The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) makes a wide range of coastal and ocean data available to the public through the 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.
CZM has also produced final map products and published and/or funded publications focusing on mapping and data management. These products are categorized by below and then listed alphabetically by title, with links to any special MORIS features in each topic area. (Note: Any views or opinions presented in publications prepared for CZM are solely those of the author[s] and do not necessarily represent those of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Please see our website policies.)
Coastal Zone Maps
- The Massachusetts Coastal Zone - This 2014 map shows the CZM regions and the 78 coastal communities directly served by CZM.
- Massachusetts Coastal Zone Boundary - The official boundary includes the lands and waters within an area defined by the seaward limit of the state's territorial sea, extending from the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border south to the Massachusetts-Rhode Island border, and landward to 100 feet inland of specified major roads, rail lines, other visible rights-of-way, or in the absence these, at specified coordinates specified. An official description , GIS shapefile , and Google Earth file are available.
- Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management: Protecting Natural Resources While Promoting Responsible Economic Development - This full-color, poster-sized map of the coastal zone (with brochure text on the flip side) was printed in 1995 and is available by request.
Geology, Coastal Erosion, and Flooding
- Barrier Beach Inventory and Maps - In 1982, CZM completed a comprehensive effort to identify and delineate the 681 barrier beaches in Massachusetts and to place them on topographic maps. These data, State Designated Barrier Beaches, were made available in MORIS in 2007.
- Coastal Inundation Scenarios in MORIS - NOAA's coastal inundation data have been added to MORIS to allow users to interactively use the sea level rise scenario data with other information such as aerial photographs, assessor maps, public facilities and infrastructure locations, and natural resource areas.
- Shoreline Change Maps - These online and interactive maps show the changes in the Massachusetts coastline between the mid-1800s and 1994 as a result of erosion and accretion (deposition), as well as relative sea level rise.
- 100 Years of Estuarine Marsh Trends in Massachusetts (1893 to 1995): Boston Harbor, Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and the Elizabeth Islands file size 3MB - This 2005 investigation provides a comprehensive examination of the loss and gain of estuarine marshes in these regions since the late 1800s.
- Parker River/Essex Bay GIS Data Layers and Maps - CZM collected information for a GIS database of this region (also known as the Great Marsh). Data layers developed in 2000 include a boundary of the official Area of Critical Environmental Concern , tidal restrictions , salt marsh restoration sites , water quality sampling locations , and no wake zones, mooring areas, and boat pumpout facilities . CZM also created a series of three resource maps for the Great Marsh. The first map file size 1MB identifies and illustrates important natural resources, such as salt marsh, vernal pools, river buffers, and endangered species habitat. The second map uses this information to identify and highlight areas where these resources overlap. In map three , the resource overlay is combined with an open space data layer to show how protected and unprotected open space correlate with resource overlap areas.
- Survey of Potential Marsh Dieback Sites in Coastal Massachusetts file size 1MB - This 2007 report describes work done to qualitatively assess 25 sites in coastal Massachusetts where previous anecdotal reports had indicated the occurrence of marsh dieback. Along with the results of the survey, this report includes recommendations for future efforts for continued investigations and observations.
- Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan - This comprehensive plan to manage development in state waters was released in 2009 and includes dozens of maps and extensive spatial information compiled by CZM. (In addition, all of the spatial data provided in the plan are hosted in MORIS, where they can be viewed, queried, and mapped.)
- Nearshore Ocean Management Planning Area Boundary Map file size 1MB - This map was developed by CZM in 2008 to establish a fixed boundary defining the nearshore limit of the Ocean Management Planning Area set forth in the Massachusetts Ocean Act of 2008—the legislation that required the state to develop the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan. The Nearshore Ocean Management Planning Area Boundary GIS shape file is also available.
Port and Harbor Planning
- Designated Port Area (DPA) Boundary Maps - In 2011, CZM updated the boundary maps and descriptions of the 11 DPAs in Massachusetts. (These data can also be downloaded or used to create interactive maps of the DPA boundaries in MORIS .)
Public Access to the Coast
- Coast Guide Online - This interactive, online mapping tool can be used to find (and find out about) coastal areas that are open to the public. It includes hundreds of sites along the Massachusetts coast—from sandy beaches to secluded coves, rocky shores, and boat ramps—owned by government agencies and major nonprofits. These sites have been mapped in Google Earth, an easy-to-use and powerful online mapping tool, where each public location is tagged with a name, owner, web link, and picture (if available). Users may use additional Google Earth offerings, such as user photos, trails, and places of interest, to create a customized map. As of spring 2013, all federal, state, and county coastal public access sites have been mapped; town and land conservation organization sites will be added as soon as possible.
- Massachusetts Coast Guide to Boston Harbor and the North Shore - This 2004 publication includes 22 maps and nearly 400 public access sites from Salisbury to Hull, ranging from expansive parks with concession stands to small public landings and out-of-the-way spots.
- See CZM's Seafloor Mapping Publications.
Water Quality - No Discharge Areas and Boat Pumpout Facilities
- Massachusetts Commercial Pumpouts - This interactive map, created with Google Maps, provides the location of boat sewage pumpout facilities for commercial vessels in coastal Massachusetts.
- Massachusetts No Discharge Areas - This map produced in July 2012 shows the areas in Massachusetts coastal waters officially designated as No Discharge Areas (NDAs), where boat sewage discharge is banned.
- Massachusetts Pumpout Locations - This interactive map, created with Google Maps, provides the location of boat sewage pumpout facilities for recreational vessels in coastal Massachusetts.
- Aerial Orthophotographs of Coastal Massachusetts - Orthopotographs are aerial photos that are digitally corrected for distortions and other errors. Through a project completed in June 2001, CZM, NOAA’s Photogrammetry Division, and the National Geodetic Survey produced orthophotos that cover most of the coastal zone of Massachusetts.
- CZ-Tip - There's a Map for That on Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System - This page gives information on the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (or MORIS)—a user-friendly, web-based coastal mapping tool provides that detailed geographic data on Massachusetts coastal and ocean resources—highlighting the information available for anglers, boaters, and divers; beachgoers, sightseers, and tourists; birdwatchers; homeowners, potential buyers, builders, and developers; and students.
- Massachusetts Coastal Watersheds Map - This full-color watershed map, printed in 1994, shows the major coastal watersheds within Massachusetts and explains how activities conducted in these watersheds affect coastal waters. Hard copies are available by request.
- Tips on How to Use the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System - From customizing maps to easily finding data layers, these short tips from CZM give information on maximizing MORIS.