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The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) developed the Heritage Landscape Atlas, one of the first online viewers for cultural landscape information and a valuable tool for the protection of Massachusetts heritage.
From 2001 to 2009, DCR’s Heritage Landscape Inventory Program amassed data on historic landscapes in 108 municipalities across the Commonwealth. The Program engaged communities to identify heritage landscapes – special places that help define the character of a community and reflect its past – and to plan for their protection. The HLI Program produced online narrative reports and a map for each community.

Recognizing the need to increase data access and empower citizens toward action, DCR developed the Heritage Landscape Atlas, an interactive, web-based mapping tool that allows for landscape-specific analysis, and regional or statewide comparisons of heritage landscapes.

The Atlas displays 600+ priority heritage landscapes identified through the HLI and includes:

•    Statewide data on heritage landscape types
•    Statewide datalayers such as protected open space, water resources, roads, habitat, and the State Register of Historic Places
•    Town data including demographic information, status of common preservation bylaws, and information about the local and regional partners
•    Landscape level data such as landscape name, types and subtype, historic designation and ownership, recommendations, and a place to track actions taken.
•    Extensive hyperlinks to a program Glossary, defining all terms and linking to internal and external resources

Heritage Landscape AtlasTruly interactive, the Atlas allows users to zoom to various levels of detail, turn layers on and off, and connect to other resources to aid in their preservation planning.

The Atlas is web-based, running in a regular browser without additional software. It is based on the OpenLayers JavaScript library, with a GeoServer engine serving the map and data. DCR’s Heritage Landscape Atlas was conceptualized and developed using in-house staff.

This atlas was made possible through Grant MT-2210-10-NC-06 from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT).

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National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119