January 2005

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(ESRI Shapefile, with ArcGIS 9.0 LYRs and ArcView 3.x AVL)


The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), Center for Environmental Health (CEH), Environmental Toxicology Program (ETP) has developed two marine beach data layers, an arc feature class representing the linear extents of each beach, and points marking beaches' boundaries and access, sampling, and other locations. Data were collected from 7/20/2003 to 10/20/2003 for public and semi-public beaches in Massachusetts' oceanfront communities as part of the BEACH Act, as administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The beach points (based on GPS) are accurate to within 10 meters.

The layers are stored in ArcSDE as MARINEBEACHES_ARC and MARINEBEACHES_PT.


All data were produced by MDPH/CEH/ETP staff, in conjunction with the MDPH/Division of Community Sanitation. Point data were collected in the field by MDPH beach inspectors using global positioning system (GPS) units. To aid in locating the points, the inspectors used as reference MassGIS black and white and 2001 color ortho images, street maps, and sandy coastline maps produced by Applied Geographics, Inc. These coastline maps had previously been mailed to local boards of health and state agencies for mark-up of appropriate beach boundary and sampling locations.

Boundary points were then used to manually delineate beach extent lines in ESRI's ArcMap software.


The layer MARINEBEACHES_PT contains the following attributes:
BEACHNAME Name of beach
TOWNNAME Name of town in which the beach is located
BEACHTYPE Type of beach: Public or Semi-Public (privately owned but open to the public)
EPA_ID ID of beach assigned by US EPA
COUNTYNAME Name of county in which the beach is located
LATITUDE Latitude of point
LONGITUDE Longitude of point
POINTTYPE Type of point: Boundary, Sampling Point, Access Point, Posting Point, Pollution Source, or various combinations of these
Numeric code that combines several POINTTYPE values to facilitate symbolization, with priority assigned according to the numbers (with 1 having top priority) when more than one type was included in the POINTTYPE field:
1 - Boundary
2 - Sampling
3 - Posting
4 - Access
5 - Pollution
6 - Boat Ramp
7 - Other
The layer MARINEBEACHES_ARC contains the following attributes:
EPA_ID  ID of beach assigned by US EPA
TYPE Type of beach: Public or Semi-Public
LENINMILES Length of beach lines in miles
BEACHNAME Name of beach
TOWNNAME Name of town in which the beach is located


These data are evaluated for accuracy on an on-going basis as MDPH beaches staff visit marine bathing beaches in the course of their overall duties. Updates are coordinated with MassGIS by MDPH.  For questions or concerns regarding the data please contact:
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Center for Environmental Health, Environmental Toxicology Program
250 Washington St., 7th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Phone (617) 624-5757, Fax (617) 624-5777

Last Updated 5/30/2013