Within the program, there are very complete instructions under this tool
1. Most of the map layers have scale dependencies and will not draw the more detailed map data when zoomed out. Enter a street address to zoom to the area of interest. Be sure to include the zip code (ex. 250 Main St 02020). To browse around, simply use the zoom controls. Use the four-sided arrow symbol to pan around the map.
2. MassGIS has created the default custom basemap, which combines several layers. You can change the base map by using the choices under the basemaps dropdown on the lower right. Aerial imagery and USGS topographic maps can be found here, but these are coming from licensed sources that do not allow for printing. Soon, MassGIS will be adding their own imagery, which can be printed, into an Available Data Layers folder that will be called Images.
3. As a default, roads, wetlands, elevation contours, parcel lines, and buildings will be shown. If you are zoomed in close enough, the address of the parcel will be shown.
4. Once you have zoomed in on an area, you can begin adding different layers of data if the layers you need are not combined into the MassGIS Basemap. Go to the top right, to the Available Data Layers window. Open each folder by double clicking to see what data is available. If you are unsure what a specific layer represents, right click its name and select View Metadata to see a web page that describes the specific layer.
5. When you find a layer of interest click that layer name and it will be added to the map. The layer is added to the Active Data Layers window on the middle right portion of the screen. You can add as many data layers as you want. But if you have finished with a layer, don’t simply uncheck it; rather right click and select Remove Layer.
6. Please note that on some smaller screens, you might not see this Active Data Layers window or some of the other tools along the top. You will need to hover your mouse until it changes to the double arrow / double line icon, and then drag it to enlarge or shrink the window panes.
7. Sometimes the layers you add are opaque, and you cannot see through them to the parcel you are interested in. You will need to change the opacity of the layer. To do this, right click on the layer in Active Data Layers. Using the slider bar under Opacity, adjust it from 100% towards 0% and it will become more transparent.
8. When you want information from the database about a feature, click the blue information button and then click on the feature you are interested in. A window will pop up, and the various active data layers will be searched. For example, if you want to know the owners name, the size, the parcel ID numbers, and valuation, click on the Tax Parcels for Query line and the data will load in a window pane called Feature Details. Use the scroll bar to slide the resulting detail table to the right to see all the information.
9. The simplest way to print is to use the Print function of your internet browser (File, Print. Or, Control P). You can save the map for later printing or to insert into a document. Follow the steps under the print/save button . A map with three .png elements will be generated (title, legend and map). Each of these must be right clicked and “save as”. To insert these into a Word doc, use the insert tab and select “picture from file”