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MassGIS Data: Community Boundaries (Towns) Without Coastline

June 2020

The political boundary coverage is a datalayer containing onshore and offshore boundaries for the 351 communities of Massachusetts.

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Massachusetts Community Boundaries without Coast

The political boundary coverage is a datalayer containing onshore and offshore boundaries for the 351 communities of Massachusetts. Note that no coastline appears in this data. The ArcSDE layers are named BOUNDARY_POLY and BOUNDARY_ARC.

Also see the List of Town Numbers and Names and Towns Index Map


Sources of this data are Chapter 196 Acts of 1881 boundaries drafted onto 1:80,000 NOAA charts and town boundaries from the USGS 1:25,000 topographic series published on stable based film.


Fields in the polygon attribute table:

TOWN_ID Int MassGIS Town-ID Code (alphabetical, 1-351)
TOWN Char City or town name
FIPS_STCO Int Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) State/County Code
CCD_MCD Char US Census Town Code
FIPS_PLACE Char Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) Town Code
POP1980 Int US Census Town Population: 1980
POP1990 Int US Census Town Population: 1990
POP2000 Int US Census Town Population: 2000
POP2010 Int US Census Town Population: 2010
POPCH80_90 Int Population change, 1980-1990
POPCH90_00 Int Population change, 1990-2000
POPCH00_10 Int Population change, 2000-2010
FOURCOLOR Int Codes (1,2,3,4) allowing shading of all towns using 4 symbols (based on four-color theorem, where no adjacent polygons have same symbol)
TYPE Char C = City, T = Town, TC = Town with City form of governmentt, or (for AMESBURY and EASTHAMPTON) a City without wards or precincts. Source:
The arc attribute table has a field, TYPE, that allows you to choose either onshore boundaries ('dry') with TYPE = 1, or offshore boundaries ('wet') with TYPE = 2.


The onshore community boundaries were digitized by MassGIS from a set of stable based film prints of the 1:25,000 7.5' USGS quadrangles. Offshore boundaries were digitized by Mass. Dept. of Fish and Game's GIS program from 1:80,000 NOAA charts. The two were merged into one complete boundaries coverage. Along the eastern portion of the state offshore boundaries include those town boundaries that fall within rivers and other water bodies. For western Massachusetts all town boundaries are currently coded as onshore, 'dry' boundaries.

Note: The outer boundaries based on the Acts of 1881 do not necessarily coincide with the limits of the state territorial waters or state or town jurisdiction.


MassGIS maintains this datalayer.

In October 2002, the polygona attribute table was modified to include population figures (total and change) based on the 2000 U.S. Census. Also at this time the arcs were modified to correct a small section of the Florida-Savoy border.

In September 2009, TYPE was changed to 'TC' for Braintree, Palmer, Randolph and Winthrop.

In February 2014, TYPE was changed to 'TC' for BRIDGEWATER, based on latest data from the Secretary of State's office. Also, the POP2010 and POPCH00_10 fields were added and the fields FIPS_MCD and FIPS_COUNTY were dropped.

In June 2020, changed TYPE to 'C' for Greenfield and 'TC' for North Attleborough.

Also see Community Boundaries (Towns) and the most spatially-accurate datalayer Community Boundaries (Towns) from Survey Points (both of which contain the coastline).

Last Updated 6/16/2020


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English (United States)