The figure above/at left is (owing to space considerations) a simple Green Map™ of Massachusetts. It shows some major features within the state and the Department of Environmental Protection's regions, including the end points of the water system serving a third of the Commonwealth's population. A Green Map, as the name implies, is an environmentally themed map which plots the location of a variety of culturally significant resources. Mapped features are anything from parks to ponds, recycling centers to toxic waste sites, community gardens to farmers' markets, ferries to bike paths. The purpose of such a map is to serve as a guide for sustainable living, integrating information from a variety of sources into a simple format. A picture is worth a thousand words, afterall.
Green Maps may be oriented towards tourism (Toronto), social justice (Washington D.C.), land use (Hiroshima), or whatever theme suits the author. Regardless of the focus, a carefully crafted map will likely allow readers to discern unforeseen patterns of urbanization, pollution, etc. Alas, most Bay-staters do not have access to the rich tool we call a Green Map. Despite our proximity to New York City—the birth place of the Green Map over a decade ago—and purported environmental awareness, only two maps* have been created in Massachusetts: Cambridge and Holyoke. This is especially disappointing since we are blessed with a wealth of relevant, freely available, no-cost data from the EOEA's MassGIS division.
For an example of what's possible, download the Cambridge Green Map at http://CambridgeMA.GreenMap.org or explore MassGIS data for your area with http://mass.gov/mgis/mapping.htm#OLIVER. You might also check out the online mapping tools for other free government data from the U.S. Geological Survey, Census Bureau, EPA, et al.
Not quite convinced you should start a project to map your neighborhood or town? Afraid of complicated mapping software? You might be interested in the stories of a few projects from around the world at http://greenatlas.org. If you still need more convincing, or want details about starting up visit the Green Map System website at http://greenmap.org
*There have also been a few small youth projects, and initial efforts towards producing other maps. This footnote was not included in the original documentContact Us Green Map Logo © 2003 Green Map System, Inc.