As part of soliciting input for the strategic plan, in January 2007 MassGIS and its consultant, Applied Geographics, held six facilitated workshops around the state in Pittsfield, West Springfield, Auburn, Lawrence, Wareham, and Boston.  The purpose of these workshops was to share ideas on developing and maintaining four categories of spatial data upon which many other uses of GIS depend:

  1. Color orthoimagery (including IR) and associated elevation data,
  2. Standardized road centerline network with address ranges, and
  3. Standardized property boundaries as shown on municipal tax maps,
  4. Critical infrastructure locations (mapped via address to the parcel/building level).

The workshops also provided an opportunity to generally contribute ideas and express concerns about the future direction of GIS and spatial data development in Massachusetts.

The workshops were a key source of information from various stakeholders and were an opportunity to:

  1. Assess common interests and needs relative to the data listed above,
  2. Determine what needs are not being met,
  3. Seek consensus on strategy for further development and maintenance.


In particular workshop attendees were asked to address the following questions:
  1. How do stakeholders use the given data set, or how would they use it if it were available?
  2. What level of accuracy, completeness, and currency does the data need to have (including attributes) to support that use?
  3. How is the data layer maintained if at all?
  4. How should data creation and maintenance be managed and funded? Should costs be allocated amongst users or should   they be funded from general revenues?
  5. If data exist at the local level but not statewide, such as street and parcel data, how do we aggregate those data sets to support regional and state-wide data needs?
  6. Would organizations represented participate in constructing a “federated” data set?
  7. What role should state government play?
  8. More generally, how should governance of spatial data infrastructure in Massachusetts be handled?

Workshop Attendance

A total of 225 people attended the six workshops  The organizational affiliations for those who attended were:

MassGIS' Strategic Plan Workshop Attendees Pie Chart

Workshop Presentation

View the Workshop Presentation pdf format of stratplan-overview.pdf
file size 6MB , including the narrative, provided at the six workshops held around the state in January. Viewing this presentation works best in Internet Explorer on your computer. View the narrative (notes) by resizing the bottom frame of the graphic upward.

Workshop Findings, Questions, and Preliminary Recommendations

We heard many, many comments and observations from those who attended the workshops.  From those comments and observations, we have distilled workshop findings.  We also came away with some questions and a list of preliminary recommendations.  A document containing these findings, questions, and preliminary recommendations is available for download below.

Workshop Summary Document rtf format of workshopSummary.rtf