NJ MAP takes a thematic approach to environmental data and information. We have handcrafted the following subject matter into packaged themes that are presented for every municipality in New Jersey - yes, that is 565 individual pages and each one serves up unique information for your town. Each theme also has the ability to see parcel boundaries, toggle between varying dates of aerial photography and download statistics in the form of an excel spreadsheet. Please explore our current themes below. If you would like, feel free to suggest a theme.
New Jersey's Land Use map is essential for sound planning and environmental management. However, mapping the entire state is costly and a major undertaking. The state's current land use map is over six years old and the official update is likely a year away. The Rowan Geospatial Research Lab is aiming to use the power of crowdsourcing to make an updated interim map in a matter of weeks.
The GeoLab invites you to be a volunteer contributor by helping to identify post 2007 development growth. If enough people contribute to complete the state quickly, the results will be made freely available in early 2014.
New Jersey has long been the state with the highest population density in the nation, as well as having the highest percentage of its land area in urban land uses. New Jersey's population pressure stems from its geographic location, wedged between the nation’s largest and 6th largest cities, New York and Philadelphia. These factors have resulted in New Jersey maintaining its status as one of the most rapidly urbanizing states in the nation throughout the past several decades. Urbanization includes all developed land uses, including suburban and rural development. This map depicts 21 years of urban growth in an animated progression with each period. The map allows you to see the magnitude of development that has occurred in only two decades totaling a massive 324,256 acres (507 square miles). Even while the population growth has slowed over the past decade, urban development has continued to increase pace and dispersion. By the year 2007, over 30% of the state's 5 million acre territory had become urbanized, surpassing any other land use type in total number of acres.
Our presentation of the Landscape Project gives a snapshot of threatened and endangered species within a municipality. Landscape Project designations are represented as follows:
N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife's Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) began the project in 1994. Its goal: to protect New Jersey's biological diversity by maintaining and enhancing imperiled wildlife populations within healthy, functioning ecosystems. For more information, please visit: their website.
Our Agriculture Preservation Toolkit is aimed to provide tools to facilitate agriculture preservation in New Jersey. Preserved farms, prime farmland soils, agriculture development areas and agriculture land use designations are all important features in gauging a municipality's grasp on its farmland assets. Agriculture Development Area boundaries are used to determine eligibility for County Easement Purchase. Farming is still one of the major economic sectors of the New Jersey economy and an important part of the Garden State's heritage. Over the two decades of the study, agricultural land shrank by 178,337 acres (279 square miles) to development and abandonment. In only 21 years, one-quarter of the state's total farmland that existed in 1986 has disappeared. However, on a positive note, the rate of agricultural land loss has consistently declined over the same period from an annualized rate of 9,485 acres per year lost in T1 ('86 - '95) to 7,933 acres per year in T2 ('95 - '02) to the most recent 5,730 acres per year in T3 ('02 - '07).
This trend is closely related to two factors: there is less farmland consumed by urbanization and less farmland is being abandoned and allowed to regenerate to forest. Likewise, over this time period farmland preservation has made significant gains in protecting farmlands. By January 2013, New Jersey had preserved 212,000 acres of farmland through its various preservation programs making New Jersey one of the most successful states in total percent of agricultural lands preserved. While the slowing of farmland loss and impressive amount of farmland preservation to date are certainly positive trends, they must be gauged against the bleak reality that agricultural land nevertheless lost one-quarter of its land base over the 21 year period of the study. Much of the Garden State’s most active and productive lands remain vulnerable and the NJ MAP Agricultural Preservation Toolkit will help to facilitate the most prudent preservation activities.
One of the more significant landscape impacts attributable to urbanization is the construction of impervious surface-asphalt, concrete, etc. - created by development. The creation of impervious surface changes the natural hydrologic cycle by impeding precipitation infiltration to groundwater while increasing the amount of surface runoff. Developed lands can vary in the percentage of impervious coverage depending on how intensely land is urbanized. For example, single unit residential housing can have relatively low percentages of impervious cover such as 15 percent whereas commercial land uses can have impervious coverage of over 90%.
New Jersey's total impervious footprint as of 2007 was 508,681 acres or nearly 800 square miles of concrete and asphalt. During the T3 (2002-2007) period, New Jersey generated 21,348 acres (33.4 square miles) of additional impervious surface representing an annual rate of 4,270 acres of impervious surface increase per year or nine American football fields of new impervious surface per day (including end zones). While impervious surface creation is a useful indication of water quality, it is also a proxy for other land resource impacts attributable to development such as forest loss, farmland loss and wetlands loss. Comprehensive regulation of impervious surface may hold promise to reigning in sprawl. In another study, we are working on a conceptual framework for combining impervious surface regulation with Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) as a tool for steering development patterns away from sprawl and toward smart growth.
The Geospatial Research Laboratory (GeoLab) at Rowan University makes every attempt to provide pertinent and timely data for environmental initiatives. As with all broad-scale GIS services, inaccuracies will exist. The GeoLab, as creator of NJ MAP, shall not be held liable for any errors in the GIS data. The geospatial data contained within this website is not 100% field verified and so inconsistencies may occur. This includes errors of omission, commission, errors concerning the content of the data, and relative and positional accuracy of the data. Source information used for data may have been collected at different scales, times or definitions, resulting in inconsistencies among features represented together on this map.