MassGIS 2016 Updates and Events
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June 2016


MassGIS is pleased to announce the re-launch of the GISette, a bi-monthly newsletter distributed to more than 1,800 members of the geospatial community. We intend to make the GISette a regular publication to keep you informed about data updates, activities and accomplishments of MassGIS, ongoing technology developments, and general GIS events of interest. 

Table of Contents:

  1. New Address Points Datalayer and Lists
  2. MassGIS and ArcGIS Online
  3. Part 'n' Parcel: An Introduction to L3 Parcels
  4. Standard for Municipal Addressing
  5. Database Updates
  6. Announcements & Events
New Address Points Datalayer and Lists

MassGIS is working in close partnership with the State 911 Department to develop and maintain the GIS data needed for the Next Generation 911 Emergency Call System (NextGen911). The new system is being deployed this year by the State 911 Department and its’ consultant in the Commonwealth’ 911 call centers. NextGen911 will strengthen the emergency reporting system and enable a greater degree of system flexibility in an increasingly wireless and mobile society.


As deployed in Massachusetts, the new system will better support wired and wireless 911 phone calls, while also supporting 911 via text messaging. The updated 911 system will provide improved location information for land line calls, increased bandwidth through the implementation of an Emergency Service IP Network (ESInet), and the capacity for inter-communication with surrounding call 911 centers and call centers in adjacent states.


At the core of this new emergency system is the development of critical map and address information, a task that MassGIS has been working on for the past five years. This address database enables the NextGen911 system to validate addresses provided when an emergency call comes in. The GIS data will also improve the routing of wireless 911 calls.

Beyond supporting the new NextGen911 system, MassGIS recognizes that standardized address information is a valuable asset for municipalities, residents, businesses, and application developers. Because of the potential utility of this address dataset, MassGIS is now providing access to the most comprehensive list of standardized addresses for cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth. 

On our website, we have added a new feature that allows users to download, on a town by town basis, one or more products from our Master Address Database (MAD). These products include: a basic address list, an advanced address database, and basic address points. With these various address products, we aim to support a wide variety of municipal and local uses of our master address information, such as the deployment of a local permitting system.

Basic address product:
A tabular list of addresses without any unit level of information


Advanced addresses product:
A tabular list of addresses inclusive of building, floor, and unit information when available


Basic address points product:
A point layer that consists of stacked points, each with an address inclusive of building, floor, and unit information when available

MassGIS and ArcGIS Online
MassGIS has been using ArcGIS online (AGOL) extensively to support web mapping application, development, and ideas. Using the cloud, we are able to deliver datalayers and orthoimagery tile caches as web services to our users. Now, a user does not need to have their own copy of the data; rather, they can simply add it to their map project as a MassGIS provided map service.  

Principally, AGOL has served as a tool to respond to the many requests from state agencies asking to depict a specific story through a simple interactive web map. With success, we have used the tool to help the general public view important statewide initiatives, such as tracking the cities and towns that have pledged to make Massachusetts a #StateWithoutStigMA to help curb the opiate addiction, and visually displaying municipalities that are participating in the Community Compact, an initiative led by  Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito

MassGIS has also leveraged online mapping to:

Part ‘n’ Parcel: An Introduction to L3 Parcels
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. In this issue, we will provide an overview of Level 3 Parcels. The next issue of the GISette will introduce the six elements of standardized parcels: three feature classes and three database files. 

While parcel map creation and maintenance is often contracted to a GIS vendor, assessor parcel map maintenance is a municipal responsibility. One of the most valuable, though highly complex, datasets MassGIS distributes is the Level 3 Digital Parcels (L3 Parcels) layer. In October 2013, parcel map standardization was successfully completed statewide, excluding Boston, with the support of state funding. Since our success, MassGIS has worked with communities, providing funding as needed and available to enhance the standardized mapping, thus removing obstacles to maintaining the standardized mapping.  


Perhaps the most distinctive and misunderstood component of the standardized data is the unique locational identifier (LOC_ID). LOC_ID is an attribute of the parcels and is derived from a coordinate location inside each assessor parcel, uniquely identifying each parcel statewide. The LOC_ID’s primary purpose is to connect each parcel to its corresponding Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) record and vice-versa. A complete and correct linking between parcels and their CAMA records is essential for functions, such as automated abutter identification. 

The LOC_ID and standardized parcel mapping also makes possible the ability to work with parcel maps and CAMA data across municipal boundaries, enabling cross municipal boundary abutter identification, exploration of planning issues that span municipal boundaries, and searching for unusual comparable properties for assessments purposes.

The L3 parcels dataset can be downloaded by municipality from the MassGIS Datalayers page or from within our OLIVER viewer. Statewide mapping can also be viewed through MassGIS’ Massachusetts Interactive Property Map


MassGIS is pleased to announce that three of the four most commonly used CAMA systems are now including the location identifier form standardized parcels in their Banker and Tradesman (B&T) extract. The CAMA systems that now include the field with the LOC_ID in their B&T extract are CSC, Patriot, and PK-Systems. B&T extracts will include the LOC_IDs when the bulk-loading is complete. MassGIS is thrilled that the vendors of the main CAMA systems are now adopting LOC_ID, further enforcing the utility of parcel standards statewide. 

Standard for Municipal Addressing

MassGIS is nearing completion of a first draft of a Standard for Municipal Addressing. Through the development of a municipal addressing standard, we aim to enhance the utility of address information across the state, simplify the exchange of address information between users, and ensure the accuracy and comprehensiveness of address data statewide.


We will solicit feedback on this draft from individuals with deep experience of address assignment issues, as well as identify the needs and challenges that municipalities face in developing a master address repository. The final draft will be circulated for review prior to the release of the standard. 

Database Updates (since January 1, 2016)

1. The MassDEP GIS Group has updated the following layers, made available by MassGIS:

2. The Public Utility Service Providers data has been updated.

3. EEA GIS staff have updated the Protected and Recreational OpenSpace layers (arcs and polygons), available from MassGIS.
4. MassGIS has updated the state Senate and House Districts Data
Upcoming: MassGIS has received 2015 LiDAR Acquisition for Western Massachusetts and the Blackstone Valley. We are currently processing the data for distribution. As with all other delivery areas, we will host the digital elevation models (DEMs) here and will distribute the LAS point cloud files through National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on their Data Access Viewer.
Announcements & Events
New Leadership
MassGIS welcomes Neil MacGaffey as the Acting Director.
Our dedicated and long-time Director, Christian Jacqz, retired last July. Christian remains on the team as a contractor to advise and support the NextGen911 Project.
The Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) annual international conference will be held in Boston, MA from August 14–18, 2017. 
Learn More
The Fall 2016 Northeast Arc Users Group Conference (NEARC) is being held from October 16–19, 2016 at the Sea Crest Hotel in Falmouth, MA. 
Learn More

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, Acting Director
Mark Nunnelly, Executive Director, MassIT
Karyn Polito, Lt. Governor
Charlie Baker, Governor
Copyright © 2016 MassIT-MassGIS, All rights reserved.

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