NEURISA Training - Free GIS Mapping Resource Options in Massachusetts

NEURISA and its partners held a successful training session on April 13th, 2013 at Broad Brook Wildlife Sanctuary and Conference Center, Worcester, MA.  The intent of this training was to provide much needed outreach on the availability of free mapping resources in Massachusetts.  The training was intended to provide a basic level of map training to those with no GIS experience (but some computer experience).

Watch the YouTube video if you didn't get a chance to attend the training.

We would like to thank the instructors, training event partners, and NEURISA Corporate Sponsors who made it all possible.

NEURISA Corporate Sponsors: AppGeo - Cartegraph - CDM Smith - DGT Survey Group - Sewall - VHB - CAI

Training Event Partners


Instructor Bio’s
Shane Bradt, Geospatial Extension Specialist with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension has been teaching geospatial workshops UNH Cooperative Extension since 2001, and started his Extension Specialist position in 2006. He is principally responsible for outreach involving geospatial technologies, the three main categories of which are geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning system (GPS) and remote sensing. As one of 12 Geospatial Extension Specialists in the country, Shane develops educational workshops and works to advance geospatial tools to help organizations make good decisions regarding community planning and natural resource conservation.

Aleda Freeman, Web Mapping Services Manager, has been with MassGIS for 16 years. In that time she has had been instrumental in or lead development of both desktop and web-based tools designed to make the MassGIS database more accessible. Before joining MassGIS, Ms. Freeman worked as a programmer and analyst for Washington or Boston based research institutes. Ms. Freeman has a degree in economics from Wellesley College.

Summary of Training
In Massachusetts there is a great need for interdisciplinary access to free GIS/mapping resource options as well as education on how to use these mapping resources on a basic level.  Everyone from Municipal Officials, Volunteers, Board/Committee Members (including Conservation Commissions, Boards of Health, Planning Boards, Open Space Committees, and Land Trust Members), Landowners, Foresters, Natural Resource Managers, etc. stand to gain from knowledge of and access to free mapping applications.  The purpose of this training is to address a statewide need for free basic map education.  Many smaller cities and towns, volunteers, landowners, etc. do not have access to expensive GIS software applications.

There are many resources available to the public ranging from Free Open Source Map Software options to the Mass GIS Online Data Viewer (OLIVER) and the new Munimapper (a simplified version of OLIVER created for use by municipal officials).  Having a basic understanding of the free mapping resources available within Massachusetts will make it easier for public servants to do their due diligence, for landowners to understand the resources on their properties, and surrounding properties, and make land planning easier for a variety of professionals who do land management work.

Having access to publicly available information in a free forum, and gaining the skills to utilize these technologies/resources will make a variety of tasks easier including: site evaluation and assessment, natural resource protection, land use planning, land protection, and evaluation of physical, political, historical, human health and environmental factors on the landscape.  It is critically important that Municipal Officials, Volunteers, Board/Committee Members, the public and others have knowledge and training in how to use state funded free resources, as well as other available free resources that will help them more effectively and efficiently do their job.

The New England Chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (NEURISA) is the professional association of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) practitioners in New England. NEURISA is a nonprofit 501(c)6 organization whose mission is to advance the effective and appropriate use of GIS and related information technologies to solve challenges throughout the region.
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