CZM makes a wide range of coastal and ocean data available to the public through the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS). MORIS is CZM's official data portal and allows users to create customized maps with a variety of data layers related to the Massachusetts coastal zone and nearshore ocean, including tide gauge stations, coastal access points, eelgrass beds, Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan data, and many others. In addition, MORIS users can share and print maps, download Geographic Information System (GIS) data, explore topic-specific online viewers and story maps, and find links to other mapping and coastal data resources.
CZM has also produced final map products and published and/or funded publications focusing on mapping and data management. These products are are listed alphabetically by title under the following categories: coastal zone maps; geology, coastal erosion, and flooding; habitat; ocean planning; port and harbor planning; public access to the coast; seafloor mapping and seafloor habitat mapping; water quality (No Discharge Zone and boat pumpout facilities), and other. (Links to any special MORIS features are also provided in each topic area.) See CZM Publications for the full list of materials published by CZM.
Coastal Zone Maps
- Massachusetts Coastal Zone (PDF, 3 MB) - This 2014 map shows the five 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 (PDF, 111 KB), GIS shapefile (ZIP, 828 KB), and Google Earth file (KMZ, 293 KB) are available.
- Story Map Tours of the Massachusetts Coast - As part of the routine review of the Massachusetts coastal program by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management in April 2021, CZM created this story map collection. It includes an overview of the entire 1,500-mile coastline, along with a story map of CZM regions with some highlights of coastal habitats, state parks and sanctuaries, ports and harbors, recreational beaches and waterfront access, and more. See:
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.
- Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Viewer - This tool provides interactive maps of potential coastal flooding of public facilities and infrastructure based on: sea level rise scenarios (NOAA and the 2022 Massachusetts Coast Flood Risk Model), Federal Emergency Management Agency coastal flood zones, and hurricane surge models. Examples of mapped facilities include: electrical generation facilities, fire stations, hospitals, police stations, town/city halls, and wastewater treatment plants. All of the spatial data provided in the viewer are hosted in MORIS, where they can be viewed, queried, and downloaded.
- 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. All of the spatial data are hosted in MORIS, where they can be viewed, queried, and downloaded.
- 100 Years of Estuarine Marsh Trends in Massachusetts (1893 to 1995): Boston Harbor, Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and the Elizabeth Islands (PDF, 4 MB) - 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 (PDF, 30 KB), tidal restrictions (PDF, 38 KB), salt marsh restoration sites (PDF, 36 KB), water quality sampling locations (PDF, 30 KB), and no wake zones, mooring areas, and boat pumpout facilities (PDF, 69 KB). CZM also created a series of three resource maps for the Great Marsh. The first map identifies and illustrates important natural resources (PDF, 1 MB), 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 natural resource overlap (PDF, 694 KB). In map three, the resource overlay is combined with an open space data layer (PDF, 849 KB) to show how protected and unprotected open space correlate with resource overlap areas.
- Survey of Potential Marsh Dieback Sites in Coastal Massachusetts (PDF, 1 MB) - 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 (PDF, 1 MB) - 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 - CZM develops and updates boundary maps and descriptions of the DPAs in Massachusetts. The maps 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 mapping tool was developed by CZM for use on mobile phones and tablets, as well as desktop computers. It includes more than 1,800 sites along the Massachusetts coast that are owned by government agencies and nonprofits and open to the public—from long, sandy beaches and rocky shores to small rights-of-way and public landings.
- 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.
Seafloor Mapping and Seafloor Habitat Mapping
- See CZM's Seafloor Mapping Publications.
Water Quality - No Discharge Zone and Boat Pumpout Facilities
- Massachusetts No Discharge Zone (PDF, 1 MB) - This 2014 map shows the Massachusetts coastal waters that are officially designated as a No Discharge Zone (NDZ), where boat sewage discharge is banned.
- 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 Pumpout Locations - This interactive map, created with Google Maps, provides the location of boat sewage pumpout facilities for recreational vessels in coastal Massachusetts.
- CZM Grant Viewer - This interactive map provides information on these grants awarded by CZM, the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program (BBNEP), and the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Partnership (MassBays): CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grants and Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) Grants, BBNEP grants and funding, and the MassBays Healthy Estuaries Grants. Pop-up boxes provide details on each grant award and information can be sorted by grant program, category (including Construction - Living Shoreline or Stormwater Infrastructure, Design & Permitting, Habitat Restoration, and Vulnerability Assessment), and year that mapped data are available.
- North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88) - This web page briefly explains this topic and provides a figure showing a comparison of common datums. A vertical datum uses a fixed reference point as a baseline (i.e., a zero elevation point) to consistently measure and compare elevations among various maps and surveys, and NAVD 88 is the official vertical datum of the United States.
- 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.