The Official Website of the Office of Geographic Information (MassGIS)

Municipal GIS Resources

Learn About GIS
Starting your Muncipal GIS
Assessors and GIS
GIS and Parcel Mapping Status
GIS and the Public Records Law
Standards and Other Resources
Special Offers

In 1999, the state legislature extended MassGIS’ responsibilities to include coordinating geographic information system (GIS) development efforts at all levels of government in the Commonwealth. As part of meeting that mandate, we have created this portion of our web site.
The capabilities of a GIS can provide municipal governments with significant quantitative and qualitative benefits. In fact, the technology can be the basis for revolutionizing how government processes work. Some of those benefits and changes can be achieved fairly early in the GIS development process; others will take much longer to realize. Not all GIS capabilities are suitable for all towns/cities. A GIS cannot be developed in a matter of months and its full benefits can take years. The time requirement is only partly what is required to build a database and procure a system; training people to use the system and, perhaps most importantly, changing their work processes can be as challenging as the system development.

In implementing a GIS you are putting many of your community's map and tabular records into a computer. Keep in mind, that if you were to start from scratch to create your current forms of keeping those same records, it would be an intimidating task also, particularly if the expectation was that you would finish in a few years! The cost of developing a GIS and its database can be high (see Funding Sources). To reduce those costs, communities may want to consider joint projects for some of that development. For example, joint aerial photography projects, shared staff support, or even shared systems are some ways of keeping costs down.

The resources below are updated as we develop or receive new information. If you have suggestions for additional content, updates to existing content, or if you notice errors, please contact Neil MacGaffey, Assistant Director of MassGIS, by email ( or phone at (617) 626-1057.

Last Updated 12/21/2007
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