Inventory of Land Use Resources for Massachusetts

Affordable Housing and Social Justice

Energy

Climate and Conservation

Forest and Agriculture

Development and Transportation

Other

About the Inventory

This page provides a collection of resources and applications that supply data and other information regarding land use in Massachusetts. Some resources provide national datasets that can be focused and applied to the Commonwealth. Resources in this inventory are categorized by their respective sectors as shown above.

Affordable Housing

US Department of Housing and Urban Development Geospatial Data Storefront

Federally-provided GIS data covering many topics including location affordability, rental assistance programs, community development, and more. This resource provides national-level data.

Massachusetts Housing Partnership Center for Housing Data

The Massachusetts Housing Partnership provides statistics and reports of housing-related data for MA, such as eviction tracking, zoning amendments, and more.

Massachusetts Housing Partnership DataTown

This resource compiles town-level data such as demographics, housing stock, housing age, employment, commuting, and more.

Massachusetts Housing Data Portal

This resource built by MAPC provides city and town data compiled from U.S. Census, Building Permits, Zillow, MAPC Projections, and more. 

Social Justice

Headwaters Economics Neighborhoods at Risk

This online tool identifies census tracts where the population is at risk of climate-related vulnerabilities based on socioeconomic indices, climate exposure indices, and climate projection variables. This tool can provide projections in communities across the United States.

Environmental Protection Agency EJScreen

This resource visualizes a number of different environmental justice indicators such as lead paint, food desert, rates of asthma, and more in cities across the United States.

Neighbors in Name Only

This resource visualizes disparities between neighboring communities in Massachusetts through a variety of demographics.

Department of Public Health Environmental Justice Tool

This tool visualizes designated environmental justice communities in Massachusetts based on individual health vulnerability.

MassGIS Environmental Justice Populations

This resource provides a visualization of Massachusetts’ designated environmental justice communities circa 2020. 

Energy

Energy Information Administration Massachusetts Profile Overview

This resource provides non-spatial data on energy production, generation, consumption, prices, and more for Massachusetts.

Cape Cod Commission Large-Scale Screening Tool

This tool shows areas in Cape Cod based on how suitable they are for solar development, prioritizing solar in the built environment.

RE-Powering America’s Lands Initiative Mapper

This tool provided by the Environmental Protection Agency identifies sites for renewable energy development on brownfields, landfills, superfund sites, and. Sites pre-screened for National Renewable Energy Land (NREL) criteria.

RE-Powering America’s Electronic Decision Tree Tool

This resource is a downloadable program that walks users through decision-making about energy development on brownfield sites on a national level. It includes additional information at each step for non-experts to make informed decisions.

US Department of Energy Zone Mapping Tool 

This tool identifies potential energy resource and corridor zones on a national level based on a variety of model options. Selected areas can also be visualized against a comprehensive map library.

MassGIS Wind Speed Map for New England

This resource visualizes wind speeds at different elevations for wind farm site selection.

MassGIS Solar-Site Development Map

This resource visualizes information most relevant to solar site developer in Massachusetts such as slope, wetlands, parcel/property data, and more.

Climate

NOAA State Climate Summaries

This resource observes and models projected trends for climate on a state-by-state basis.

UMass Amherst Climate System Research Center State Climate Reports

This resource observes and models projected trends for climate on a state-by-state basis.

Nature Conservancy Resilient Land Mapping Tool

This tool ranks areas in terms of climate resilience for non-human species on a national level. Land is compared with other similar types of land such as bedrock, soils, and climate zones.

NOAA United States Climate Resilience Toolkit

This resource provides a collection of different climate/resilience related tools, including sea level rise, flood forecasts, health vulnerability, and more for areas in the  United States.

Conservation

USDA Climate Change Bird Atlas

This resource models habitats for various bird species in the United States based on different climate projections.

Mapping and Prioritizing Parcels for Resilience (MAPPR)

This tool allows you to input different variables and ranks parcels by conservation priority. It is designed to help conservation organizations prioritize land acquisition, easements, and more.

MassGIS BioMap

This tool identifies priority areas for conservation in Massachusetts based on core habitat and critical natural landscapes. 

Forest

USDA Climate Change Tree Atlas

This resource models habitats for different tree species across the United States based on different climate projections.

USDA Northern Forest Futures Project

This resource provides a variety of statistics on forestlands in Northeast and Midwest United States.

Agriculture

New England Farm Finder

This tool helps network those who would like to rent or purchase farmland with farmers looking to sell, downsize, retire, and more.

American Farmland Trust Farms Under Threat

This resource visualizes the conversion of farmland into urban and highly developed and low-density residential uses between 2001 and 2016. It also includes non-spatial data for farms in the United States.

Climate Smart Farming Tools

This resource provides an array of tools for farmers in Northeast United States including a growing degree day calculator, a water deficit calculator, and calculators for particular crop hardiness.

USDA National Resources Inventory

This resource visualizes farmland and farmland conversion between 1982 and 2017.

MassGrown Map

This resource provided by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources visualizes the locations of farmer’s markets, farmstands, maple sugar houses, dairy farms, and more within the state.

Development

Mass Audubon Losing Ground

This resource provides non-spatial data and tracks changes in land-use in Massachusetts. It primarily tracks the conversion to developed land from forests and farms. Data also includes some basic map visualizations for context.

Metropolitan Area Planning Council Regional Growth Projections

This resource provides projections of population change, household growth, and housing demand for Metro Boston and its municipalities.

Metropolitan Area Planning Council MassBuilds

This resource visualizes a collaborative inventory of past, present, and future real estate development projects.

Transportation

Metropolitan Area Planning Council Local Access Score

This tool offers a quantitative assessment of current and potential roadway utilities for potential walkers and bikers. It is designed to help municipalities prioritize streets for “complete street” policies.

Park-and-Ride Data Dashboard

This resource provided by the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization visualizes data about parking, pedestrian, and bike facilities near public transportation hubs.

Performance Dashboard Transportation in Boston

This resource provided by the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization visualizes data on transportation for greater Boston including crashes, bridge and pavement conditions, bicycles and pedestrian facilities, congestion, and demographics.

Transit-Oriented Development Explorer Map

This resource provided by the Massachusetts Housing Partnership visualizes developing patterns around transit hubs in the greater Boston area.

Other Resources

Harvard Forest Data Archive

This resource provides GIS data and a historical overview of land use in Massachusetts from the early 1800s based on different archival sources.

Martha’s Vineyard Commission Open Data Hub

This resource provides GIS data for Duke’s County and Martha’ Vineyard, including natural environment, built environment, transportation, and planning.

Mass GIS Data Layers

This resource includes state-provided GIS data across multiple themes such as demographics, environmental monitoring, land use, and more.

Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center (LMEC) Data Portal

This resource is a database for GIS datasets prepared by the Boston Public Library for public use. Includes topics on gentrification, transportation, internet connectivity, historical geographies, and more.

Geospatial Data Gateway

This resource provides a variety of different spatial data including on rural development, soils data, and farm services.

Harvard Forest Changes to the Land Report

This resource provides New England Landscape Futures (NELF)  scenarios in Massachusetts.

New England Landscape Futures Explorer

This resource provided by Harvard Forest maps scenarios such as “Connected communities,” “Yankee cosmopolitan,” and “Growing global” onto land use in New England from 2010 – 2060.

Data Cape Cod

This resource is a database of different types of data for Barnstable County and Cape Cod, including sea level rise, vulnerable populations, environmental justice communities, water quality indicators, and more.

Dukes County Interactive Map Gallery

This resource includes various pre-compiled maps for data in Dukes County, including habitat, soils, and flood hazards.

MassGIS Special Topics Web Maps

This resource includes state-provided maps of key GIS data, including MassDEP priority areas, wetlands and wetland change, environmental justice communities, orthophotography, and more.

MassMapper

This resource provided by MassGIS is a visualization tool using a subset of state-provided GIS layers.

Merrimack Valley Planning Commission Interactive Maps

This resource visualizes a number of different data sets, including cultural assets and environmental hazards.

Metropolitan Area Planning Council Data Common

This resource visualizes a number of different data types focused on the Greater Boston area. Also includes GIS data for download and additional tools.

Montachusett Regional Planning Commission MRMapper

This resource visualizes maps for a number of different datasets for the Montachusett region, including soils, flood zones, endangered species, and land use data.

Multi-Resolution Land Characteristic Consortium National Land Cover Database Enhanced Visualization and Analysis Tool

This resource visualizes land cover change data along a variety of metrics, divided between general, development, forest, water, and agriculture. Areas that experienced land cover change during the designated time frame are marked and non-spatial statistical data is provided.

USDA Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act Data Viewer

This resource visualizes a number of different resource values and spatial data across different themes, including land use, prime farmland, conservation, soil erosion, and conservation practices.

Headwaters Economics Rural Capacity Map

This tool scores towns and counties across the United States with a rural capacity index to identify places in need of support but lack the staffing and expertise to effectively apply for funding.

Boston Energy and Water Explorer

This resource provided by Advanced Energy Intelligence visualizes energy and water usage in key public buildings in Boston as metric of building performance.

All-Hazards Web Application

This resource provided by the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization visualizes different hazard data, such as sea level rise, flooding risk, presence of culverts, and more. It also considers social factors, including environmental justice communities.

Native Land Map

This resource visualizes indigenous lands and land claims, as well as indigenous languages and treaties worldwide.

National Stormwater Calculator

This tool provided the Environmental Protection Agency calculates stormwater for specific sites based on soil types, slope, precipitation patterns as well as different types of green infrastructure.

Information for Climate Adaptation and Resilience for Ecosystem Services

This resource created by Dr. Timothy Randhir models specific ecosystem services in urban and rural areas of Massachusetts under different climate pathways.

Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM)

This resource created by the University of Chicago Marine Biological Laboratory models carbon, nitrogen, and water dynamics of plants and soils in global terrestrial ecosystems.

LandCarbon Visualization Tool

This resource provided by the US Geologic Survey (USGS) visualizes datasets from USGS National Assessment of Biologic Carbon Sequestration, including projections. 

Clark University Human-Environment Regional Observatory (HERO)

This resource includes research and reports regarding land use in Massachusetts, specifically areas in Worcester County.

Contact:

 

Seth Tuler: stuler@wpi.edu

 

 

 

 

Stephen McCauley: mccauley@wpi.edu 

 

 

Resources in this inventory were compiled by Maddy Kroot. This page was created by Aedan Fahy.