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December 2016

Table of Contents:

  1. Update on Licensed Google Imagery Service
  2. Statewide Lidar LAS files Available from NOAA
  3. Part ‘n’ Parcel: Parcels and Municipal Boundaries
  4. Statewide Address Points and Locators
  5. MassGIS Maps the Opioid Epidemic Effects
  6. Database Updates
  7. Announcements
Update on Licensed Google Imagery Service

Additional areas have been added to the 2016 holdings of the Google imagery for 90 qualified users. In the October issue of the GISette, we told you about a spring 2016 update for most of the State. Since then, we’ve renewed our license for areas where Google acquired new imagery, including summer for the Southeast and spring for the Cape and Islands. Occasionally, a portion of the imagery is not acceptable, resulting in gaps. That is the case with the “hole” in west Plymouth, shown in the below index map. For that area, 2015 imagery will appear.
Because MassGIS is licensing Google’s imagery, we cannot direct Google to acquire certain areas. We anticipate refreshing our license in different parts of the state as Google announces the availability of new imagery.

Index showing location of new Google imagery
Statewide Lidar LAS files Available from NOAA
In our August issue, MassGIS announced that statewide Lidar mapping was complete. MassGIS has been distributing only the 1 meter digital elevation files, and not the LAS point data, due to capacity issues. Our partners in the federal government at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have now posted the LAS point files we provided them in their Data Access Viewer. With this posting, users can download point clouds for any location in the State.
map showing massachusetts in the noaa data download
Part ‘n’ Parcel: Parcels and Municipal Boundaries
The GISette will feature Level 3 (L3) Parcel topics in a series of upcoming articles to familiarize our readers with the utility, as well as the many complexities, of the parcel data.

The MassGIS Parcel Standard requires MassGIS’ representation of the official municipal boundaries be incorporated into the standardized assessor mapping. Checking compliance with that element of the standard is part of MassGIS’ QA process. However, there are discrepancies between municipalities where they share a boundary that follows a stream channel. Without engaging the services of a surveyor, there is no way to determine the locations of those “watery” boundaries. Thus, MassGIS does not require that MassGIS’ mapping of boundaries along water features supersede how these boundaries are represented in municipal assessor parcel mapping.
MassGIS has also allowed communities to depict the coastline as it is in their tax mapping. This requirement from the standard has uncovered numerous discrepancies in municipal boundary mapping. Many of these have been resolved, while others require further discussion with the communities involved.

Statewide Address Points and Locators

Our premier June issue of the GISette featured a story about the availability of Master Address Data downloads, which have been very popular. Download files are currently available on a town by town basis. MassGIS has received several requests for copies of statewide address data points, along with address locators for geocoding. Using a third-party storage solution, we’re pleased to make the statewide data available by request. Make sure to submit a request form on our metadata page to receive a link to the zip file download.

MassGIS Maps the Opioid Epidemic Effects

In partnership with a number of Massachusetts state agencies and organizations, higher education professionals, the private sector, and MassIT Digital Services teams, MassGIS has contributed to the interactive online report on the findings from Chapter 55, a multi-faceted effort to combat the opioid epidemic. Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2015 was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Baker in August 2015. Chapter 55 is the state’s latest effort to better understand the opioid epidemic and inform residents about one of the greatest public health challenges we’re currently facing. 
The online report supports the Department of Public Health (DPH) publication entitled; “An Assessment of Opioid-Related Deaths in Massachusetts (2013-2014),” which will help to better understand the opioid epidemic in the Commonwealth and guide policy decisions. The transformation of the report into a visual site makes the findings of the report accessible to a broader audience, including the general public. 
MassGIS contributed statewide maps that illustrate rising death rates and the increase in opioid use of people seeking addiction treatments over time (between 2000-2015). The visualizations leverage the open source JavaScript library D3.js to create the interactive map elements. While there is still more work to be done, the findings from the report have helped elected officials and public health leaders determine best next steps in combatting the epidemic.  

maps showing death rate from opioids from 2000-2015
Database Updates
  • A new point layer has been added to our library. Highway Mile Markers from Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) show the location of mile markers along numbered routes across the State.
  • Twenty-one municipalities have had their Level 3 Assessor Parcel data updated. Most are first-time updates and are current to FY 2017.
MassGIS is pleased to welcome two new staff members!
Adrienne Edwards has joined the Next Generation 911 project team. She has a BS in Geography from Bridgewater State University and a Masters in Anthropology from SUNY Albany. She has a passion for teaching and joins us from the Plymouth School system, where she used GIS as an earth science teacher. Prior to her teaching, we knew her in the role of GIS Specialist for the Town of Easton and for the Mass Historical Commission.
Steven Krueger joins us by way of St. Petersburg, Florida, where he was a GIS analyst for a private firm. He has a Geography degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He will also be working on the Next Generation 911 project. He and his wife Kasey look forward to exploring and making their home in Boston.  


Massachusetts Geographic Information System | MassIT Division – MassGIS
One Ashburton Place – Floor 8 
Boston, MA 02108

Phone: (617) 619-5611
Fax: (617) 889-7833

Share your exciting project with the GIS community
MassGIS – The Commonwealth’s Office of Geographic Information is located within the Massachusetts Office of Information Technology and is charged with the collection, enhancement, storage, and dissemination of the Commonwealth’s geographic data and information.
Neil MacGaffey, Director
Mark Nunnelly, Executive Director, MassIT
Karyn Polito, Lt. Governor
Charlie Baker, Governor

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