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Why do my Maps have to be GIS compatible?

Posted on August 16th, 2011

The Technical Requirements of Site Remediation (N.J.A.C. 7:26E) and many of the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) forms require maps to be submitted to the Department in a GIS compatible format. Why the bother? What is GIS and what’s the big deal with GIS compatible data?

The Technical Requirements of Site Remediation (N.J.A.C. 7:26E) and many of the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) forms require maps to be submitted to the Department in a GIS compatible format.  Why the bother? What is GIS and what’s the big deal with GIS compatible data?

Based on the Mapping and Digital Data Standards of the NJDEP, “The NJDEP maintains a Geographic Information System (GIS) for the storage and analysis of cartographic (mapped) and related environmental scientific and regulatory information for use by the Department. A GIS is a computer mapping system used to display and analyze geographic information and spatial databases.” (MDDS, 2006)

NJDEP’s database consists of data from governmental agencies, private consultants, and individuals.  The vast variety of NJ data may include spatial information from municipalities such as locals roads and fire prone areas to information from a surveyor such as property tax borders and monitoring well locations.  Environmental consulting firms, such as JM Sorge, provide GIS data to the NJDEP such as extents of groundwater contamination areas (CEAs) and analytical results for groundwater contamination and soil conditions.  All information that is submitted to the NJDEP has a GIS component to it, which means it is data that can be geographically mapped.  And more importantly… in the correct location!

With so many entities providing information to the State of New Jersey, which can then be provided back to the regulatory community, it is imperative that all contributing parties adhere to Standards so that the GIS and the maps are accurate and reliable.   

Basic mapping requirements are:

  1. All data must be provided in New Jersey State Plane Coordinates- allows all data to be geographically visualized when input into a GIS.
  2. The scale of the map must be consistent with the Standards of the US  National Map Accuracy Standards.
  3. Maps cannot be smaller than a 8.5” x 11”- provides a legible size of project areas.
  4. Metadata is Required for Digital Map submissions – answers the who, what, where, when and why of your data and also includes an accountable party for who created the subset of data. 

The bottom line is that when maps and digital data are consistent between contributors and users, they can be relied upon to base sound project decisions. 

Additional guidance on the Map Submissions can be found at: https://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/guidance/techgis/

Bernie Andersen
Project Manager


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