Community Mapping Resources

This is the text of a recent email that I sent to several environmental and Y2K related listservs.

Hello -

For quite some time now I've been attempting to put together the resouces needed for community groups to do environmental justice research and explore, communicate, and compare the toxic hazards they face using maps and GIS (geographic information system). Several recent developments have made it possible for communties across the country to aquire the means to do this. With these resources you can create your own Y2K and Environmental Risk Atlas.

Developments that make this effort possible include: (1) ESRI has release ArcExplorer a free GIS program, (2) ESRI and now provide free downloads of TIGER 95 map layers (streets, demographics, streams, census tracts, and the like), and (3) a great deal of toxic data has become available on CD-Rom and on the internet that has the necessary geographic information required to use it in a GIS program.

I'm always checking out other alternatives. One GIS program that looks very promising is Manifold. It is very inexpensive and promises to be very easy to use, comprehensive, and flexible. You can check it out for yourself at - I'll be checking it out and reviewing it myself soon.


You can download ArcExplorer from my website. I also provide links to ESRI's Tiger download page (for TIGER data in ArcExplorer and ArcView shapefile format) and's Free Data page for TIGER 95 map layers in their native format.

I have also extracted and converted a great deal of data to ArcExplorer and ArcView shapefile format (many are also in MapInfo and Maptitude formats). These include:

* Superfund sites on the National Priority List (NPL)
* Superfund sites not on the NPL
* Superfund sites EPA deems "no further action"
* PCS facilities - water pollution permit compliance
* Hazardous waste facilities including Transfer, Storage and Disposal (TSD) facilities and Large Quantity Generators (LQG).
* AIRS - facilities releasing criteria pollutants including; NO2, SO2, VOC, PM10, PB, PT
* Nuclear facilities - powerplants, processing plants and other facilities

Some toxic layers we're working on and will soon be available soon include:

* CEP - cummulative exposure project data
* Toxic river sediments
* Contaminated fish advisaries
* Toxic Release Inventory (TRI)
* Pesticide Use
* Air quality
* Air quality monitoring stations

Other layers available now include:

* Mortality - age adjusted mortality rates based on race and gender for many causes of death
* Federal and Indian lands - BIA, USFS, BLM, etc.
* Airports
* Airways
* Dams
* Volcanoes
* Earthquakes

Some other layers we're working on and will soon be available include:

* Highways
* Railroads
* Amtrak stations
* Aquifers
* Mines

If you know of other data that you would like made available please contact me at [email protected]

The GIS program and TIGER 95 data are free. Some of the layers I have extracted and converted are free as well. I hope to be compensated for some of the more complicated and extensive layers that I extract and convert, but money (or the lack thereof) will not be a barrier to obtaining needed data.

Soon I will also be able to provide the resources enabling communities to put their interactive maps on the internet. More information on this will be on my website as it becomes available.

To review or download the above go to my website, and click on "Free GIS Maps" and "Free GIS"

The above website also has environmental news from many sources, ideas and other resouces for mapping, links to Web Map projects we have completed, and other toxic maps around the world (if you know of any that should be listed here let me know).

Also, if you make use of these resources for your project please let me know. I'd like to build a database of local mapping projects as a resource for others. I'd love to hear from you.

Finally, please redistribute this message to anyone you think might find it useful.



Michael Meuser
[email protected]

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