407 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618  (609)695-3481
 NJLM logo 

William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director

Mendham Township Goes Digital

Stephen Mountain
Mendham Township Administrator

UCC Form
Using the OCR (optical character recognition) system, the construction permit is turned into a typewritten
document, eliminating any problems with difficult-to-read handwriting and creating an editable document
for township staff to change if needed.

Digitized maps, online databases, consumer hotlinks, search engines and Excel files are part of a whole new vocabulary now sweeping through the government offices of the Township of Mendham.
Over several years, the township has automated its often cumbersome and time-consuming paper-based system. Similar systems are common in municipalities throughout the country.

As recommended by our Township Engineer, Maser Consulting P.A., Mendham adopted a new web-based system from National Geomatica, an Allenhurst-based company that specializes in providing automated services to municipalities. The NatGeo system integrates with our geographic information system (GIS).

We liked the system because its basic technological approach was readily available online, costs were minimal and National Geomatica has a proprietary system that can scan printed or handwritten forms or applications into its web-based system.

Because of the town’s rigorous and aggressive adoption of the basic system and the many benefits it is receiving from it, Mendham Township has become a model application for National Geomatica. We have also been championing its adoption by neighboring municipalities.

Mendham Township’s efforts to convert from a paper-based to Internet-based document handling and decision assistance system has saved the town significant amounts of money and man-hours of work per year, and attracted the attention of other municipalities interested in achieving comparable benefits.

Converting to Digital Documents As an administrative tool, the National Geomatica interface is organized around an impressive search and reporting engine that lets municipal employees work smarter and faster. The system eliminates much of the frustration common in the everyday tasks performed by municipal staff, making the work easier and more enjoyable.

The new system has better enabled the township to address major issues such as storm water runoff, long-term planning, zoning and the effects of population growth in all areas of the town. The system’s maps allow town planners to see the potential impacts of topographical changes, while streamlining access to information regarding township services.

As a result, Mendham has taken the initial steps necessary to tie together all of its municipal departments into one database accessible through a single interface. Using the National Geomatica system, Mendham Township can more efficiently serve the public since all information about any single piece of property can be accessed with a few keystrokes within seconds.

Automation Simplifies Staff Activity When Mendham Township first launched the system, there were just 15 or 20 product routines, such as mailing list printing, issuing dog licenses and quarterly reports to the state. Today there are 150 different routines, most of which were developed by staff members in other participating towns. We have recently adopted several of these new routines. 

Using the system, town staff can examine any individual land parcel or large area of property for physical location, geographic characteristics as well as all associated information about taxes, zoning, construction applications, pets, health and safety and public works. Different departments use variations of the same information, which the system keeps available to serve their specific needs and functions.

During the past two years, Mendham Township has added many layers of map data to the website, such as freshwater wetlands, topographic contours (elevation map), historic sites and a major inventory of significant trees, to increase its usefulness. Most recently, we added well and septic data to log and track these underground features. Other towns have added such functions as dog and cat licensing.

In Mendham Township, which is so steeped in the Revolutionary War history of Morris County, one can turn on a map layer showing any of its historic sites, such as the Jockey Hollow Revolutionary War encampment.

Also, using data from the maps, the system can highlight cases where zoning or other ordinances prohibit certain activities within a certain distance of a given location. A few clicks enable this information to be transferred directly into reports as Word documents, Excel files or other compatible formats.

One advantage of working with National Geomatica is that township staff can make a simple request when the town needs to add a new capability. NatGeo develops and adds the desired function for us, then implements it without charge. One incentive for them to do this is that they can offer these same new capabilities to other towns.

They have trained and retrained our people, expanded the site, made many discrete modifications, and there’s never been a charge to the township. Another way of looking at it, each time NatGeo is contacted, it helps them improve their site for everyone else. National Geomatica visits the township every three months for general maintenance, to check on client satisfaction and to respond to any questions or user concerns.

As an active system user, Mendham Township can also see what other towns are doing right on the web site. Then, by calling National Geomatica, Mendham Township can add a capability that has been added by any other town. We can adopt and incorporate the new features just by turning on and customizing them.

Fiscally, the system has provided an excellent fit for municipal needs. There were no start-up costs, or charges for hardware or software. The only fees to NatGeo are use charges which are pass-along costs charged as service fees to contractors, property owners and town residents. Mendham Township can opt to terminate the service at any time.

Public Access to Public Information Our new National Geomatica system includes a public access hotlink for use by town residents, accessible through any home or office computer. The system allows Mendham Township residents to access information about their property and local services, and get their questions answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With a couple of keystrokes, residents can quickly access information about their taxes, schools, recreational services, zoning, public health and much more.

Attracting Other Towns The idea of automating a formerly tedious procedure is being enthusiastically embraced beyond the township’s borders. As town administrative managers work together to rein in costs and improve efficiencies for the common good, Mendham Township continues to receive telephone calls from other town managers seeking comment and opinion about the system and what it accomplishes. Fast, streamlined, inexpensive procedures catch on quickly.
Here’s a sampling of how some other New Jersey municipalities have implemented and improved on their systems following adoption:

  • Hillsborough has just added a public access page, and a staff planning engineer has signed on as an avid user of the system.
  • Cape May Point has a dog and cat licensing functionality.
  • Old Tappan just added actual color photographs of its residents’ homes to its property parcel pages.
  • Mine Hill recently implemented a building department application as a new function. Their addition keeps track of building applications and permits.
  • Hawthorne plans to use the system to create a property owners’ list. It will also become a test town for NatGeo’s newly introduced fire prevention management software.
  • Hightstown is using the system for cat and dog licensing, and will be a test town for NatGeo’s newly introduced building and construction permitting and inspection software.
  • Elk Township in Gloucester County added a road map layer, on which it has included attributes of each road such as pavement type, condition, etc. This was a customization request that came to NatGeo planners from the Elk Township’s public works department. The road data is stored in a database where additional analysis can be performed.
  • Red Bank implemented an apartment rental registration function, which represents a major expansion of existing software, for safety in case of fire, to include added functionality and reporting.


What’s Ahead National Geomatica continually adds new products, functions or department subsystems. For example, there is now building and construction permitting and inspection software, fire prevention management software, and parks and recreation department management software.
With the proximity mapping feature, it’s possible to use the National Geomatica system as a law enforcement tool for Megan’s Law to plot the precise location of registered convicted sex offenders. It can also help plot boundary locations of a drug-free school zone, as one town did to enforce a zone of 1,000 feet around its public and private schools.

By implementing automation tools and streamlining governance methodologies, Mendham Township and other municipalities can reduce costs and man-hour requirements, enabling staff to work more efficiently and to modernize formerly time-consuming procedures. NJLM - Mendham Township Goes Digital

407 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618  (609)695-3481
 NJLM logo 

William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director

Mendham Township Goes Digital

Stephen Mountain
Mendham Township Administrator

UCC Form
Using the OCR (optical character recognition) system, the construction permit is turned into a typewritten
document, eliminating any problems with difficult-to-read handwriting and creating an editable document
for township staff to change if needed.

Digitized maps, online databases, consumer hotlinks, search engines and Excel files are part of a whole new vocabulary now sweeping through the government offices of the Township of Mendham.
Over several years, the township has automated its often cumbersome and time-consuming paper-based system. Similar systems are common in municipalities throughout the country.

As recommended by our Township Engineer, Maser Consulting P.A., Mendham adopted a new web-based system from National Geomatica, an Allenhurst-based company that specializes in providing automated services to municipalities. The NatGeo system integrates with our geographic information system (GIS).

We liked the system because its basic technological approach was readily available online, costs were minimal and National Geomatica has a proprietary system that can scan printed or handwritten forms or applications into its web-based system.

Because of the town’s rigorous and aggressive adoption of the basic system and the many benefits it is receiving from it, Mendham Township has become a model application for National Geomatica. We have also been championing its adoption by neighboring municipalities.

Mendham Township’s efforts to convert from a paper-based to Internet-based document handling and decision assistance system has saved the town significant amounts of money and man-hours of work per year, and attracted the attention of other municipalities interested in achieving comparable benefits.

Converting to Digital Documents As an administrative tool, the National Geomatica interface is organized around an impressive search and reporting engine that lets municipal employees work smarter and faster. The system eliminates much of the frustration common in the everyday tasks performed by municipal staff, making the work easier and more enjoyable.

The new system has better enabled the township to address major issues such as storm water runoff, long-term planning, zoning and the effects of population growth in all areas of the town. The system’s maps allow town planners to see the potential impacts of topographical changes, while streamlining access to information regarding township services.

As a result, Mendham has taken the initial steps necessary to tie together all of its municipal departments into one database accessible through a single interface. Using the National Geomatica system, Mendham Township can more efficiently serve the public since all information about any single piece of property can be accessed with a few keystrokes within seconds.

Automation Simplifies Staff Activity When Mendham Township first launched the system, there were just 15 or 20 product routines, such as mailing list printing, issuing dog licenses and quarterly reports to the state. Today there are 150 different routines, most of which were developed by staff members in other participating towns. We have recently adopted several of these new routines. 

Using the system, town staff can examine any individual land parcel or large area of property for physical location, geographic characteristics as well as all associated information about taxes, zoning, construction applications, pets, health and safety and public works. Different departments use variations of the same information, which the system keeps available to serve their specific needs and functions.

During the past two years, Mendham Township has added many layers of map data to the website, such as freshwater wetlands, topographic contours (elevation map), historic sites and a major inventory of significant trees, to increase its usefulness. Most recently, we added well and septic data to log and track these underground features. Other towns have added such functions as dog and cat licensing.

In Mendham Township, which is so steeped in the Revolutionary War history of Morris County, one can turn on a map layer showing any of its historic sites, such as the Jockey Hollow Revolutionary War encampment.

Also, using data from the maps, the system can highlight cases where zoning or other ordinances prohibit certain activities within a certain distance of a given location. A few clicks enable this information to be transferred directly into reports as Word documents, Excel files or other compatible formats.

One advantage of working with National Geomatica is that township staff can make a simple request when the town needs to add a new capability. NatGeo develops and adds the desired function for us, then implements it without charge. One incentive for them to do this is that they can offer these same new capabilities to other towns.

They have trained and retrained our people, expanded the site, made many discrete modifications, and there’s never been a charge to the township. Another way of looking at it, each time NatGeo is contacted, it helps them improve their site for everyone else. National Geomatica visits the township every three months for general maintenance, to check on client satisfaction and to respond to any questions or user concerns.

As an active system user, Mendham Township can also see what other towns are doing right on the web site. Then, by calling National Geomatica, Mendham Township can add a capability that has been added by any other town. We can adopt and incorporate the new features just by turning on and customizing them.

Fiscally, the system has provided an excellent fit for municipal needs. There were no start-up costs, or charges for hardware or software. The only fees to NatGeo are use charges which are pass-along costs charged as service fees to contractors, property owners and town residents. Mendham Township can opt to terminate the service at any time.

Public Access to Public Information Our new National Geomatica system includes a public access hotlink for use by town residents, accessible through any home or office computer. The system allows Mendham Township residents to access information about their property and local services, and get their questions answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With a couple of keystrokes, residents can quickly access information about their taxes, schools, recreational services, zoning, public health and much more.

Attracting Other Towns The idea of automating a formerly tedious procedure is being enthusiastically embraced beyond the township’s borders. As town administrative managers work together to rein in costs and improve efficiencies for the common good, Mendham Township continues to receive telephone calls from other town managers seeking comment and opinion about the system and what it accomplishes. Fast, streamlined, inexpensive procedures catch on quickly.
Here’s a sampling of how some other New Jersey municipalities have implemented and improved on their systems following adoption:

  • Hillsborough has just added a public access page, and a staff planning engineer has signed on as an avid user of the system.
  • Cape May Point has a dog and cat licensing functionality.
  • Old Tappan just added actual color photographs of its residents’ homes to its property parcel pages.
  • Mine Hill recently implemented a building department application as a new function. Their addition keeps track of building applications and permits.
  • Hawthorne plans to use the system to create a property owners’ list. It will also become a test town for NatGeo’s newly introduced fire prevention management software.
  • Hightstown is using the system for cat and dog licensing, and will be a test town for NatGeo’s newly introduced building and construction permitting and inspection software.
  • Elk Township in Gloucester County added a road map layer, on which it has included attributes of each road such as pavement type, condition, etc. This was a customization request that came to NatGeo planners from the Elk Township’s public works department. The road data is stored in a database where additional analysis can be performed.
  • Red Bank implemented an apartment rental registration function, which represents a major expansion of existing software, for safety in case of fire, to include added functionality and reporting.


What’s Ahead National Geomatica continually adds new products, functions or department subsystems. For example, there is now building and construction permitting and inspection software, fire prevention management software, and parks and recreation department management software.
With the proximity mapping feature, it’s possible to use the National Geomatica system as a law enforcement tool for Megan’s Law to plot the precise location of registered convicted sex offenders. It can also help plot boundary locations of a drug-free school zone, as one town did to enforce a zone of 1,000 feet around its public and private schools.

By implementing automation tools and streamlining governance methodologies, Mendham Township and other municipalities can reduce costs and man-hour requirements, enabling staff to work more efficiently and to modernize formerly time-consuming procedures.


Article published in January 2006, New Jersey Municipalities