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Welcome To The Concord GIS Website!                Connect Now!

Welcome to the Concord WebGIS. The Town of Concord is committed to expanding the information made available through this website and using our WebGIS to provide public access to this information as economically as possible.

What is a GIS?

A Geographic Information System or "GIS" is "a collection of computer hardware, software, and geographic data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information" (source: ESRI).

A brief history of Concord's GIS

The need for a GIS program in Concord was first documented in 1987 when the Town adopted a long range plan that included a recommendation to build a Town-wide GIS program. After much research and planning, the process began in earnest in 1995 when the Town contracted for an aerial photography project that included converting the existing assessor's tax maps from mylar to a digital parcel layer. During the photography project numerous layers of information were developed, called planimetric mapping layers, which included such layers as fire hydrants, manholes, catch basins, stone walls, fences, wet areas, light poles, building footprints, swimming pools, and paved areas. Eventually this information was all converted to GIS format.

While the photography project was underway, the Town also contracted with a firm to provide GIS consulting services. A GIS Committee, appointed by the Town Manager and comprised of Town staff, provided project oversight and direction to the GIS Consultant. One of the first tasks undertaken by the GIS consultant was a GIS Needs Analysis and Assessment. Members of Town departments were interviewed, with questions asked to gauge the level of GIS knowledge and to help determine which GIS tools would best benefit the Town. “How can GIS help Town staff do what they do better and faster” became the guiding principal and the results of the analysis and assessment drove the development of the GIS program for the next five to seven years. Another recommendation was the need for a GIS Coordinator to help manage the day-to-day program development.

During this time of GIS program development, tools were created for both public and staff use. The most popular of these were the Public Access Kiosk, which were set up in two locations – the Town House and the Department of Planning & Land Management Office, and the Abutters program for staff use. The Kiosk program was an easy-to-use wizard-based program that guided a person through the process of searching for properties and making a map. It allowed people to print a map at normal map scales required for submitting information to various Town boards. The Abutters program allowed Town staff to quickly and easily create a list of abutters to a specific address, which were then used to provide notification to residents of construction and development projects and public meetings.

The popularity of the Public Kiosks led to the development of Concord's WebGIS. The WebGIS was, and is, an Internet-based GIS mapping and property query tool open to public use. The initial site came on-line in 2000 and quickly gained popularity, with users soon demanding more functionality. The Town entered a nation-wide contest that year and won third place in the Geography Network Challenge sponsored by ESRI and National Geographic, against such competition as Minnesota MetroGIS, the City of Tuscon, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the Chicago Police Department. (For more information on this contest, click here.

In late 2001, a specialized WebGIS was developed for use by Water and Sewer Division personnel, which then led to the idea to link paper documents to GIS data on the web. Starting with existing paper copies of recorded property plans from the Registry of Deeds, the Engineering Division scanned these documents, linked them to parcels, and then made them available for public access on the WebGIS. At the same time, Water and Sewer service tie cards were scanned and made available to Town staff through the separate Water and Sewer WebGIS.

Since 2001, the program has continued to evolve. The GIS Coordinator position was created in 2000, slowly taking on programming responsibility from the GIS Committee, which was formally dissolved in 2006. The WebGIS sites were converted to an open-source programming format when the Town changed GIS consultants. An update of the GIS Needs Analysis was done by the new GIS Consultant, and most of the identified projects resulting from that Analysis have now been completed (2009). There are now at least 10 different WebGIS sites either in use or being planned for development. Some of these are for public access, while others are specialized for staff use. The public kiosks have been updated and modernized as well, however their use has reduced dramatically while the use of the WebGIS sites has increased.

In 2007 a new aerial photography project was conducted. Several planimetric layers were updated at that time, and new full-color high resolution digital aerial photographs were developed. New technology allows the Town to link Internet-based database information to WebGIS maps on-the-fly, as the databases are updated. This is a very exciting prospect, and much of the Town's new GIS-related development utilizes this technology. The Town of Concord is excited to be at the forefront of municipal GIS in New England, and continues to find inspiration from those who seek geographic information in relation to the work that is being done by staff and by the residents of Concord.


Disclaimer:  WebGIS is a public resource of general information. The Town of Concord makes no warranty, representation or guaranty as to the content, sequence, accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any of the database information provided herein. The reader should not rely on the data provided herein for any reason. Map information is believed to be accurate but accuracy is not guaranteed and is not intended to represent authoritative location, and the information contained in WebGIS is NOT to be construed or used as a "legal description". Any errors or omissions should be reported to the Town of Concord GIS Program Coordinator (mbarrett@concordma.gov). In no event will the Town of Concord be liable for any damages, including loss of data, lost profits, business interruption, loss of business information or other pecuniary loss that might arise from the use of this mapping service or the information it contains. If you understand and agree to these terms, Connect to WebGIS.