The term Geographic Information System (GIS) is used generically for any computer-based
technique for the manipulation of geographic data. GIS is a broad field of endeavor, and incorporates the related fields
of remote sensing and photogrammetry, as well as
Global Positioning Systems (GPS). GIS includes not only hardware and software, but also the
special devices used to manipulate geographic information to conduct spatial analysis and to create map products,
together with communications systems needed to link various elements.
For more information, check out https://www.esri.com/what-is-gis
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GIS data is often referred to as "spatial data" or "digital geospatial data." The term "geospatial" is derived from "geo"
relating to the Earth, and "spatial" relating to location in space. Two broad categories of spatial data are known as "vector"
and "raster". Beyond these main categories, other GIS-related data types include tabular data (database tables) and image data.
All of these are discussed below.
Vector data layers are comprised of points, connecting lines
and polygons are recorded digitally using X-Y coordinates. Such images are fully scalable meaning they can be enlarged and
reduced in size for display without sacrificing detail. Most map layers in GIS are expressed as vector images in order to
conserve digital storage space, accelerate retrieval and minimize work involving analytical processing.
Raster data layers are comprised of picture elements
(pixels) that may be assigned a color value and intensity. An example of such images is a television picture. Raster images
lose resolution (detail) as they are enlarged or reduced in size. These images usually occupy more storage space than vector
images of the same area and require compression and expansion in use to conserve file space. Raster images usually result
from the scanning process and in GIS are typically used for digitizing aerial photographs and background maps.
Tabular data, often referred to as
attribute data, because it is information that describes the attributes of features in a data layer, is stored in database
tables. Rather than describing location, tabular data provides the descriptive information about the features in a layer.
Image data or Digital Imagery
is stored as raster data in a GIS and often provides an image as a backdrop to a vector data layer. Examples of image data include
digital aerial photography, satellite imagery, scanned maps and photographs. Another term for image data commonly used is digital
raster graphics (DRGs). USGS quadrangle topographic maps are often called
USGS DRGs. Additional information on image data can be found in the Digital Imagery FAQs.
The use of GIS technology is integral to making better environmental decisions in programs ranging from water resource management
to hazardous site clean up to wildlife habitat protection to emergency response. To see some examples of how the Bureau of GIS has
facilitated GIS, review the web applications. Read more
The NJDEP has developed GIS standards to assist users of the Department's data. The Mapping and Digital
Standards document can be found on the GIS Standards page.
Most of NJDEP's GIS data is available for download in a variety of formats. Metadata
(data documentation) for each layer is available as well.
The staff at the NJDEP commonly use:
The ArcGIS suite of
software produced by ESRI, Inc. and NJ-GeoWeb. Esri's ArcExplorer products and NJ-GeoWeb are free tools for Department
staff and the public.
NJDEP's NJ-GeoWeb is rich with environmental data.
It features many of NJDEP's most requested data layers that can be viewed and queried in an internet browser.
Explorer products allow users to perform
basic GIS tasks such as: panning and zooming data layers; displaying data using classifications, symbols, and labels;
and identifying and querying geographic and attribute data.
Some NJDEP data sets are also available through subject specific applications on the NJDEP web pages.
The NJDEP requires that permission be obtained prior to redistributing the Department's data, and that the NJDEP Data
Distribution policy be adhered to. For details, review the
NJDEP Mapping and Digital Data Standards document, section VII NJDEP Data Distribution and Constraints.
While NJDEP cannot fulfill individual maps requests, we can provide quality data and
interactive mapping applications that may enable you to produce the information you are looking for.
Yes, by using NJ-GeoWeb, NJDEP's online interactive mapping
application, anyone can use NJDEP GIS data without the need for downloading specialized software or data layers. NJ-GeoWeb runs in
a browser and can be used to prepare maps you can print on your local printer. Online help, tutorials and training are available so
that even those who are new to GIS should be able to use the NJ-GeoWeb application.
Yes. For NJ-GeoWeb training dates check the training page.
This information can be obtained by using the NJ-GeoWeb
interactive mapping application which displays NJ State Plane map coordinates at the lower right-hand corner of the map window:
In this example, Easting (X): 420,360.02, Northing (Y): 505,440.52 denotes NJ State Plane Coordinates in feet.
The first number is the X-coordinate (the easting) and the second number is the Y-coordinate (the northing).
In order to be confident in the accuracy of the coordinates at the mouse cursor, you should zoom-in close enough
that the location can be easily identified using the aerial photography and other base map layers.
If you prefer, you can also call the GIS Help Desk at 609-777-0672 to obtain this information.
NJ-GeoWeb includes some historical aerial photography.
Non-digital historical aerial photography can be viewed at the NJDEP Tidelands Management Program aerial photo library.
Appointments can be made by calling 609-292-2573. For information on New Jersey base maps, view the
NJDEP Mapping and Digital Data Standards document and/or visit the
NJDEP Maps & Publications web site.
All geographic data layers store locations in a map projection or coordinate system. Map projections and coordinate systems
are important because in order for data layers to overlay correctly, they must be stored in the same system. Examples of coordinate
systems include Latitude and Longitude, Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM), and
NJ State Plane. These systems relate to the
way locations on the Earth are stored in a data layer, and the need to make adjustments when translating locations from a sphere-shaped
Earth to a flat map. For more information go to
USGS Map Projections web site
The standard coordinate system used by NJDEP is the New Jersey State Plane Coordinate System, NAD83. Units of measure are in feet.
All data layers available for download are in the New Jersey State Plane Coordinates (NJSPC).
Additional information on map projections and coordinate systems is available in the
The New Jersey Division of Water Supply and Geoscience provides a
coordinate conversion utility
for converting coordinates to/from Latitude/Longitude and NJ State Plane feet.
The US Army Corps of Engineers' Corpscon
utility also allows coordinate conversions but has more input and output options and will handle datum conversions as well.
Other geodetic software utilities are available to download for free at the web site of the
National Geodetic Survey (NGS).
There is help available for NJ-GeoWeb on the
application splash page.
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June 29, 2018