We’ve added this tutorial page to help our members and the residents of our historic districts understand the GIS and use the website to meet their needs.
Cartographics Associated Inc. (CAI) in cooperation with Regional Resources Group (RRG),developed this website for the town of Harvard. RRG is the professional assessor contractor for the Board of Assessors. Director of Finance Lorraine Leonard manages the RRG contract to support the Board of Assessors.
Harvard’s GIS is part of a larger system for the Commonwealth called MassGIS. In turn, MassGIS is part of larger systems for the United States like the National Historical GIS (NHGIS), the National Park Service GIS, the USGS GIS and others.
For the Historical Commission, we will be using the HarvardGIS for at least two purposes,
(1) to generate an unofficial List of Abutters (See Note 1), and
(2) in a future version, to create the GIS maps for the historic districts and (possibly), a map of all historic assets in Harvard.
This tutorial will show how to use the HarvardGIS website and explain some of the functions of the website including the task of generating an unofficial List of Abutters for any particular lot. The task of viewing the historic district maps is not available at this time. The Historical Commission hopes to add its Historic Distrct maps to HarvardGIS in the future.
Please submit your questions or comments in the “LEAVE A REPLY” box at the end of this article.
The following paragraphs present the instructions to:
- VISIT HarvardGIS
- USE THE MAP DISPLAY
- FIND A PROPERTY BY OWNER, BY ADDRESS OR BY PARCEL ID
- GENERATE AN UNOFFICIAL LIST OF ABUTTERS
- REVIEW THE ASSESSORS PROPERTY FIELD DATA FOR A PROPERTY
(NOTE: The HarvardGIS website requires Microsoft Silverlight® cloud software. Please go to the Microsoft Silverlight website to download and install the free software if you do not already have it installed on your computer.)Action. Left click on the following link www.axisgis.com/HarvardMA/
The Front Page of HarvardGIS opens to show an overview map of Harvard.
Action. While you are here, create a bookmark for this page for your convenience.
USING THE MAP DISPLAY
In the upper left corner of the MAP DISPLAY, you may choose to display your GIS map, or bring up the BING map, or bring up Help. Normally, leave the map set to ‘MAP’ for the GIS mode.
In the upper right corner (shown below), you may choose to display your map (1) in relief, (2) in the USGS format, or (3) the aerial. Generally, the ‘RELIEF’ format is the most useful. But try the other formats to see what those formats provide.
Going further to the right are the automatic ‘Zoom In’ and ‘Zoom Out’ controls. When you first enter the system, your cursor is set to ‘Zoom In’ (+) so that every time you left click, your map zooms in. If you want to switch to zooming out (-), left click on ‘Zoom Out’.
A more convenient mode is the ‘PAN’ mode which you can select by left clicking on the HAND icon. In this mode, you can move the map around by left clicking and holding anywhere on the map and while holding, moving your cursor around to move the map. You can zoom in/out by using your scroll wheel on your mouse.
Further right in the map controls are the LEFT ARROW (return to last map view), RIGHT ARROW (advance to next map view). We will skip over the next three icons (Globe (Full extent, Identify, Clear selected).Action. Click on the ‘Printer’ icon to print the map displayed.
Action. Click on the ‘Tools’ icon to select the ‘Graphic Tools’ to change color on text, or to select ‘Measuring Tools’ to set up to measure distance or area.
FIND A PROPERTY BY OWNER, BY ADDRESS OR BY PARCEL ID
By Owner. (Procedure is the same for searching by address or by parcel ID.)Action. Enter the last name of the owner in the “Find – Search for” field and left click on the “Find Owner” button.
The ‘Find’ box will expand to list properties owned by the given name. If there are more than one, click on the desired name.
The property for the selected name is displayed in the Map Display.
GENERATE AN ABUTTERS’ LIST (See Note 1)
Select a property using the “FINDING A PROPERTY…” procedure above.Action. Double click on the desired record to select and zoom the record.
The “Map Details” opens to show a photo of the property and the ‘Abutters’ Tools’ box.
The abutting properties are shown on the map in red.
REVIEW YOUR PROPERTY FIELD DATA
Select a property using the “FINDING A PROPERTY…” procedure above.Action. Double click on the desired record to select and zoom the record. At the very bottom of the ‘Map Details’ box, in the ‘Data’ field, make sure that the ‘Property Documents’ is selected. If not, left click on the down arrow and select the ‘Property Documents’ option. In the field below, the ‘Property Card’ will be displayed in a rectangle. Action. Left click on ‘Property Card’. A small window opens to display the ‘Property Card’ for the property. Maximize the window to view the entire Property Card.
NOTE 1: Please note that an official Abutters’ List may only be generated by the Board of Assessors.
Please submit your questions or comments in the COMMENT box below.
References on Geographic Information Systems (GIS):Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI): What is GIS? National Geographic: What is GIS?