University of Massachusetts Amherst

Conservation Assessment and Prioritization System

Conservation Assessment and Prioritization System


CAPS 2020 data for Massachusetts

Data organization. All CAPS results and many intermediate results are available for download. This section provides links to the various versions of IEI, the CAPS land cover, results of individual metrics, and settings variables. Data are available in grouped .zip files, listed below.

Data formats. With this release, we’re supplying all raster files as geoTIFFs. GeoTIFFs have several advantages over Arc grids: they are typically more space-efficient, they can be viewed in most image viewers and browsers as well as with GIS software, they can contain display formats intrinsically rather than requiring a separate application-specific legend, and most importantly, geoTIFF is a public domain format, as opposed to ESRI’s proprietary format. As open-source GIS software (such as QGIS) becomes more sophisticated and stable, we anticipate many users will migrate to open source GIS. To support this migration, we are now making our data available in public domain formats such as geoTIFF.

Scaling. IEI is scaled by percentile for each community, represented by an index that runs from 0 (low integrity) to 1 (high integrity). Metrics and settings grids are scaled in original units, unique to each grid. The CAPS final land cover, capsland, represents land cover classes using integer classes (see Appendix H); it has an interpretable color pallette.

The coordinate reference system for all data is Massachusetts mainland State Plane, NAD83, matching the projection used by most data on MassGIS.

Basic results

These are the most basic results, for those who want immediate gratification. This .zip file consists of two files in geoTIFF format:

iei_i – CAPS Integrated IEI (scaled 0-1)

capsland – CAPS land cover grid (61 MB)

Standard results

These results contain all four versions of the IEI, as well as land cover. IEI is scaled from 0 (low integrity) to 1 (high integrity).

iei – CAPS statewide IEI

iei_e – CAPS ecoregion IEI

iei_w – CAPS watershed IEI

iei_i – CAPS Integrated IEI

capsland – CAPS land cover grid (220 MB)

Five color integrated IEI

The grid used to produce the IEI town maps ("areas of potential high ecological integrity") are available in a geoTIFF. This grid is the top 50% integrated IEI, displayed in five color gradients (green for forests, orange for shrublands, yellow-brown for coastal uplands, blue for freshwater wetland & aquatic, and cyan for coastal wetland aquatic). The values in this grid encode the color; they are not meaningful otherwise. (8 MB)

DEP Habitat of Potential Regional or Statewide Importance

The DEP Massachusetts Habitat of Potential Regional and Statewide Importance data are available is simply the top 40% of integrated IEI (iei_i > 0.6); cells with a value of 1 are within DEP Habitat of Potential Regional and Statewide Importance. (1.4 MB)

Raw metrics

These .zip files contain all raw metrics results. See Appendix C for a list of metrics, grid names, and brief descriptions, and Appendix F for the contribution of each metric to each community’s IEI. Raw metrics are scaled in original units, unique to each metric. Integrity increases with decreasing values of stressor metrics, and increasing values of resiliency metrics. See Appendix D for grid names used for metrics. (1.2 GB)

Settings variables

These .zip files contain mixed (unscaled) settings variables. See Appendix D for a list and brief description of settings variables, and Appendix G for grid names and weights. Settings variables are scaled in original units, unique to each variable. See Appendix E for grid names used for settings variables. (938 MB)

Additional data

A large collection of additional GIS data for Massachusetts are available from MassGIS ( Many of these data layers, such as town boundaries, ecoregions, watersheds, aerial photos, and USGS topographic maps are extremely helpful for viewing and interpreting CAPS results.

Running CAPS for Massachusetts requires a large number of additional intermediate data sources not linked above. These data are available on request.