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October 2016

Table of Contents:

  1. Update on Licensed Google Imagery Service
  2. Assessed Property Value Changes From FY2013 to FY2016
  3. Part ‘n’ Parcel: Tax Parcels VS. Fee Parcels
  4. Changes to OLIVER Online Mapping
  5. Boston to Host 2017 FOSS4G Conference
  6. Database Updates
  7. Announcements & Events
Update on Licensed Google Imagery Service

In October 2016, MassGIS purchased a subscription for direct access to the latest high-quality Google orthoimagery. To date, 59 communities, regional entities, state agencies, or contractors working on their behalf have registered to access the statewide Google imagery service.
We have received positive feedback on this new offering. George Dunbar, GIS Coordinator in Plymouth, expressed the following:
I want to thank MassGIS for obtaining and providing Google Imagery to municipalities. Since I started working with GIS, I have always been searching for the latest imagery available. The Town of Plymouth will benefit greatly from having recent imagery for use in ArcMap/ArcReader and on our web map and I personally am very grateful and excited to have this resource.
Recently, we received a 2016 update for the majority of the State (see image below), which will automatically appear in users’ software or applications.
For more information please visit the MassGIS Data - Google Ortho Imagery site.

Index showing location of new Google imagery
Assessed Property Value Changes From FY2013 to FY2016
In May, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s Division of Local Services (DLS) approached MassGIS to create an online map showing the change in total value of assessed properties at the depth of the recession in 2013 compared to when values began to rebound for many communities in 2016.
Our team used data provided by the Bureau of Local Assessment (BLA) to map changes in Residential values and Commercial and Industrial properties.
Interested in learning more? Read more about our work on mapping assessed property value changes in the mid-September issue of City & Town.
online map showing bureau of local assessment value change from 2013 to 2016
Part ‘n’ Parcel: Tax Parcels VS. Fee 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. 

The MassGIS Level 3 standard distinguishes between parcels mapped for tax purposes and parcels mapped to represent deeded, or “fee simple,” ownership. This important distinction is tracked in the POLY_TYPE field of the TaxPar map layer. The distinction between a “TAX” and a “FEE” parcel also ensures that a single record in the assessor database corresponds to one, and only one, map parcel. Here’s what’s behind this important element of the standard.
In many communities, for the convenience of the assessor and/or the property owner, individual properties under common ownership are combined into a single assessor tax record. This practice results in situations where parcels on the tax map do not have a corresponding tax record. For this reason, in the standardized mapping, the “FEE” parcels corresponding to the combined tax record are grouped to make one (TAX) parcel polygon. However, because other users of the maps may still want to see the original FEE parcels comprising this “TAX” parcel, they are copied to the OTH_LEG (other legal interests) map layer. The complete tax map therefore consists of first drawing the Tax_Par map layer and then drawing the Oth_Leg map layer. Thus, on a computer screen, no matter which of the visible parcels you select or click on, you link to the single tax record for the combined parcels. Also, the TAX parcel’s geography is used for generating the all-important LOC_ID value (see the June issue of the GISette). For reference purposes, that LOC_ID  value is stored with each of the records for the FEE parcels in the OTH_LEG.
In all cases, two or more FEE parcels compose a TAX parcel. The most common case is when two adjacent parcels are combined for tax purposes. Another case is when a large property is divided by a road, thereby creating two discrete parcels (FEE). In each case, rather than send the owner a tax bill for each of the two properties, the bills are combined to create a single bill.

Changes to OLIVER Online Mapping

OLIVER (OnLineViewER) is a free, open source based dataviewer offered by MassGIS. In early October, OLIVER (and other applications based on the OLIVER template, such as MORIS and MuniMappers) received updates. 
Most notable of updates is the return of free form entry in the “find an address” box and the ability to enter decimal degree coordinates in the same location. Also of note is the inclusion of the latest Google imagery as a basemap. Imagery from other sources and previous years remain available within the Images folder. Further details about all of the updates can be found here.

Boston to Host 2017 FOSS4G Conference

In competition with several other North American cities, the Boston Local Organizing Committee is pleased to announce that they will be hosting next year’s FOSS4G (Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial), an international open source GIS conference. The event will be hosted at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center from August 14 – 18, 2017.
Several MassGIS staff members were involved in formulating the winning bid and are helping to plan the conference. Christian Jacqz, retired Director, and Aleda Freeman, current Web Mapping Service Manager, are both working to organize the event. Craig Austin, GIS Analyst,was announced as the winner of the logo design contest. Make sure to check this space in the coming months for additional conference announcements.

Foss4G Logo
Database Updates
In September 2016, 33 municipalities received Level 3 Assessors’ Parcel data updates. Most are first time updates and are for either FY16 or FY17. The municipalities include: Aquinnah, Ashland, Barnstable, Brimfield, Brockton, Cheshire, Colrain, Concord, Cummington, Duxbury, Easton, Gardner, Granby, Hinsdale, Holden, Holland, Malden, Mashpee, Melrose, Mendon, Nahant, North Brookfield, Peabody, Pepperell, Saugus, Southbridge, Waltham, Warwick, Wayland, Webster, Westborough, Whately, and Williamstown.
The data for MBTA Bus Routes and Stops, developed by the Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) of the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization, were updated and reflect the spring 2016 schedule.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) GIS Group has updated the following layers, now available from MassGIS:
Announcements & Events

MassGIS Staff NEARC Presentation

Michael Trust, Senior Database Manager at MassGIS, was selected by the NEARC Presentation Committee to deliver a presentation titled Delivering Maps and Data from the Cloud: MassGIS and ArcGIS at the Fall 2016 NEARC Conference. Michael connected with the GIS community and provided insight into the innovative ways MassGIS is using the Cloud in our mapping and data work.  

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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