county has added something cool: the view of your house, block and neighborhood from the air. The high-resolution images - taken from 5,000 feet up - are clear enough that you can make out toys in your backyard.
Hennepin County GIS official Scott Simmer said, “ Aerial views provide a degree of imagery that isn't possible with a plat map. You can see how close a parcel may be to a burgeoning housing development, a lake or a park, or a less-desirable feature such as a factory or a landfill.”
According to the Web site, the photos were taken in 2003 and 2004. Wisely, there's no snow on the ground or leaves on the trees.
To see your desired plot, surf to hennepin.us (surely one of the public sector's most keystroke-efficient Web addresses), then click on “Interactive Property map” on the top right of the page. You'll have to zoom in on your city and block.