New Jersey Geospatial Forum Preserved Lands/Open Space Task Force. A Methodology to Develop and Maintain a Comprehensive Database of Preserved Lands and Other Open Spaces in New Jersey. Tanya Nolte, NJ Conservation Foundation Brian Embley, The Nature Conservancy
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A Methodology to Develop and Maintain a Comprehensive Database of Preserved Lands and Other Open Spaces in New Jersey
Tanya Nolte, NJ Conservation Foundation
Brian Embley, The Nature Conservancy
Paul Caris, NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Douglas M. Schleifer, NJ Office of Information Technology, Office of GIS
Yelena Pikovskaya, NJ Office of Information Technology, Office of GIS
The Preserved Lands/Open Space Task Force was established by the New Jersey Geospatial Forum* Executive Committee for the purpose of creating a methodology for the development and maintenance of a comprehensive database for preserved lands and other open spaces in New Jersey (PL/OS Database).
The primary purpose for this database is to inform various planning efforts for government agencies and other organizations involved in the preservation and management of these lands for public benefit.
*NJ Geospatial Forum is a statewide users group and the coordinating body for geospatial technology activities throughout New Jersey.
One of the many functions of the Forum is to form task forces based on issues or activities of importance to the Forum membership.
In order to meet the goal – to develop and maintain a preserved lands/open space database for New Jersey – the Preserved Lands/Open Space Task Force has to fulfill the following objectives:
For that purpose the Task Force was structured into the following subgroups:
The results revealed a variety of approaches to inventory creation and mapping. Major findings answered the following basic questions.
What are the methods of capturing information?
There are two main approaches for mapping lands: property ownership (land stewardship), or combining this method with the natural resources delineation (environmental). As a qualitative or quantitative characteristic of a mapped unit, a protection status category (or level of protection) was often attributed.
2. How are the datasets structured?
For structuring the NJ PL/OS database model, the key components of the PAD-US database - its geometric structure and core attributes – were taken as an example.
4. What is the base mapping unit?
The programs collecting information on fee simple lands use Tax Parcel as a minimum mapping unit. The programs tracking easements regard base map unit smaller than parcel, because an easement boundary can split a parcel.
5. What is a character of polygon boundaries?
Easements very often are surveyed carefully, and their boundaries are natural, while parcel-base polygons have administrative boundaries of properties. Also, some programs such as NJ Highlands make their own land delineation. In this cases land boundaries are environmental as well.
Most data sets are available for download on the web in gdb, shapefiles or pdf formats; some are distributed by request (The Natural Conservancy lands in NJ). Vermont’s data are distributed depending on database version (public, private, or full database). The distribution can be either open or strictly limited.
Details about the programs are located in the research.zip file under Preserved Lands/Open Space on the Current Task Forces Meeting Agendas, Minutes, and Presentations page of the NJ Geospatial Forum web site at:
Broaden the scope of Taskforce from:
Developing a database of Preserved Lands
Developing a database of Preserved Lands and other Open Space
(i.e. open spaces that are not preserved) Lands.
The PL/OS database has been designed for three major spatial components:
Parcel based open space
Unit based open space
* Most encumbrances are easements and most easements do not cover entire parcels. The encumbrances table can be joined with parcels data to create a polygon feature class to identify the parcels the encumbrances are located within.
Most information about open space is stored in the parcel-based open space table, with the Parcel ID (PAMS_PIN) used as the primary key to join to a parcels polygon feature class.
The basic mapping unit for Open Space architecture is a Tax Parcel.
Attributes in a Database Structure (cont.)
PAMS_PIN field is also used to link to other tables with detailed characteristics.
Each database table has one or two key fields for joining to other tables (Parcel ID; OS_Unit ID, Encumbrance ID).
Detailed open space attributes based on PARCELS
Generalized attributes based on OPEN SPACE UNITS
Detailed encumbrance attributes based on PARCELS
Open Space Information Tracking
Encumbrances Information Tracking
Agency/Organization/Institution Master List Table
Encumbrances Type Lookup Table
Green Acres Primary Use Categories Lookup Table
Methodology Subgroup Objectives