Data Entry & the Atlas 1 Maps
Two of the more monumental tasks associated with managing the Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 1 project were compiling the breeding-confirmation data at the end of each field season and creating the final maps. It is important to point out that the "age of computers" was still in its relative infancy when the original data for this project were being compiled and when the mapping program was being created in the 1970s and early 1980s. Richard A. Forster, Massachusetts Audubon's Atlas 1 coordinator throughout most of the five-year project, shouldered most of the task of annually updating the breeding confirmation data for every block in Massachusetts.
Once the final data for each block were compiled, the information was turned over to David Stemple at the University of Massachusetts Computer Center. Stemple created a mapping program that used symbols to illustrate the level of confirmation for every species recorded during the Atlas 1 period, block by block, on a map of Massachusetts. Without his expertise and tremendous contribution to the project, the first Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 1 might never have reached fruition. Prior to their publication in the hardcopy format, the original Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 1 project maps and map symbols were variously modified and improved through the efforts of Dorothy Graskamp and Stephen D. McRae, director, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Geographic Information Systems Program, and of Barry W. Van Dusen, book designer and artist.
Making the online maps was significantly easier than it was during the 1980s. To complete the online edition of the Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 1 we imported the original data into ESRI ArcMAP version 9.1. We created base maps using data layers provided by MassGIS, and with the generous support of Mass Audubon's Jeff Collins and Tom Lautzenheiser, rendered a base map with layers of the block outlines, relief, major roads, the Connecticut River and Quabbin Reservoir, and neighboring states.