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1/2/2018 Web Mapping Statistics for 2017


MassGIS has a varied set of web mapping services.  Below are some statistics for 2017:



In 2017 GeoServer received 54,760,144 requests (vs. 53,001,848 in 2016, a 3.3% increase).

GeoServer requests arrived at an average of 150,028/day or 104/min (vs.  145,211/day or 101/min in 2016). 

Of those GeoServer 27,639,985 requests (50%) (vs. 25,341,017 (48%) in 2015) were from OLIVER. 

GeoServer currently has 1,336 layers and 2,246 styles.


MassGIS' OLIVER application, a general purpose online mapping viewer, was launched 1,002,287 times (vs. 621,219 in 2016, a 61% increase) or an average of 2,746 times/day (was 1,697 times/day in 2016), 114 times/hour or 2 times/min. (note: count does not include other OLIVER templates such as MORIS or MuniMappers).


Parcel Viewer

The MassGIS Interactive Property Map Application was launched 324,557 times in 2017, or an average of 889 times/day. 

There were 17,475,640 queries or an average of 47,878 times/day or 1,995 times/hour or 33 times/min.  (Note that queries are pre-made, in the geographic area of the view and do not all represent user clicks.)  The accessible viewer version was launched 10.634 times or an average of 29 times/day.

ArcGIS Server

ArcGIS Server supports > 230 various services (map, feature, geocoding, custom, etc).  ArcGIS Server received 40,788,007 requests or an average of 111,748/day or 4,656 times/hour or 78 times/min.


ArcGIS Online (AGOL) services


MassGIS currently has 836 items at ArcGIS Online (AGOL).  54760144/365

MassGIS uses AGOL for primarily two purposes:  storing imagery tiles generated at MassGIS and hosting mapservices that point back to our ArcGIS Server map services.  The most viewed item is the MassGIS Interactive Property Map.

4/11/2017 Web Mapping Statistics for 2016

MassGIS has a diversified set of web mapping services.  Below are some statistics for 2016:


In 2016 GeoServer received 53,001,848 requests (vs. 48,178,087 in 2015, a 10% increase).

GeoServer requests arrived at an average of 145,211/day or 101/min (vs.  131,995/day or 92/min in 2015).  Of those GeoServer 25,341,017 requests (48%) (vs. 23,968,191 (50%) in 2015) were from OLIVER.

GeoServer currently has 1,280 layers and 2,267 styles.


MassGIS' OLIVER application, a general purpose online mapping viewer, was launched 621,219 times (vs. 462,868 in 2015, a 34% increase) or an average of 1,697 times/day (was 1,268 times/day in 2015) (note: count does not include other OLIVER templates such as MORIS or MuniMappers).

Parcel Viewer

The MassGIS Interactive Property Map Application was launched 184,376 times in 2016, or an average of 606 times/day.  There were 4,366,114 queries or an average of 11,962 times/day.  The accessible viewer version was launched 2,348 times (partial year info) or an average of 9 times/day.

ArcGIS Server

ArcGIS Server supports approximately 230 various services (map, feature, geocoding, custom, etc).

ArcGIS Server received 34,114,639 requests (partial year of Jun-Dec 2015 to exclude phased out system of local tile requests) or an average of 93,209/day.  (This higher than normal amount is accounted for by some high tile volume during a brief period of serving tiles from the system instead of from AGOL.)

ArcGIS Online (AGOL) services

MassGIS currently has 736 items at ArcGIS Online (AGOL).  MassGIS uses AGOL for primarily two purposes:  storing imagery tiles generated at MassGIS and hosting mapservices that point back to our ArcGIS Server map services.  The most viewed item is the MassGIS Basemap Detailed Features.


MassGIS has started to publish data via CartoDB.  Currently there are 44 items.


10/5/2016 OLIVER Updates


OLIVER and other applications based on the OLIVER template (MORIS, MuniMappers, etc) have some updates.  The updates include:

  1. A return to free-form address input for geocoding/address location (OLIVER switched from Bing to Google for geocoding services)
  2. Inclusion of the new Google orthoimagery as both a basemap choice and a layer choice under the "Images" folder.
  3. A selection of bug fixes:
       Delete map pin after ArcGIS Server geocoding
       Remove 3 calls to Bing services
       Include basemap attributions on printout  
       Add ability to have legend for tiled layer (tileset)
       Measure line labels not always on top
       Don't allow spaces in export file names
       Support consumption of WMTS (Web Map Tile Service)
  4. An analysis of how to modify OLIVER to maintain its functionality in the future

6/1/2016 Google Orthoimagery available to Commonwealth of MA agencies and political subdivisions

MassGIS has purchased a subscription for direct access to the latest high-quality Google ortho imagery. It provides all agencies and political subdivisions of the commonwealth with Google's most current 6-inch resolution, natural color aerial imagery for all of Massachusetts.  For more information see the Google Orthoimagery metadata.

1/5/2016 Web Mapping Statistics for 2015

MassGIS has a diversified set of web mapping services.  Below are some statistics for 2015:


In 2015 GeoServer received 48,178,087 requests (vs. 44,786,700 in 2014, a 7.6% increase).

GeoServer requests arrived at an average of 131,995/day or 92/min (vs.  122,703/day or 85/min in 2014).  Of those GeoServer requests 23,968,191 (50%) (vs. 18,396,640 (41%) in 2014) were from OLIVER.

GeoServer currently has 1,304 layers and 2,238 styles.


MassGIS' OLIVER application, a general purpose online mapping viewer, was launched 462,868 times (vs. 344,016 in 2014, a 35% increase) or an average of 1,268 times/day (was 943 times/day in 2014) (note: count does not include other OLIVER templates such as MORIS or MuniMappers).

Parcel Viewer

The new MassGIS Interactive Property Map Application, deployed in mid-November, was launched 27,031 times in 2015, or an average of 530 times/day.  There were 547,999 queries or an average of 4,807 times/day.  The accessible viewer version was launched 2,646 times or an average of 52 times/day.

ArcGIS Server

ArcGIS Server supports approximately 201 various services (map, feature, geocoding, custom, etc).

ArcGIS Server received 4,227,808 requests (partial year of Jun-Dec 2015 to exclude phased out system of local tile requests) or an average of 19,849/day.

ArcGIS Online (AGOL) services

MassGIS currently has 366 items at ArcGIS Online (AGOL).  MassGIS uses AGOL for primarily two purposes:  storing imagery tiles generated at MassGIS and hosting mapservices that point back to our ArcGIS Server map services.  The most viewed item is Massachusetts 20015 1:5,000 Color Ortho Imagery with 15,504 views.


MassGIS has started to publish data via CartoDB this year.  Currently there are 43 items.

12/14/2015 New Tileset at AGOL - 2015 Satellite Imagery



10/11/2015 GeoServer upgraded to 2.7.1

GeoServer has been upgraded from version 2.3.4 to version 2.7.1

Any questions please email or call 617-626-4530.

7/1/2015 New Tileset at AGOL - MassGIS Basemap (parcels but no structures)



6/29/2015 Additional Rasters Disabled in GeoServer




6/8/2015 Bing Basemaps Removed from all OLIVER-template Viewers

Bing basemaps (road, aerial, hybrid) do not currently draw properly with ArcGIS Online (AGOL) tilesets in OLIVER-type viewers.

Since there are alternatives (Google, Digital Globe, other aerial imagery coming soon), MassGIS decided to remove the Bing choices at this time.

5/15/2015 MassGIS Tilesets at (ArcGIS Online or AGOL) - Hosting Change from

Due to storage issues MassGIS is discontinuing offering tilesets through and instead offering them hosted at hosting is more stable and better performance (drawing speed).

Below is a list of AGOL endpoints for tilesets, links to metadata and the a crosswalk of names from the previously available sets.

If you are still using tilesets from we urge you to switch to the ASAP.

Additional tilesets will be made available at AGOL in the coming months, some are noted below.

See for additional services.

Any questions please let us know - email or

Tileset name through gisprpxyTileset name at AGOL ( link at AGOL (
NoLabels1 or Topographic Features for Basemap
WithLabels2 or Detailed Features
Base Streets with Labels
Digital Globe 2011-2012
Color Orthos 2013-2014
Orthos 2013Discontinued since 2013-2014 are available 
2014 USGS Color Ortho Imagery - WestDiscontinued since 2013-2014 are available 
2014 USGS Color Ortho Imagery - EastDiscontinued since 2013-2014 are available 

Coastal Inundation Scenarios
Coastal Inundation Uncertainty - Current Mean Higher High Water

Coastal Inundation Uncertainty - 1 ft

Coastal Inundation Uncertainty - 2 ft

Coastal Inundation Uncertainty - 3 ft 
Coastal Inundation Uncertainty - 4 ft 
Coastal Inundation Uncertainty - 5 ft 
Coastal Inundation Uncertainty - 6 ft 
Elevation and Shaded Relief from 2005



Layer name (not previously at gisprpxy)Tileset name at AGOL ( link at AGOL (
Shaded Relief
BW Orthos 1990s
Color Orthos 2001
Color Orthos 2005
Color Orthos 2008-2009
Color Orthos 2015
USGS Topos
3 of the 4 pieces of the "MassGIS Basemap" - no Structures


5/14/2015 Digital Globe 2011-2012 Orthos Now Available as Tileset at ArcGIS Online (AGOL)

5/13/2015 NOAA Charts Disabled in GeoServer

In fact, NOAA charts, IMG_BWORTHOS and IMG_COQ2001 have been removed from SDE IWP.

5/7/2015 Additional Raster Imagery Layers Disabled in GeoServer



5/1/2015 Several Raster Imagery Layers Disabled in GeoServer

As part of our transition from SDE raster imagery through GeoServer to tiled AGOL services, the following 3 layers were disable in all GeoServers this morning:




We believe that few people will be impacted by this change at this point as there was very little traffic to these layers.

Note: The first 2 layers are superseded by the third.  The third is available in tiled format at


3/26/2015 Transition from serving raster imagery through GeoServer in favor of serving tiles hosted at ArcGIS Online (AGOL)

MassGIS is transitioning away from serving large imagery layers through SDE as tiled imagery provides better performance (faster drawing speed). 

Existing known users of GeoServer imagery have been contacted about this upcoming change.  If you are a user and haven't been contacted please email or call 617-626-4530.

3/23/2015 Interactive map for the Digital Connections Partnership Schools Grant in collaboration with Mass DESE

This was a competitive grant process for the first $5 million of $38 million in state technology bond funding. 

Districts and schools marked as finalists have qualified for state funds in the first round of Digital Connections Partnership Schools Grant funding.

Districts and schools marked as semifinalists may be funded when additional state bond funds become available. It is possible semifinalists may be asked to edit their proposal before they are awarded funding. Some semifinalists may be eligible to receive funding if the final infrastructure costs for finalist districts are less than projected or if one or more finalists are unable to meet the local match obligation.

The proposals of districts and schools identified as candidates require further revision before they can be recommended for funding.

Click on the dots on the map (indicating schools) to see details specific to each school’s application.

Access from the DOE web site here:  or directly at

Created by Sienna Svob and Kavitha Parupati with CartoDB.

3/20/2015 MassGIS is retiring ESRI ArcIMS

At last the time has come to retire the ESRI ArcIMS.  MassGIS believes all customers have migrated away from these services.  Please contact us with any questions or concerns.

3/16/2015 OLIVER Code Repository Change

Google Code will be retiring soon so the OLIVER code base has migrated to GitHub:

1/2/2014 Statistics for 2014

In 2014 GeoServer received 44,786,700 requests (vs. 42,127,863 in 2013, a 6.3% increase). 

GeoServer requests arrived at an average of 122,703/day or 85/min (vs. 115,419/day or 80/min in 2013).  Of those GeoServer requests 18,396,640 (41%) (vs. 13,428,876 (32%) in 2013) were from OLIVER. 

GeoServer currently has 1,396 layers and 2,209 styles.

OLIVER was launched 344,016 times (vs. 206,056 in 2013, a 67% increase) or an average of 943 times/day (was 572 times/day in 2013)  (note: count does not include OLIVER "cousins" such as MORIS or MuniMappers).

There were 42,619 prints from OLIVER (vs. 32,023 in 2013) or an average of 117/day (vs. 85/day in 2013).

There were 38 extracts/day from OLIVER in 2014.

MassGIS tile services (for 7 tilesets) served a combined 270,856,699 tiles for 2014  (vs. 134,227,906 for 2013, a 102% increase) or 742,073/day (407,988/day in 2103) combined.

7/2/2014 OLIVER Statistics

Over the past 4 months OLIVER has been launched an average of 913 times/day.  A study of IPs reveals over 20,000 unique IPs have launched OLIVER.

4/18/2014 New Geocoder Available - MSAG Community Boundaries

This geocoding service returns both NAD 83 State Plane Massachusetts Mainland meters coordinate and lat/long.  It also returns town name,county name, town id and a state and county id (FIPS_STCO or FIPS state and county code).  The geocoder uses MSAG communities so neighborhoods such Dorchester or villages such as those in Barnstable can be more easily geocoded. The MSAG boundaries are similar to the 351 town boundaries, but 10 towns are subdivided further into communities to ensure uniqueness of street name.  The MSAG boundaries datalayer undergoes periodic updates.

ArcGIS Server - Geocoding - MSAG Community Boundaries

1/2/2014 Statistics for 2013

In 2013 GeoServer received 42,127,863 requests (vs. 37,320,975 in 2012, a 12.9% increase) of which 13,428,876 (32%) were from OLIVER.

GeoServer currently has 1,306 layers and 2,130 styles.

OLIVER was launched 206,056 times (vs. 132,122 in 2012, a 56% increase) or an average of 572 times/day (was 361 times/day in 2012)  (note: count does not include OLIVER "cousins" such as MORIS or MuniMappers).

There were 32,023 prints from OLIVER or an average of 85/day. 

OLIVER extracts were up in 2013 (but our counting scheme needs to be reworked as our method of cleaning out files changed partway through the year).

MassGIS tile services (for 7 tilesets) served a combined 134,227,906 tiles for 2013 (partial year starting Feb 6) or 407,988/day combined.

12/30/2013 QGIS WMS/WFS documentation updated

QGIS 2.0.1 (Dufour) works very well with the MassGIS GeoServer WMS and WFS services.  Full documentation on how to connect and use the MassGIS services.

12/19/2013 RFR for GIS Services

The Commonwealth’s procurement office has recently released a Request for Responses (RFR) for IT Project Services.  The RFR seeks proposals in three categories, one of which is GIS.  Within the GIS Category there are three subcategories: 

  • General GIS Services
  • Planimetric Mapping Services
  • Web Map Services or Clients Maintenance and Enhancement.  

The RFR will result in a state master service agreement (“state contract”) with pre-approved service providers that all political subdivisions of the Commonwealth can use for procuring GIS services.

To find the RFR go to

> Scroll to bottom of page and select Search for Solicitations

> Midway down the search page, enter ITS53 in the Document Number AND select "open" from the document status pull down list - DO NOT USE KEYWORDS SEARCH > The top of the same screen will now show a hyperlink saying that the search found 7 solicitations; click on that link

> On the next page click on the eyeglass icon to the right of the row that says "ITS53ProjServ - IT Services RFR ITS53" (should be top row)

> On the next screen, click on the "Specifications" tab

> On the next screen click on the eyeglass icon to the right of the top row of documents listed - the top row should say "ITS53 IT Project Services RFR".  Note there are other documents that you will need from this page and also from "forms and terms" tab.

11/21/2013 Services to be Down for Maintenance Saturday, November 23rd 7AM-5PM

Due to agency-wide maintenance, MassGIS services will be unavailable on Saturday, November 23rd from 7AM to approximately 5PM.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

11/12/2013 Two New Geocoding Services Based on Census TIGER 2010

Both ArcGIS Server geocoding services based on Census TIGER 2010 road data are REST URL based.  One returns MA State Plane NAD83 meters coordinates (EPSG 26986), one returned Web Mercator (EPSG 102100).

10/16/2013 New GeoServer OWS Endpoint

GeoServer web mapping services are now available also at the "ows" endpoint.  The previous "wms", "wfs", "wcs" and "wps" endpoints are still available.  If using the "ows" endpoint, make sure to specify the service wms, wfs, wcs or wps in a URL parameter or as part of the XML request otherwise GeoServer will not know which service to use.  For example both of these URLs will work.,898705,238934,903749&WIDTH=570&HEIGHT=436&FORMAT=image/png&STYLES=,898705,238934,903749&WIDTH=570&HEIGHT=436&FORMAT=image/png&STYLES=

or posting a WFS XML request to or will both work, as long as WFS is specified in the request.

10/2/2013 MassGIS Now Offers 24x7 Support

MassGIS launches 24x7 service.  The MassGIS Team of 5 admins now pass around a shared phone for standby duty.  9 of our 20 servers are monitored during off-hours. 

The monitoring currently includes limited types of situations but in a few weeks will be expanded to cover more of our business needs.

Off hours are 5:30PM - 6:30AM.  6:30AM-5:30PM there will be a MassGIS admin in the office. 

For support during on-hours, if you are within the Microsoft Exchange system, email

Otherwise email the individuals on the list:,,,,

Off-hours support is initiated by our alert systems and not by customer contact per se but will be monitoring during problem periods.

10/1/2013 ArcGIS Online Wiki Page

MassGIS launches ArcGIS Online site and ArcGIS Online wiki page.  The 5 tilesets (basemaps) are listed in the catalog among other items.  Much more content will be added in the coming months.

9/25/2013 DEP 2012 Integrated List of Waters Viewer and Geographic Response Plan Viewer Available

Both built with OpenLayers.

DEP 2012 Integrated List of Waters Viewer

DEP Geographic Response Plan Viewer

9/24/2013 DCR Watershed Protection Act (WsPA) Viewer Launched

The DCR WsPA viewer has been converted from a JSP viewer to an OLIVER-based viewer:

9/23/2013 GeoServer updated to 2.3.4

MassGIS has successfully upgraded GeoServer from 2.1.4 to 2.3.4. Please test your applications and email Aleda Freeman or call 617-626-4530 with any problems.

New Features:

There are many new features and bug fixes. A few we'd like to highlight are:

1.  JSON and JSONP support has been added in several places to support JavaScript development:

WMS GetFeatureInfo output format  (use INFO_FORMAT=text/javascript)
WFS DescribeFeatureType (as JSON schema)
WMS exceptions can now be requested in JSON format as well

2. Adding space around graphic fills (or mixing different types of graphic fills together)

3. Rendering transformations:

Point Clustering

4. WMS time and elevation

5. 8-bit PNG output with transparency - for SLD with semi-transparency, png8 now handles it better

6.  Geometry Transformations (not a new feature, but newly documented)

Changes:   There are some minor changes in request syntax:

1.  If a GetFeature request uses a callback, in order for the response to have the callback string at the beginning the outputformat must now be "text/javascript" instead of "json".  If no callback is used the outputformat can remain "json".

This works in 2.1.4:

but not in GeoServer 2.3.4:  (there will be good output but no callback string)

unless outputformat is changed:

2.   GetFeature URL requests used to be tolerant of a missing service parameter, taking the service from the beginning of the URL:

This works in 2.1.4 but not in GeoServer 2.3.4:

For it to work in GeoServer 2.3.4 the service=wfs is required (case does not matter) 

3. GeoServer 2.1.4 was tolerant of incorrect version numbers but GeoServer 2.3.4 is not:

An incorrect version number used to be tolerated (1.0.0. with trailing period as opposed to the correct 1.0.0)

This works in 2.1.4 but not in GeoServer 2.3.4: 

Simply correct the version number:

Other New Features:

See these links for other improvements from each successive GeoServer upgrade, all of which are included in this jump from 2.1.4 to 2.3.4: (although not all may be configured on the MassGIS system, let us know if you have questions about whether a particular item is available at


9/17/2013 Digital Globe 2011-12 Ortho Image Base Map OLIVER Print Fixed

The issue of Digital Globe orthos printing on top of other layers in OLIVER has been fixed.

9/11/2013 GeoServer Upgrade Scheduled for 9/23/2013 10AM

An upgrade from version 2.1.4 to version 2.3.4 is scheduled for Monday, September 23rd, 2013 at 10 AM.  There should be no downtime during the upgrade.  An announcement of new features will follow the upgrade.

7/10/2013 Digital Globe 2011-12 Ortho Image Base Map added to all OLIVERs

Under the Basemaps button in the lower right hand corner of each viewer (including MuniMappers) now "Digital Globe Orthophotos 2011-2012" is a choice.  More information about the photo basemap.

7/5/2013 OLIVER enhancements and bug fixes complete

OLIVER was upgraded with more enhancements and bugfixes.  Details below.
Any questions please email or call 617-626-4530.

     1. A MassGIS geocoding button is optionally available for viewers built on the OLIVER template
        In addition to the currently available Bing search box a new button is available that will geocode against the MassGIS streets base dataset
        as described in
            User Documentation:
            Enhancement details:

     2. Zoom to address by including it on the URL to launch OLIVER or another viewer built on the OLIVER template
        OLIVER, MORIS, MuniMappers and any other viewer built on the OLIVER template can now be opened directly to an address, either to the Bing or MassGIS geocoding service
            User Documentation:
            Enhancement details:
     3. Exporting vector data using any of the 3 options to export - bbox, draw a shape, use a feature) fixed for the 3 non-26986 output formats
            Exporting vector data in a projection other than MA State Plane Mainland NAD83 meters (EPSG 26986) was returning an empty shapefile.
            Also, a note was added to the interface to clarify that rasters are only available in MA State Plane Mainland NAD83 meters (EPSG 26986).
            Now UTM 18 (EPSG 26918), UTM 19 (EPSG 26919) and WGS84 (EPSG 4326) aka latitude/longitude work correctly again.
            User Documentation:
            Enhancement details:
     4. 3 right hand windows (Available Data Layers, Active Data Layers, Legend) can be closed by default   
        Any viewer built on the OLIVER template can be configured by MassGIS to present a simpler interface at launch by having the 3 right hand windows closed instead of open.
        The << button is still available to open them in case data layer changes need to be made.
            Enhancement details:
     5. In order to support the display of additional cached tiled basemaps in OLIVERs configuration was added to allow custom basemap attribution display in the bottom right of the map.
            Enhancement details:        

6/17/2013 OLIVER enhancements and bug fixes complete

OLIVER was upgraded with more enhancements and bugfixes.  Details below.
Any questions please email or call 617-626-4530.

     1. An abutters list tool was added to the MuniMappers.  
        MassGIS currently provides 61 customized OLIVERs called MuniMappers for certain municipalities.
        Choose one or more parcels and a distance to select abutter parcels to generate a mailing list.
            User Documentation:
            Enhancement details:
     2. A simple one-datalayer-at-a-time identify was added.  
        In addition to the current two identify tools (draw a rectangle or draw a shape) that identify all datalayers under the drawn shape, a new option is now available.
        Right clicking on a layer in the Active Datalayers window on the right will confine the identify to just that layer.  
        The feature table will also open automatically after the count of features is complete in the upper part of the "Identify results" window.
            User Documentation:
            Enhancement details:
     3. A simple buffer tool was added.  Specify a distance and generate a buffer around a clicked point.  
        Note: The buffer tool was added to OLIVER but not the MuniMappers.
            User Documentation:
            Enhancement details:
     4. A bug seen with tiles using Internet Explorer 10 has been resolved.  
        Some basemap tiled layers including Bing and Google would become "scrambled" after a few zooms in IE10.
        (Note: as a side effect of the fix the zoom slider bar does not display the correct level for the basemaps.
        The slider bar will seem to indicate that there is another, closer zoom level available when in fact
        the closest zoom level available IS being viewed and the slider bar is showing an incorrect result.
        This will be fixed in an upcoming version.)
            Enhancement details: Bug fix details:
     5. For OLIVERs that edit datalayers, the ability to edit attributes without editing shapes was added.
        Now OLIVER can confine users to editing attributes of a datalayer but not vertices, simplfying workflows.
            Enhancement details:                
     6. A current analysis of the Bing and Google Terms of Service was performed.
        As a result OLIVER and MuniMapper attribution has been brought into line with current requirements.
            Enhancement details:

MuniMapper now deployed for 64 Communities

Any community interested in having their own MuniMapper should contact Paul Nutting (617) 619-5611

MassGIS is now officially on Twitter

Follow us for data updates and other news items.


Handle: @MassGIS

Twitter page:

MuniMapper Deployed for 19 Communities

MassGIS has been creating customized OLIVER interactive map viewers for municipalities that are interested.  So far we have 19 communities:










Great Barrington:




Mount Washington:

North Adams:





Any community interested in having their own MuniMapper should contact Paul Nutting (617) 619-5611

2/7/2013 New Pre-rendered Tile Services and OLIVER upgrade

OLIVER Update:


OLIVER has been updated to use a custom MassGIS-designed set of tiles as a general-reference map that contains a variety of features all from the MassGIS database, including Structures and Level 3 parcels.  Tiles are pre-rendered map image squares.  Displaying tiles in OLIVER results in much faster performance, as the map does not need to be generated in real time from the database datalayers and the tile images can also be cached by the web browser or other caching systems.  MassGIS has created 4 tilesets meant to work together seamlessly.  One of the tilesets is used as a true basemap whereas the other 3 are overlaid.  The 3 overlays can be turned on and off or have their transparency changed.  The basemap can be switched out under the 3 overlays, to see Level 3 parcel tiles on top of Bing orthos for example.  MassGIS provides basemap/tileset metadata which includes the datalayer contents of each tileset and last updated date of each tileset.  This set of 4 tilesets together represents much of the Massachusetts Spatial Data Infrastructure.  MassGIS plans to update these tilesets in place as updated datalayers become available and also to create other tilesets.  For tile usage outside of OLIVER see

Parcel query:

MassGIS has found that parcel query speed is much improved by splitting the Level 3 statewide parcel dataset into two halves (by number of records) East and West.  In OLIVER the two layers are overlaid upon the tileset with transparent symbology and named “for Query”.  If an identify if performed by looking at parcels in the parcels tileset the query will happen against these 2 datalayers.  There is an index datalayer depicting the geographic extent of each.  For those wishing to use these two new datalayers in other clients the GeoServer names are "massgis:l3parcels_east” and “massgis:l3parcels_west” and they are backed by shapefiles. 

MassDEP Theme maps:

DEP has added 4 theme maps to OLIVER under the Theme Maps folder.  These include the Priority Resource map, Title 5 map, Water Supply Protection map and Wetland and Wetland Change Areas map.  The first three maps are GeoServer layergroups meaning the datalayers are considering one layer for display only and can’t be queried.

MassGIS welcomes questions and feedback, please contact either: 617-619-5611 or 617-626-4530

1/4/2013 Legislative District viewer now OLIVER-based

The JSP-based legislative district browser that was difficult to update has been remade as an OLIVER-based viewer.  The MA Legislative District Viewer features dropdowns to zoom to MA House and Senate districts by district name or legislator name.  It also features a dropdown to zoom to municipality.

1/2/2013 Statistics for 2012

In 2012 GeoServer received 37,320,975 requests of which more than 13,025,795 were from OLIVER (that number does not count POST requests.  We just set up a way to count those.)

OLIVER was launched 132,122 times or an average of 361 times/day.

There were 56,710 zip file data downloads (each zip file might contain more than one datalayer) from OLIVER or an average of 155/day.

There were 16,643 prints from OLIVER or an average of 45/day.

Our GeoServer currently has 1,153 layers and 1,999 styles.


Due to the MassGIS office move and data center rebuild in the first half of 2011, we have good quality statistics for only the last half of 2011 (July-Dec) with which to compare.

In 2011 (July-Dec) GeoServer received 13,272,275 requests. (a full year of data would be roughly 26,500,000, so 2012's 37,320,975 represents a 41% increase).

OLIVER was launched 41,581 times or an average of 225 times/day. (a full year of data be roughly 83,000, so 2012's 132,122 represents a 59% increase).

12/20/2012 CPA CP-3 data collection app geocoding switched from ArcIMS to ArcGIS Server

MassGIS hosts an app to collect Community Preservation Act data which is geocoded if appropriate. The geocode service was switched and the "cross street" option was eliminated from the UI as ArcGIS Server does not support it.

12/14/2012 ESN OLIVER created

An OLIVER to edit ESN values has been created to help MassGIS staffer Michael Warner. 

12/13/2012 DCR launches OLIVER-based Snow Management Plan viewer

As a replacement for the ArcIMS HTML viewer based "DCR Snow Priority Viewer" an OLIVER version has been released.

12/5/2012 OLIVER bugfixes and enhancements complete

Any questions please email or call 617-626-4530.

     a. Add a spinner (an icon indicating processing in progress) for WFS queries


     b.    Configure OLIVER so that more tools are optional

   – zoom in, zoom out, pan

   – zoom to a scale

   – zoom to initial extent

   – zoom to full extent of active layers

   – back and forward

     c. Allow Print and Export tools to be hidden separately


     d. Fix select feature problem after create feature (editing)


     e. Fix problem of more than one layer getting deleted


     f. Allow export of Excel and CSV from the identify and export



     g. Fix basemap opacity slider in Permalink


     h. Add a clear button to the Filter Builder


     i. Fix display of Oracle DATE fields in IE


     j. Eliminate mixed content warning in IE


     k. Allow customization of Basemaps list content


     l. Fix KML file naming so filter works and name is based on SDE layer name


     m. Allow Bing to be the default basemap


     n. Upgrade to OpenLayers 2.12 and change out of Quirks Mode



12/3/2012 GeoServer WPS (Web Processing Service) available

See GeoServer - WPS - Web Processing Service - Intro

11/27/2012 ArcGIS Server Geocoding and Geometry services available

See ArcGIS Server - Geocoding and ArcGIS Server - GeometryService - Intro

10/24/2012 MassDEP viewers for Priority Resource, Title 5 Setback Areas, Water Supply Protection Areas and Wetland and Wetland Change upgraded

MassDEP has deployed new versions of these four viewers to replace older ArcIMS HTML viewer versions.

Priority Resource

Title 5 Setback Areas

Water Supply Protection Areas

Wetland and Wetland Change

Questions please email Aaron Richer.

10/18/2012 GeoServer updated to 2.1.4

MassGIS has successfully upgraded GeoServer from 2.0.3 to 2.1.4. Please test your applications and email Aleda Freeman or call 617-626-4530 with any problems.
New Features:
There are many new features and bug fixes. A few we'd like to highlight are:

1. Ability to name a shapefile when downloading (previously shapefile always had the underlying datalayer name). Use the format_options parameter

2. Ability to download data in Excel 2007 (.xlsx) in addition to Excel and CSV as before

excel - Excel 97-2003 (.xls) binary format
excel2007 - Excel 2007 (.xlsx) xml format

The older .xls binary format is smaller in size and compatible with older versions of Microsoft Office, but is limited to 65,536 rows and 256 columns. The newer .xlsx xml format generates large files and is only compatible with newer versions of Microsoft Office, but can store up to 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns. Both formats should be compatible with all versions of OpenOffice.

3. Shapefiles downloaded will now have the ESRI-style .prj. That means ArcMap will not complain about the .prj and the shapefile will be fully useable.

4. ECQL - a more powerful version of CQL for filtering

5. SLD - strCapitalize function

6. WMS Decorations

7. SLD - variable substitution

8. SLD - Symbolizing based on real units of measure

8. Cross layer filtering

9. SLD – automatically resize graphics based on attribute length
10. Fonts - it’s now easier for MassGIS to add new fonts to the system

There is also one important change in request syntax:

1. When using CQL_FILTER and a spatial filter to get features you must use the INTERSECTS command and not INTERSECT (previously both would work),POINT%28238695.1%20945570.4%29%29&request=getfeature&version=1.0.0&service=wfs

Control Flow and Monitoring Modules:

MassGIS has also implemented two modules – Control Flow and Monitoring which will allow us to gather more operational information about the system and enable us to keep it running more smoothly.

Other New Features:

See these links for other improvements from each successive GeoServer upgrade, all of which are included in this jump from 2.0.3 to 2.1.4: (although not all may be configured on the MassGIS system, let us know if you have questions about whether a particular item is available at

Upcoming New Features November 2012:

MassGIS has deployed but not yet exposed through the ITD Gateway the following new features:

1. PDF printing capability
2. Web Process Service (WPS) - (buffer, nearest, area, length, distinct and other calculations on geometry and data)

Look for an announcement on these in November.

10/17/2012 GeoServer upgrade scheduled for Thursday, October 18th 10AM-Noon

MassGIS will be upgrading the production GeoServer system from version 2.0.3 to version 2.1.4 between 10AM and noon on Thursday, October 18th. No downtime is expected. An update with more information on the new version will follow the upgrade.

9/20/2012 CZM Massachusetts Bays Program Seagrass Beds

The Massachusetts Bays Program - has a nice example of embedding simple OpenLayers maps into a web page in their Seagrass Beds web page (scroll down to see the maps). With this method a live, interactive map that can be zoomed and panned can be presented to the user. It can be hosted on web pages. (However, no query or identify ability on features is available on hosted OpenLayers applications).

9/6/2012 CZM MA Ocean Plan viewer released

The 2009 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan - the nation's first comprehensive plan to protect critical marine resources and foster sustainable uses in the state's ocean waters - included static maps with the spatial data used in plan development, such as underwater cable corridors and long-tailed duck habitat. To allow users to access and interact with the data behind these maps, as part of its Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS) web-based coastal mapping tool, CZM has developed Data. This new site offers all the data in the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, as well as a number of base layers to put the plan data into better context, and allows users to zoom in to areas of interest, turn data layers on or off, combine data in novel ways, and even share the maps with others.

7/23/2012 OLIVER codebase updated

The core OLIVER code has been updated to include a Filter Builder functionality.
Please let us know of any new issues with OLIVER as a result.

7/17/2012 MassHistoric Datalayers added to OLIVER through External WMS button

3 MassHistoric datalayers were added to OLIVER using the "connect to external WMS" method. There is a tool on in OLIVER that looks like a database. Click that tool to see a list of options. Double-click the MHC Historic Inventory listing to see the 3 datalayers. Double-click a datalayer to add it to the map. Currently external WMS layers can only be added to the map, not identified, extracted or printed. They can be reprojected to other basemaps.  However, the data is always up-to-date as it is being streamed live from MassHistoric. See also the online mapping application MACRIS Maps version 2.0 beta and MHC Metadata.

7/12/2012 Downtime coming up 7/14/2012

Saturday 7/14/2012 downtime limited to approximately 6PM-7:30PM

The database storage migration will not require the database to be down all day as previously mentioned.

6/25/2012 MassHistoric releases new version of MACRIS that call MassGIS Web Mapping Services

MassHistoric has released a new version of their online mapping application MACRIS Maps version 2.0 beta which pulls several datalayers from MassGIS' GeoServer-based web mapping service.

5/10/2012 EEA Wind Energy viewer converted to OLIVER type viewer

The EEA Wind Energy Large Scale Site Screening Tool has been converted from an older ESRI ArcIMS HTML viewer to a more modern OpenLayers on top of the GeoServer WMS viewer.


A new DEP eelgrass map viewer using OpenLayers and the MassGIS GeoServer web mapping services is available.


Several new OLIVER-based viewers are available which use the GeoServer web mapping services WMS and WFS:

EOHED Planning Ahead for Growth Mapping Tool. See other EOHED tools for local officials, economic development professionals and planners
Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Dams viewer
MassAudubon Breeding Bird Atlas has been converted from an ESRI ArcIMS HTML viewer to an OLIVER viewer.
MassAudubon Breeding Butterfly Atlas has been converted from an ESRI ArcIMS HTML viewer to an OLIVER viewer.
MassGIS is supporting the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) by providing organic farmers and aquaculturists the ability to use a customized OLIVER to update their field and pond information in the database. For more information please email Dake Henderson.


Additional OLIVER enhancements for editing were put into production today at 2PM (change C1004339), covering Issue 114 in the Google code Issues database. Please email Aleda Freeman or call 617-626-4530 with any problems.


8 OLIVER enhancements were put into production today at 10AM (change C1004130), covering Issues 56, 115-121 in the Google code Issues database. Please email Aleda Freeman or call 617-626-4530 with any problems.

Issue 56 - Allow dropdowns in the quickzooms to be configurable as to width
Issue 115 - Add the ability to have dropdowns through the OLIVER WFSTFeatureEditing dialog interface that have manually configured lists of values
Issue 116 - Add the ability to require mandatory fields for an editing layer through the OLIVER WFSTFeatureEditing dialog interface
Issue 117 - Add the ability to make certain fields in an editing layer non-editable through the OLIVER WFSTFeatureEditing dialog interface
Issue 118 - Add the ability to hide certain fields in an editing layer through the OLIVER WFSTFeatureEditing dialog interface
Issue 119 - Add the ability to prefill certain attribute values in an editing layers
Issue 120 - Allow a field to be specified as a “timestamp” field where the date is automatically entered
Issue 121 - Clear the QuickZoom dropdown picked value after use


3 OLIVER bug fixes were put into production today at 10AM (change C1004124), covering Issues 108, 109 and 122 in the Google code Issues database. Please email Aleda Freeman or call 617-626-4530 with any problems.

Issue 108 - extract by complex poly (like a county)
Issue 109 - extract raster tif now named as SDE layer is named
Issue 122 - print of secured datalayers now works


The EEA Environmental Justice Viewer has been converted from an older ESRI ArcIMS HTML viewer to a more modern OpenLayers on top of the GeoServer WMS viewer.


MassGIS is pleased to release the latest version of OLIVER, MORIS (the "ocean" OLIVER) and SPOLIVER (the "state police" OLIVER).
Developed by MassGIS, CZM and SeaPlan (formerly Massachusetts Ocean Partnership), this version of OLIVER includes many enhancements and bug fixes:

  • More basemaps including Bing, OpenStreetMap, CloudMade and TopOSM
  • Better printing
  • Now 3 ways to extract data (by bounding box, by drawn shape or by selected feature shape)
  • Ability to change the color of points, lines and polygons (within a limited palette)
  • Permalink URLs (to send or bookmark) that support color changes and opacity - so that the link you send exactly represents your map!
  • Ability to add selected external (from non-MassGIS servers) WMS layers
  • Streamlined data extract process
  • Bigger, more visible buttons and banner
  • Dropdown to zoom directly to town (OLIVER only)

In addition to the above standard features OLIVER is now more configurable to create custom viewers.
In addition to custom datasets, titles, logos, default layers and geographic extent there is now also:

  • Draw and edit to live database layers (including optional snapping and splitting)
  • Configurability for many buttons and tools to be hidden if not needed
  • Dropdown options to zoom to extents; optionally narrow down dropdown choices within geographies

For state agencies MassGIS can design and host custom "OLIVER"s. For information, contact Aleda Freeman.
For more information on configuration options see OLIVER developers documentation and configuration examples.

The OLIVER toolkit is an open source project that can be found on Google code as the "morisoliver" project.


Services are available again to online mapping, geocoding and FTP.


This morning there are intermittent issues with the network which is preventing our online mapping and FTP services from being available. It is a known issue, be aware that services may be unavailable at times.


The problem has been resolved. Thank you for your patience.


We are experiencing an web mapping services problem. Please stand by.


This wiki is hosted by CommonWiki. CommonWiki will be down for database patches on Friday morning, 11/18, from 6:30am to 8:30am.


Routine maintenance is scheduled for the GeoServer-based web mapping services Thursday, Nov. 10th from 8AM to approximately 9AM. We apologize for the inconvenience.


9:45AM Everything now running normally. Thank you for your patience.


We are experiencing an Oracle problem starting at 8:16AM this morning. Please stand by.


Orthophoto layers are drawing slowly out of our SDE to any client. We are working with ESRI to diagnose the problem.


Kevin Robicheau of MA DFG has updated the BioMap2 application which uses OpenLayers and the MassGIS Geoserver-based web mapping services.


MassGIS' new servers in the new data center have been up almost a month (first day was June 30th).  (MassGIS built 17 servers in 6 months!)  (Special thanks to Saul Farber of PeopleGIS).  Performance is good as indicated by our Nagios service monitoring software.  GeoServer WMS/WFS uptime for July was 97.155%.  (Test requests every 5 minutes).  Tweaks were made mid-month in the GeoServer availability scripts resulted in uptime for the last 7 days of 98.224%.  SDE is noticeably more stable.  Here at ITD the MA Infrastructure Technology Center manages the physical needs of the servers, the Linux Team manages the OS, the Oracle Team manages Oracle, the Backup Team performs the backups (delivering us a daily report), and the Monitoring Team monitors the CPU, memory and disk space usage.  MassGIS is free to focus on data, SDE, GeoServer. 

There are now 4 people at MassGIS with full access/logins to servers and instructions/training (ongoing work in progress) to deal with problems.  If there is a problem with SDE, Oracle, license server, online mapping help can be obtained from either Michael Trust, Gabriela Laird, Paul Nutting or myself.  One of the 4 of us should be available, even if the "primary" person for the topic is unavailable.  If we can't solve the problem we have additional support resources from ESRI and Saul Farber of PeopleGIS.   There is a handy email list that can be used to contact all the admins: ITD-DL-MassGisAdmins@MassMail.State.MA.US.

Average GeoServer requests are 61,000/day.  The several month process of upgrading GeoServer has begun. Current version 2.0.1 will be upgraded to 2.1.1+.  The new version of GeoServer will include several enhancements to further boost uptime towards our goal of 100%.  One enhancement will be the GeoServer Control Flow Module, a mechanism for GeoServer to terminate extremely resource-intensive requests so they do not overwhelm the queue.  Another enhancement will be the GeoServer Monitoring Module which will log all GeoServer requests including their type, datalayers and total time to complete.  This profile of our traffic will enable MassGIS to examine the slowest requests to see if datalayer reconfigurations (indexes, simplification) can be made to improve performance for those layers.  This data will also enable MassGIS to see the most popular datalayers. 


On June 30th MassGIS online mapping and geocoding services began serving from the MA Information Technology Center in Chelsea instead of from Causeway St. in Boston. The GeoServer web mapping services have additional validation built in. Please be aware that there could be issues with online mapping and please let us know, 617-626-4530 or ITD-DL-MassGisAdmins@MassMail.State.MA.US if you do see problems.


12:45PM This morning there was a problem with a switch that cut MassGIS off from the Internet. Verizon has fixed the switch and web mapping services, online mapping and FTP are available again.


The Powerpoint 2010 poster showing MassGIS Web Mapping Services system and clients using it has been updated. If your app is missing or described incorrectly please email


*OLIVER redeployed as OpenLayers/GeoExt application*

The latest Massachusetts OnLIne ViewER (OLIVER) is an online mapping tool created by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), the Office of Geographic Information (MassGIS), the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership (MOP) and Applied Science Associates (ASA) and Charlton Galvarino. OLIVER can be used to search, display, and share spatial data pertaining to Massachusetts. Users can quickly create and share maps and download data for use in a Geographic Information System (GIS). In 2011, the OLIVER system was upgraded to a new web-based thin client using GeoExt and OpenLayers. It continues to use GeoServer-based MassGIS web mapping services. The project was graciously funded by MOP.

OLIVER was developed using open source technology - the OLIVER codebase is free for use and modification under the GNU General Public License. More information about the open source nature of OLIVER can be found at the OLIVER Developer documentation.

The mission of CZM is to balance the impacts of human activity with the protection of coastal and marine resources. As a networked program, CZM was specifically established to work with other state agencies, federal agencies, local governments, academic institutions, nonprofit groups, and the general public to promote sound management of the Massachusetts coast. CZM is funded primarily through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

MassGIS is the Office of Geographic Information, within the Information Technology Division (ITD). Through MassGIS, the Commonwealth has created a comprehensive, statewide database of geospatial information. The state legislature has established MassGIS as the official state agency assigned to the collection, storage and dissemination of geographic data. In addition, the legislative mandate includes coordinating GIS activity within the Commonwealth and setting standards for geographic data to ensure universal compatibility.

The Massachusetts Ocean Partnership aims to advance science-based and stakeholder informed ocean management by enhancing knowledge, relationships and management tools through effective practice of ecosystem-based coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) and the dissemination of its products. The application is one example of the initiative of MOP to advance an integrated data network to improve the accessibility and interoperability of coastal and marine data for ocean management and other marine related uses.

Please contact or with questions or comments.


MassGIS is moving.

Starting on Friday, January 21st Aleda Freeman's mailing address and phone will change to:

Information Technology Division - MassGIS

One Ashburton Pl - Rm 1601

Boston, MA 02108


Email remains

There will be no downtime for web mapping services.

MassGIS, as part of ITD since July 2010, is recreating all servers in a new data center.
This work will be continuing over the next several months and we anticipate improvement in service performance as a result.

Feel free to contact me with any questions.


Online Mapping Statistics for 2010:

Big Picture:

  • The big event of the year was the upgrading of GeoServer to 2.0.1 on April 26, 2010 offering many improvements including:
  • Faster drawing of SDE rasters (thanks to funding from the Massachusetts Ocean
    Partnership and the work of Gabriel Roldan of The Open Planning Project)
  • Ability to have layergroups
  • Geometryless tables available for WFS query
  • Layer level security available: MassGIS can setup authentication on a datalayer to force login with user/pass to see it
  • Due to planned changes, ArcIMS counts went down and GeoServer counts went up
  • MapAccess was turned off
  • Adding up requests for maps, identify/xml, extract and geocodes across all internal and external systems
    for the last year, we see 83,414 requests/day or 1 every 1.04 seconds. Over half this traffic is internal geocoding.

-GeoServer Webservices Requests: 12,747,630
Average requests per day: 34,925
Percent returned from cache: 17.59%

-Images served from ArcIMS:
ArcIMS served 1,246,531 images in 2009: (365,233 fewer than in 2009 or 26% decrease)
Average images per day: 3,415 (versus 8,119 in 2009)

  • OLIVER Launches: (some users starting using a new, beta OLIVER which partially explains the decrease)
    Total launches for 2010: 43,779 (this is 15,411 less than in 2009 or a 26% decrease)
    Average launches per day: 120 (versus 162 for 2009)
  • ArcGIS Server: Gabriela Laird continues to work on several ArcGIS Server projects


The MassGIS web mapping services, (including all online mapping and FTP) will be down for these times due to upgrades being done by our Internet Service Provider.

Monday Dec. 27th 11:00 PM - 11:30 PM

Tuesday Dec. 28th 10:00 PM - 2:00 AM

Wednesday Dec. 29th 11:00 PM - 11:30 PM

Sunday Jan. 2nd 10:00 PM - ?


DEP's Huaining Zhu presented at the NEARC conference Nov 9th discussing DEP online mapping using MassGIS web mapping services. Abstract


MA Digital Govt Summit Nov 18-19 (open to public sector employees). Christian Jacqz of MassGIS speaks Nov. 18 10:45am re: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)


The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (DFG)'s GIS program has developed for their Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) an interactive map application delivered online using OpenLayers and the MassGIS Web Mapping Services. worked on this project. This application was featured in the New York Times' Green Blog November 5th, 2010. More info: Overview of BioMap2 program. To see the maps view this web page: BioMap2.


At the urging of Kevin Robicheau of MA Department of Fish and Game GIS, an improvement has been made to the uptime of the GeoServer-backed web mapping services. As usage was steadily increasing a tweak needed to be made. Everyone should see a significant difference.


Two free live instructor led courses (not prerecorded webinars) from OpenGeo: Introduction to GeoServer (for people hosting their own GeoServer) Nov. 18th and Introduction to PostGIS (for people hosting their own spatial database) Nov 19th. You must successfully install the OpenGeo Suite prior to training.


OpenLayers training materials from the recent FOSS4G - Free Open Source Software for Geospatial conference are available.


Michael Trust designed a basemap and Aleda Freeman created a GeoServer layergroup for it called "massgis_basemap". You can access a layergroup just as any other GeoServer layer - except you don't need massgis: in front of the name, and you can't "identify" or get information on any particular layer (61 layers/styles included) that makes up the group. Try it through OLIVER.


I posted info on speeds connecting to WMS and other online services from ArcMap 9.3 vs. ArcMap 10 (MUCH faster in 10). Speed from ArcMap to various online services


10 new styles are available for massgis:GISDATA.IMG_ELEV5K_I:

These provide different color ramps.


Applied Geographics (AppGeo) has written an application for Northern Middlesex Registry of Deeds staff to create extents for plans. The application is being hosted at MassGIS and communicates with the GeoServer web mapping services. For more information contact Richard Howe.


DEP's Welldriller program has an OpenLayers app that uses the MassGIS GeoServer web mapping services. Use the interface to Searchwell to narrow down the results on the map.


Work has begun by The Open Planning Project's OpenGeo on several GeoServer improvements sponsored by the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership. MassGIS will be assisting in testing the improvements. The most complex and interesting task will monitor and create statistics on request traffic, called the GeoServer Monitoring extension.


Today MassGIS becomes part of the Massachusetts Information Technology Division.


If you have a shapefile with a .prj and you want to know which EPSG code (projection code) corresponds to the .prj, use this handy tool: For example, here is a .prj which is used in all MassGIS shapefiles:


Either cut and paste this text into the box or use the "Browse" button to point to the .prj file on your hard drive.

The corresponding EPSG code is 26986 or NAD_1983_StatePlane_Massachusetts_Mainland_FIPS_2001.


Due to an electrical shutdown the web mapping services and geocoding services will be down from approximately 6pm Friday May 21st through 8am Monday May 24th. We apologize for the late notice, but we were just informed.


Web Mapping Services PowerPoint poster (showing a selection of client screenshots).


MassGIS is pleased to announce that our GeoServer web mapping services have been upgraded to version 2.0.1 (from version 1.7.6 which was installed on 8/10/2010). GeoServer has undergone quite a number of improvements in both functionality and performance that users will enjoy with the new version. If anyone has problems with this new version please let me know ASAP at or 617-626-4530.

New functionality available now:

  • Faster drawing of SDE rasters (thanks to funding from the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership and the work of Gabriel Roldan of The Open Planning Project)
  • Layer level security available: MassGIS can setup authentication on a datalayer to force login with user/pass to see it
  • Improved contour labeling due to filter functions - more examples with filter functions to come.
  • GeoSearch has been enabled on all layers, MassGIS can now experiment with publishing individual layers to Google

Future plans:

In the next few months MassGIS hopes to embark on facilitating some additional GeoServer improvements with the sponsorship of the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership. In addition, we hope to publish some layers to Google's GeoSearch, write more documentation on lyceum regarding filter functions, and other ideas. We'll keep you up to date on any plans.


OpenGeo has a useful SLD "cookbook" - meaning lots of examples.


MassGIS is planning to upgrade GeoServer on Friday April 23rd at 4:30pm. Please let Aleda Freeman 617-626-4530 know if this is not a good time (for example, an important demo). The upgrade should result in very little if any downtime and the upgrade can be easily reversed if necessary. However, extensive testing has been done by MassGIS and users so it should be ready to go. Documentation on new features will be posted just after the upgrade is complete.


MIT's Lisa Sweeney Head of GIS Services in the MIT Libraries announces that the MIT GeoWeb application now incorporates MassGIS Web Mapping Service layers!

Videos explaining the use of the tool:


How GeoServer Calculates Scales

If in the styling for your datalayer (SLD) you have a maximum scale set at 1:50,000 (you don't want the data to show until the user zooms in under 1:50,000 scale), does the client calculate scale the same way as GeoServer? This discussion on the GeoServer users mailing list gives tips on how to get OpenLayers to be in synch with GeoServer's SLD scale settings.


Joshua Rosenthal of the Massachusetts Historic Commission (MassHistoric) has contributed a sample of WMS on Google Maps API version 3.


There are a few Firefox extensions that can be helpful to debug interactive mapping web sites:

1. Firebug

Some features:

  • Inspect HTML and modify style and layout in real-time
  • Use the most advanced JavaScript debugger available for any browser
  • Accurately analyze network usage and performance

I like how you can enable "Inspect Element" and point at various parts of the web page and get jumped to the correct part of the source code.

2. WMS Inspector
Passed on from Joshua Rosenthal of the Massachusetts Historic Commission (MassHistoric) , this handy tool will pull out the WMS requests in a page, allow you to see the image created, and copy and paste the link. (Firebug can show you the WMS info as well, but you have to dig for it)

Some features:

  • Load all WMS requests in the current page and their parameters
  • Requests sorting by service or type
  • Individual WMS requests (images or errors) visualization
  • Copy services, requests or parameters to the clipboard
  • Direct edit of request parameter values

Output GetCapabilities response as an HTML report or original file


ArcGrid output is possible with WCS requests.


Waiting for this bug - Some rasters show No Data as black areas (regression from 1.7.6) to be fixed before we upgrade from GeoServer 1.7.6 to 2.0.1.


The City of Boston's Department of of Neighborhood Development (DND) has an OpenLayers application that shows 2008 Distressed Private Property and incorporates orthophotos from MassGIS Web Mapping Services.


Oracle Map Viewer 10.1.2 can use WMS, here's documentation.


MassGIS is almost ready to upgrade GeoServer from version 1.7.6 to 2.0.1, but I need your help to check whether there are any problems. I'm waiting for several minor issues to be resolved, but while I'm waiting for those to be addressed there's nothing to keep everyone from testing their applications. The test version has passed my suite of tests (various GetMap, GetFeature requests, etc) but I can't test every combination of requests which is why it's essential that if you are using giswebservices that you try your application against the proposed new version.

In addition, I've applied what I believe are some sensible default resource limits on the WMS (the values at the bottom of this page: As a shared resource we need to be careful of allowing requests to gobble up too many resources. If these limits restrict the functioning of your application please let me know. I can adjust the limits or we can work together to design more efficient requests.

  • Please let me know at whether A) everything was OK or B) you found problems. If there are problems I'd like to start working on them right away.

If things don't work at all don't panic, contact me and I'll make sure the test server is running. Note: Monday is a state holiday so I won't be in until Tuesday.

Note: Color orthos for 2001, 2005 and 2008 have black around the edges, I am aware of this issue and it will be resolved, so don't worry..
Don't forget to change your applications to point back to when you're done testing.

Thank for your help! If things go well perhaps in 2-3 weeks we'll be actually ready to upgrade. I'll make sure to give plenty of warning.


ESRI ArcGIS API for Microsoft Silverlight + MassGIS GeoServer WMS
One or more MassGIS GeoServer WMS layers can be included with an ESRI Silverlight template client. This Silverlight client by MassGIS' Gabriela Laird can mix and match services from ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Server, or other WMS offerings. Simply edit the Page.xaml file to point to the MassGIS GeoServer WMS ( and one or more layers.


MassGIS WFS used in an example by Christian Spanring of Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) on how to reproject vectors in OpenLayers using Proj4js. Note: Using WFS 1.1.0 you can get vector data from MassGIS GeoServer is almost 4,000 different projections. WFS 1.0.0 will not reproject however, 1.1.0 needs to be used.


Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)'s Christian Spanring has created an OpenLayers application for the Mystic River Watershed Association that also showcases some of the great UI options of GeoExt, a JavaScript toolkit for rich mapping applications. Click the "Data Tables" to see tabular data that can be sorted and filtered. It connects to MassGIS Web Mapping Services for some of its layers.


Online mapping statistics for 2009 calculated.


Plans for the new year: We are wrapping up the effort to speed up drawing of SDE raster data in GeoServer. We should see 4-5 times faster raster drawing. In order to take advantage of the new code we'll need to upgrade (to GeoServer version 2.x). Since the configuration of the data is different in 2.x vs. 1.7.x we're working to make sure everything is preserved so that the upgrade will go smoothly. We'll give everyone ample warning before an upgrade takes place, and give everyone a chance to test their apps on our test server as well.


The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (DFG)'s GIS program has developed for their Office of Fishing and Boating Access (OFBA) updated boat ramp maps delivered online using OpenLayers, Google maps, and the MassGIS Web Mapping Services. Kevin Robicheau worked on this project. In his words: "OFBA publishes an atlas of boat ramp locations throughout the Commonwealth. Those boat ramp maps have long been available online as PDFs. In replacing the PDFs our effort focused on creating a set of maps that are easy to update, have an easy to use user interface(UI), and print from all types of web browsers. To see the maps view this web page: OFBA Boat Ramps and click the Facility Name link to see the associated map."


The MassGIS web mapping services are listed in the new Commonwealth of Massachusetts Open Data Initiative Data Catalog wiki. See what other state data is available to mix and match with MassGIS data.


Select MassGIS / Coastal Zone Management (CZM) datalayers are being used in the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) Map and Model Viewer. In the list of layers on the right side, scroll down to the "Mass. GIS / CZM" section. NERACOOS is an organization with a mission partly to lead the development, implementation, operation, and evaluation of a sustained, regional coastal ocean observing system for the northeast United States and Canadian Maritime provinces, as part of the United States Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). MassGIS / CZM involvement in a broader regional data library shows the power of data integration with WMS.


A new script has been deployed which tests for disappearance of the squid caching process. This new script checks to see if this happens and starts squid. Squid process disappearance only causes the GeoServer to be disconnected from the cluster, but this script will help ensure that all 3 instances are up and listening.


I have successfully added a user-defined projection to GeoServer. We are currently serving almost 4,000 projections, but if there is another that you need just let me know. [is a useful reference.


A new script has been deployed which tests for "bad GeoServer restarts". An existing script restarts GeoServer (actually) if necessary, but sometimes during a restart GeoServer would have a problem reaching the datastore (SDE). This new script checks to see if this happens and restarts yet again. We're going to see if we can get the root problem resolved, but for now the new script should mean more datalayer availability.


The Free and Open Source Software for GeoSpatial (FOSS4G2009) conference in Sydney, Australia October 20-23 had a presentation that mentioned the MassGIS Web Mapping Services (slide 30). It's called "GeoServer in Production" by Andrea Aaime


The Nov 16th New England Chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association NEURISA conference had two presentations that mentioned the MassGIS Web Mapping Services:


The 2008 15cm orthos (GISDATA.IMG_COQ2008_15CM) have been successfully reloaded and draw normally in WMS again. The speckled areas have not reappeared during this loading.


Developer Notes:

NOTE: a crossdomain.xml is available:


  • 2008 15cm orthos are being reloaded because of a problem with speckles appearing in many areas. We hope to have them available again soon.
  • GISDATA.GEONAMES_LINE_HYPSO is a new layer. In addition, curved labels are now available (as default) for:



Gave Powerpoint presentation at Northeast Arc Info Users Conference (NEARC) in Nashua, NH about the MassGIS Web Mapping Services.


People who have Windows Vista or Windows 7 can use a new desktop gadget called the GOS (GeoSpatial One Stop) Dashboard to browse for geographic data and launch GIS applications. This product was developed by The Carbon Project (with partners the US Army Corp of Engineers and the NSDI community) under a The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Cooperative Agreements Program (CAP) grant and uses Since MassGIS WMS and WFS are connected to the GeoData.Gov site, all the 850 datalayer available through the MassGIS Web Mapping Services are available through the new GOS Dashboard. The product connects to GeoData.Gov via a GeoRSS feed. More info about the tool such as slideshow, demo movie, forum and download link are available here:;name=Downloads&amp;file=index&amp;req=viewdownload&amp;cid=6


One of the main new functionalities of the new GeoServer is to display raster images from SDE. Raster data includes aerial photos, topos, impervious surface, bathymetry, wind maps, etc. Unfortunately some of the new raster layers are not drawing consistently - sometimes blank images will be generated. We expect to have a fix in about a week. Meanwhile, check out some of the other new functionality available:

Make maps with curved labels

Excel download

CSV download

Generate Imagemap


Ability to use Swivel more easily for charts

PDF printing

A list of the raster layers

A new, GeoServer backed OLIVER is also available. OLIVER is a map viewing and downloading application. New features include:

1. Switch to more up-to-date street data for geocoding / address matching

2. Improved algorithm for geocoding / address matching

3. Ability to clip image data (e.g. orthos) as well as vector data (points/lines/polygons)

4. Ability to switch between various foldersets of data

5. Removed confusing login screen

6. Now backed by GeoServer instead of ArcIMS

7. Faster data downloads


We are now running GeoServer 1.7.6. Let me know if there are any problems. More info soon on new functionality.


Upgrade is still on for this morning at 9:30 AM. There <shouldn't> be any downtime. More info soon.


This is a message to give everyone warning that we're hoping to upgrade our GeoServer the morning of August 18th. like to test it against the new version please give me a call or email and I can make sure the test version is up and running for you.

In particular if you use the WFS you should note that the response format is now slightly different - in addition to an overall bounding box at the top of the response each feature will have a bounding box.
Your application's parsing of the response may or may not get tripped up by the new format. I know some of you have tested already.

The good part about going through the hassle of upgrading is that we'll get 100 new raster datalayers (such as topo maps and impervious
surface) and other improvements. Once the upgrade is done I'll send out pointers to some documentation on new features.

Feel free to call or email with any questions. 617-626-4530 or


DOE's Schools Near Me application using Google maps and MassGIS web mapping services released. Written by John Kim. Update 12/23/2009: From now on contact Brian Philpot.


In support of CZM's Draft Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, 2009, about 85 layers have been added to the web mapping services. See the layers list or view the data through the MORIS application.


Gave presentation (Powerpoint or PDF) on MassGIS web mapping services at MAPC Data Day at Northeastern.


USGS Color Orthos 2008 15cm (GISDATA.IMG_COQ2008_15CM) are now available through GeoServer. The imagery is not statewide. See the metadata.


Online mapping and webservices will be down for maintenance Tuesday morning, May 26th until approximately 11:30AM. We apologize for the inconvenience.


USGS Color Orthos 2008 30cm (GISDATA.IMG_COQ2008_30CM) and an index layer (GISDATA.COQ2008INDEX_POLY) are now available through GeoServer. The imagery is not statewide. See the metadata. The 15cm are coming soon....


The 3 parcel layers are back, but they now have 3 brothers - versions without the very complex road polygons. While the road polygons are part of the standard, GeoServer was having some trouble working with them in a timely manner, so creating copies without the complex road polygons reduced vertices in the layers by 20%. Please use these 3 layers if you can: GISDATA.ASSESSPAR_POLY_PUBLIC_NOROADS, GISDATA.ASSESSPARNC_POLY_PUB_NOROADS. This should be temporary as TOPP is looking into improving the performance of SDE polygon layers that have polygons with large numbers of vertices.


2 layers were removed temporarily, to try to speed up their drawing time. They are GISDATA.ASSESSPAR_POLY_PUBLIC, GISDATA.ASSESSPARNC_POLY_PUBLIC.


MassGIS has contracted with OpenGeo, the geospatial division of The Open Planning Project (TOPP), the group that started the GeoServer project in 2001, for improvements to our GeoServer web mapping services. The first task, already started, is to complete the coding begun by Saul Farber to allow GeoServer to read all rasters types from SDE. Upon completion of this work USGS topos, impervious surface and wind speed grids, ocean radar maps and other rasters will be available through the giswebservices system. MassGIS has an improved version of the OLIVER online mapping client which will be released once all rasters are available. In addition, TOPP will help MassGIS improve the system's speed and reliability. For announcements on progress, feel free to join the public MassGIS web mapping services Google Group at [ MassGIS will strive to upgrade the system while keeping downtime to a minimum. Feel free to send other questions or comments to


MassGIS is glad that more organizations are using the web mapping services. We wish to keep them up and running well for everyone's use, so to that end I'm issuing this friendly reminder on appropriate use:

The webservices are not meant for <any> kind of batch processing. They are meant to support applications that need on-the-fly data processing. In other words, someone enters a lat/long in a web form or clicks a web map and you need to figure out which town it's in, or you need to figure out the XY of an address. You simply don't know ahead of time. If you have a table of addresses on your hard drive that you want to geocode or a table of lat/long that you wish to determine the town for please use GIS desktop software. Your job will run faster and you'll keep the traffic off the webservices. The webservices just can't handle unlimited traffic so we have to prioritize.

You don't necessarily need to buy GIS desktop software, there are several free open source applications out there (uDig], MapWindow) that can probably get the job done. If you can't figure out how to do the processing that you need to do let me know and we'll work something out.


GeoServer was updated to version 6.5beta.


Consider using PNG8 instead of PNG as an output format for much smaller images (which will download faster). See a comparison.

GetMap SLD requests can now use images out on the Internet.

KML projection problem fixed!


When we upgraded to GeoServer 1.6 on August 17th there were some lingering issues. These have now been fixed:

  • Where localhost instead of appeared, it has been corrected. This affected:
  • GetCapabilties documents WMS/WFS
  • All WMS/WFS operations should return schema-valid results
  • A bug that John Kim found
  • Values in Literal tags are now treated as the type of data that the field is defined as in the datastore. If a field is a string, the value in the Literal is treated as a string, even if seems to be a number. Previously, for example, a zip code value in a Literal was being treated a number.

Please let us know if you find problems.
Saul is working next on the "KML output being in the wrong projection" problem.
However, we are thinking of deploying new versions on a set schedule, perhaps once a month so disruptions can be predicted.


  • Our GeoServer 1.6 is currently returning localhost in responses - will be fixed soon.
  • We support WMS 1.1.1 and WFS 1.0.0 (returns GML 2.x) and WFS 1.1.0 (returns GML 3.x)
  • GeoServer at 1.6 beta - Please let us know if you have any problems.
  • At 1.6 your WFS requests need to have version="1.0.0", or else you won't get an envelope returned. If you don't specify a version, the version defaults to 1.1.0.
  • Previous WFS examples on this wiki used <ogc:PropertyName>gml:location</ogc:PropertyName>. Instead of gml:location you need to use SHAPE, which is the real spatial column name.
  • GeoServer is now set to return a maximum of 20 decimals. Many requests on lyceum against previous setup would return a shape with slightly rounded coordinates. To save time, not all responses on lyceum will be updated. Just be aware that current responses will show the real coordinate decimals stored in SDE and are needed if you want to feed that shape back to GeoServer for something like a Touches query.
  • DWithin, Beyond, and Touches now work.
  • The mantra that sending URL or XML to GeoServer and getting back XML or an image is a little simplified. There are many other output formats that GeoServer can give you!
  • CQL is an easier to read way of using filters in URL.


  • Need some icons for your web app? Just found a free open source set of web icons at
  • Please now use instead of !! That IP will be going away around early September. We apologize for delay is getting this service named.
  • *Google Maps Mashup with MassGIS data*
  • *MassGIS_Webservices Google Group created* A group of 14 folks working for state government or working on state government projects met to get to know each other and see some demos of projects using MassGIS Web Mapping Services. A MassGIS_Webservices Google Group was created to facilitate communication. The group is public, feel free to join and encourage other programmer type folks to join, hopefully we can foster some technical discussions of using the services there.


  • *Addition of Parcel Geocoding explanation*
  • *GeoServer 1.5.0 final installed*
  • *IMPORTANT: Requests should be valid.*

Validate GetMap and GetFeature requests against schemas. GetFeature requests in this wiki have been changed to be valid examples (4/24/07), they can be used as models. GetMap requests in the wiki were already valid. In particular, if posting to /wfs version and service parameters are required.


  • *MassGIS Web Services Now Open to Everyone:*

MassGIS now invites anyone to use its web mapping services! (previously the policy was to restrict their use to government projects). If you have any questions about the MassGIS web mapping services, feel free to email or In addition, if taking a class to learn more about web services fits your needs, there is an opportunity this spring. Saul will be teaching an evening class in learning about the WMS and WFS specifications in detail, and how to apply them to your web-mapping projects at UMass Boston. Contact him for further details. Class web page, which contains some good example code.

  • *MassGIS participating in the USGS National Map Viewer:*

Certain MassGIS datalayers are now being streamed to the USGS National Map Viewer from the MassGIS web mapping services. Layers can be drawn and identified. (Legends should appear soon. Downloading apparently is not supported through The National Map in our case except by clicking to the metadata page.

  • *GeoServer 1.5 running:*

MassGIS has deployed its vector data in GeoServer 1.5. Saul is working on getting GeoServer to work with SDE rasters. OLIVER will be ported to GeoServer soon.

  • *Well Drillers Data Entry Application launches:*

Department of Conservation and Recreation's Well Drillers Program's new web based data entry application developed by MassGIS uses web mapping services. The well driller enters GPS coordinates and is shown the point on a map (with 2005 orthophotos, roads, and other layers as a backdrop). If the point is not in the correct location it can be moved.
The Spring application uses MapBuilder for the map portion. The well driller can also print the map at the end of the data entry process.



The MassGIS Interactive Property Map Application was launched 184,376 times in 2016, or an average of 606 times/day.  There were 4,366,114 queries or an average of 11,962 times/day.  The accessible viewer version was launched 2,348 times (partial year info) or an average of 9 times/day.