From developing the state’s first comprehensive ocean plan to helping people get to and enjoy the coast, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) requires sound data management and effective mapping to fulfill its mission of balancing the protection of natural resources while promoting wise coastal development. The primary goals of CZM’s Mapping and Data Management Program are to:

  1. Support CZM programs and policies with data creation, analysis, and map making.
  2. Ensure that CZM data are properly developed, maintained, and archived.
  3. Share these data and maps with other Commonwealth agencies and the general public.

CZM’s major mapping and data products/initiatives include:

  • Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS) - This web-based coastal mapping tool provides detailed geographic data used for ocean planning, coastal development, public safety, tourism, transportation planning, and marine environmental protection. Users can interactively view various data layers, create and share maps, and download the data for use in a Geographic Information System (GIS). While designed for coastal management professionals, MORIS can be easily used by anyone interested in these data and maps.
  • Boundary Delineation - CZM produces maps and updates jurisdictional boundaries to define and describe important features of the coastal zone. Boundaries have been delineated for a range of resource areas, including No Discharge Areas, Designated Port Areas, and the Massachusetts Coastal Zone.
  • Shoreline Change Maps and Data - CZM's Shoreline Change Project illustrates how the shoreline of Massachusetts has shifted between the mid-1800s and 2009. Using data from historical and modern sources, more than seven shorelines depicting the local high water line and 26,000 transects along the ocean-facing shore have been generated. For each transect, data is provided on shoreline change rates, confidence intervals, and net distances of shoreline movement. CZM has incorporated these shoreline change data into MORIS.
  • Seafloor and Habitat Mapping Program - Through its Seafloor and Habitat Mapping Program, CZM collects data and develops maps showing the distribution and diversity of seafloor habitats. This information is used by resource managers and project proponents to help avoid or minimize impacts when siting projects in Massachusetts ocean waters.
  • Coastal Public Access Maps and Data - To help people get to and enjoy the coast, the CZM Mapping and Data Management Program develops a variety of maps and provides descriptions of coastal access sites.
  • Coastal Orthophotos - Orthopotographs are aerial photos that are digitally corrected for distortions and other errors. Through a project completed in June 2001, CZM, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Photogrammetry Division, and the National Geodetic Survey produced orthophotos that cover most of the coastal zone of Massachusetts.
  • Publications - This page includes links to CZM publications that focus on data and mapping.