Zaio Corp., a Canadian-based public corporation that works with appraisers and photographers to build a database of property photos, valuations and other information for entire cities in the United States and Canada, announced this week that the company has built customer relationships in about 170 U.S. cities.

The company has segmented cities into zones, and each of the company-defined zones has a population of about 30,000 people and is operated by a Zaio “Zone Photographer” and “Zone Appraiser,” according to information at the company’s Web site.

The photographer snaps images of the front exterior view of every property in the zone as it appears from the street or other public space, according to the description. When an entire zone has been photographed, they are integrated into the company’s database.

“Commercial images appear on Zaio’s visual search engine while residential images are secured and password protected,” the site states. The company also creates virtual tours for businesses.

Zaio is also working to gather appraisals for “each and every property in cities across the country. That means every house, commercial building, industrial and institutional structure is being photographed and appraised property-by-property and street-by-street. We call this historic event ‘Photographing America.”

Other companies, such as Microsoft (at http://preview.local.live.com/), Amazon (at a9.com), and Property Research Partners LLC (at PropertyShark.com) have worked to build a photograph database of properties.

In its announcement, the company stated that it sold 125 licenses in November, generating about $1 million.

Zaio CEO Thomas Inserra said in a statement, “Both lenders and appraisers have been asking us to aggressively expand our operations throughout the United States as quickly as possible.” Zaio has sold about 450 licenses in 2006, he also stated.

Brad Stinson, founder of Zaio, said in a statement that appraisers can participate in online interactive Web broadcasts to learn about the company.

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