CRWA AND GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (GIS)
Watershed Maps | Project Maps |
Interactive Online Mapping | OLIVER
What is GIS?
GIS, which stands for Geographical Information Systems, is a collection of computer hardware,
software, and geographic data for managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of
Image credit: http://www.gis.com
GIS is a powerful planning and analysis tool that relates information stored in a database to the
geographic location it describes. CRWA uses GIS in many of its projects in a variety of ways from
water quality modeling to generating basic water quality maps. Brief descriptions and examples of
maps are provided below.
Charles River Watershed Maps
GIS can be used to generate cartographic maps representing watershed features, their boundaries and
spatial relationships. CRWA frequently uses data provided by MassGIS and other state and local entities, but also develops our own
project-specific data in-house. Below are some watershed maps created by CRWA (click on the map to
view a larger version):
hydrography and dam locations
Watershed land use
Charles River Watershed Association Projects - Specific Maps
- Monthly Volunteer Monitoring
With the help of a dedicated team of volunteers, CRWA conducts monthly water quality monitoring at 35
sites throughout the watershed. Results are displayed in a
color coded map
created in a GIS, and also using
GoogleEarth™ a free online GIS-based program.
- Environmentally Sensitive Urban Development
CRWA is using our scientific, advocacy and coalition building experience to create a replicable
process for environmentally sensitive urban development. The "Blue Cities Initiative"
focuses on three distinct urban redevelopment areas: the Harvard Allston campus; the New Charles
River Basin; and the Longwood Medical and Academic Area.
- Total Maximum Daily Loads
During the summer of 2005, CRWA performed an aquatic plant survey at nine ponds and three
reaches of the upper Charles River. The purpose of the survey was to determine the biomass of
aquatic plants in each pond to be used in calibrating the Charles River TMDL model and to
quantify the extent and density of aquatic plant coverage that may be used to assess aesthetic
and designated use impacts. Click here to find out more about the Aquatic
- REAL Planning
Over a period of six years, CRWA has developed a land analysis methodology, we call Resource,
Environmental, and Land (REAL) Planning,
which has been referred to in its
locally as "environmental zoning." REAL Planning identifies
those land areas where development of any kind should simply be
Maps for this project show priority conservation lands, current and
future land use.
- Water Budgets - coming soon!
CRWA is under contract to perform a statewide water budget analysis
for every town in Massachusetts, allowing an accurate approach to
analyze, quantify and account for water that enters and leaves a
watershed, and determine the real sources of water problems.
Interactive Online Mapping
Office of Environmental Affairs, and Massachusetts
Environmental Protection, among others offer interactive online mapping tools where you can
search by address or zoom in and out to your site of interest. Click on
one of the hot links below to explore maps in the Charles River
Want to explore more maps? Check out MassGIS's online mapping home page.
For more advanced mapping and data viewing, try MassGIS’s
OnLIne data ViewER,
OLIVER. This will allow you to generate your own, personalized maps by
adding and organizing MassGIS data layers and give you access to their
attributes stored in the MassGIS database. Data served here is
downloadable in ESRI Shapefile and Raster formats. In the near
future, CRWA will
develop its own, project-specific data available for viewing and
downloading. For a tutorial in how to use
click here and scroll down to "Documentation".
If you have Java, click
here to launch OLIVER and explore the Charles River Watershed!
Don’t have Java?
Cick here to get it, then come back and
click the above link
CRWA's mapping capabilities are made possible through the generous support of ESRI, Inc. the makers of ArcMap software. CRWA regularly uses ArcMap for mapping, managing data, and conducting spatial analyses.
ESRI and the ESRI Logo are licensed trademarks of Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc.