2015 Survey

Thank you to all 200 participants that completed the CT ECO survey. It generated a lot of good information that will help us shape the new CT ECO. There were a number of statements or questions that deserved a reply and here they are. As always, feel free to contact us at CLEAR or at DEEP (full contact information below). Thanks for helping us make CT ECO the best it can be.

CT ECO is in the process of an upgrade. Although it has taken longer than expected, we are purchasing new hardware and will be reorganizing some of the data, map services and website. The upgrade will take care of a number of issues and suggestions and they are explained below.

The Purpose of CT ECO

CT ECO was realized to to publish DEEP's environmental and natural resource information to support sound environmental decision making. CT ECO is a platform where everyone can be looking at the same information.


Requests/Suggestions: Map Services | Training/help/usability | Other Suggestions

Issues: CT ECO Website Structure and Format | Advanced Viewer | Data Layer Specific

Data/Layers folks would like to see: DEEP Layers | Imagery and Lidar | Other


Statements/questions/requests/etc from the survey are in bold. CT ECO replies in blue.



Map Services

Incorporate HTTPS

We are planning to have both http and https services after the CT ECO upgrade.

Maps as tiled services/cached

We realize the benefit of tiled/cached services to users as they can decrease drawing speed and are required for some applications. Tiles also take space on our servers so it is a balance. Once the new system is in place, we hope to tile some of the more popular, static data sets.

All services in both NAD83 and WGS84

The survey showed that 45% of users prefer CT State Plane NAD83 feet, 10% prefer WGS 1984 Web Mercator [Auxiliary Sphere] and 40% either don't know or don't have a preference. We will continue to publish map services in CT State Plane NAD83 feet, but some will also be published in WGS 1984 Web Mercator. As web GIS grows, we predict that the use of Web Mercator will also.


More training.

CT ECO doesn't currently offer hands-on, public training. Other relevant trainings are offered by the CLEAR Geospatial Training Program. Visit the GTP web page to see current offerings and also suggest to courses.

Provide how-to guides for downloading/adding data to ArcGIS.

Go here for some instructions. They are a bit old and will be updated in the upgrade but still should work.

Add a "for beginners start here" page.

This is a great idea and we are planning on adding it.

Make the home page more user friendly.

We strive for this and it is harder than it might seem. Any suggestions?

Would be nice to be able to use GPS data.

I assume this means add GPS data to the map? The place to do this is ArcGIS Online (AGOL). In AGOL, you can access all of the map services on CT ECO, save them together in your own map and do much more, including uploading GPS data. This page has instructions for getting started with AGOL. To add GPS data, click on the Add button and choose Add Layer from File. Locate your gpx or csv file (presumably downloaded from your GPS) and upload it to your AGOL map. Save and you are in business!

Always provide data to download and/or use as a map service. Please don't remove this ability for the sake of ArcGIS Online.

We have no plans to take away the data download. In fact, we hope to better integrate CT DEEP data download with CT ECO in the next version of CT ECO.


Other Suggestions

Perhaps some joint PR coordinated with MAGIC and CT State Library? These are two other sources people seem to gravitate to/acknowledge when looking for GIS and/or imagery data.

We are limited in our time and ability to do PR, but we could do a better job of coordinating and cross-promoting.

Better locate metadata and shapefiles so they are all together and can be found within a few clicks.

Good idea. Hopefully the new site will make things more seamless.

Our problem is no access to ESRI or other GIS products. Can you deliver KML's or even DWG or DGN?

The web-based viewers on CT ECO are ideal for folks without GIS software. All you need is a web browser to look at the maps. UConn MAGIC has a data distribution page that includes KML. For CAD files, they must be converted. First download GIS files (from the CT DEEP GIS data download page) then use a file converter (a quick google search revealed some free or lost cost options) to go from a shapefile to CAD format.



CT ECO Website Structure and Format

Can't view on some computers with some browsers, such as ipad.

Technology has changed a lot in the 5 years since CT ECO was born. We plan to re-do some of the map viewers using responsive web design so they will be easier to use on tablets, mobile phones and other small devices.


Our servers are old. The new system will take care of that problem. Also, new versions of ArcGIS Server have tools for speeding up services. We intend to use these once we can upgrade beyond ArcGIS Server 10.0. If other parts of CT ECO are slow, please let us know.

Odd breakdown between servers (ctecoapp1, 2 and 3).

Ok. The new system will be different.

Hierarchy structure is hard to follow. No real index.

Like an index page? Would that be helpful?

Difficulty in downloading data.

CT ECO wasn't originally designed as a place to download data (with the exception of the 2012 aerial imagery). CT DEEP maintains their own data download page. That being said, in the CT ECO site upgrade, we hope to better link the data on CT ECO and the DEEP data download. The issue becomes more complicated for data outside of DEEP. Connecticut does not have a GIS data center to manage this information. On CT ECO, we list the places to download data for Connecticut. If you know of another place that should be added to the page, let us know.

Metadata is sometimes lacking or not linked correctly.

This is unacceptable and we will work on fixing it. Please email us if you find specific instances.

It's hard to figure out what the map offerings and resources are if you're not familiar with the acronyms and jargon-rich menus.

Ok. We try to make things as clear as possible and will go through the site again. A glossary of acronyms is a good idea.


Advanced Viewer

Scale limitation in Advanced Viewer.

The scale dependencies in the ancient, Advanced Viewer were designed to decrease drawing time but yes, they are limiting. In the new viewers, we hope to loosen up the scale dependencies.

The way the Advanced Viewer times out.

Like the scale dependencies above, the timeout was designed to increase user experience by cutting off inactive users. This will likely not be a factor in the new viewers after the upgrade.

Some resources are missing from the Advanced Map.

We know this is a big problem and stems from the fact that the Advanced Viewer is ancient. A new one is coming and should have all, or at least most, of the layers.

Not able to draw a circle around a point of interest with a specified radius. Looking for all potable wells within a specified 500' distance from release source.

This is called a buffer in GIS speak. CT ECO does not include geoprocessing tools. Buffer analysis can be done in desktop GIS, ArcGIS Online and other platforms.

It is hard to print a good map. There seems to be a disconnect between what I see on the screen and what prints. Also would like more compatibility to be able to share maps with other format....for example for inclusion within word documents.

As simple as it may seem, a screenshot is often the best way to capture a map for static inclusion into a document, presentation, email, etc. Windows operating systems come with the Snipping Tool (found in Accessories) and Macs have keyboard shortcuts. There are other low cost programs that have a few more bells and whistles - my favorite is called SnagIt. To use all of these programs, get the map exactly as you like on screen and essentially take a "picture" of it that can be copied to the clipboard or saved in different image formats.


Data Layer Specific

Difficult to determine which 2012 aerial photo I am looking for to download. The search tool is only by town - need to be able to search by address

That would be nice. If we offer data download in the future, we will try to include an address search.

I don't like the state lands parcels as a colored in blob. can't the boundary be just solid line?

We will look into this in the new viewers.

Unable to downland LAS files directly from site

All of the Lidar data available on CT ECO can be downloaded in LAS format from the NOAA Digital Coast. It is not the best use of our time to duplicate what already exists. Plus, they are a federal agency with a lot of people and know-how so they can offer more options for download format, projections and a whole lot more than a couple of us here in Connecticut.

The static-ness of the data, especially the property lines, and the imagery. AND The lack of parcel data in some towns.

CT ECO's purpose is to provide access to existing natural resource, environmental and energy layers. DEEP has limited resources to acquire data and no resources to create data.  When a layer maintained by DEEP is updated, it is updated on CT ECO. When new statewide imagery is available, we work to make it available. 


Layers/Data folks would like to see

DEEP Layers

Bedrock geology

The bedrock geology layer is available in both the Simple and Advanced Viewers and as a map service.

Dam inventory

The focus of CT ECO is natural resource and environmental information and the DEEP Dam Inventory is used for regulation so it is not included.

Trails and Boat Launches

Trails and boat launches are recreational layers and are not included. An application to find a state boat launch is available on the DEEP website.

Updated inland wetlands

The most updated information, based on soils, is on CT ECO.

More critical habitat and vegetation data

It would be nice to have more information. The focus of CT ECO is to share data that has been developed by DEEP and other agencies.  The GIS habitat information that DEEP has ready to share is on CT ECO.   

Updated and complete open space

Mapping open space in the state was a long term project for DEEP that has ended and is no longer active.  More recently, DEEP was tasked by the Legislature to map DEEP owned land and develop a Public use and Benefit Land Registry. This work is in progress. The ultimate goal is to include open space lands held by the state, municipalities and land conservation organizations. For more information, please see the Open Space page on the DEEP website.

Public water supply service areas and Private or public wells

Water supply information is considered sensitive information and is not publicly distributed. For further information, please contact the Department of Public Health Water Supply Section.

Imagery and Lidar

2016 Aerials as a map service.

After the data are collected and delivered, we plan to serve them on CT ECO.

Complete lidar coverage and updated lidar.

The USGS has collected lidar to complete the coverage for Connecticut. This has been added to CT ECO. After 2016 statewide lidar is collected and delivered, we plan to serve it on CT ECO.

Additional historical aerial imagery. Some years or aerial photos are not georeferenced, but their indices are. It would be great if the 1974 images (and others) could be georeferenced and displayed while panning around. Other years I think are not online at all: 1968 and 1954 or is it 1955?

Some historical aerial imagery is online at UConn MAGIC and the CT State Library here and here. Yes, it would make sense to have some of the data more integrated.


Other Layers

Old USGS maps.

These exist as a map service here. Using ArcGIS Online and CT ECO, the topo maps can be combined with any map service on CT ECO.

Provide the detailed impervious analysis from CLEAR.

An impervious viewer is a good idea. CLEAR has several different datasets that could be included. We will keep in mind going forward.

Now that LIDAR is available, would be nice to go back and update the watershed basins.

Yes, it would be nice but DEEP does not currently have the resources to update either the state natural drainage basins or the federal Water Boundary Dataset (WBD).

Include a locally important soils option under farmland soils.

The Farmland Soils maps in the Map Catalog, the Simple Viewer and the Advanced Viewer include locally important soils. Read more about it in the Data Guide or Resource Guide.

FEMA flood map overlays.

We will look into this.

Include some of the NRCS WebSoil Survey map layers.

A number are included. Refer to this data guide for more information.

Would be nice to have data on weather for data modeling (rainfall totals).

This can be accessed from other websites who maintain this information.

Better road networks and hydrology that aligns with aerial imagery.

The road layer is old and road updates would need to come from another public source.

A statewide update to the hydrology layer (USGS National Hydrography Dataset) is nearly complete. Although it is an improvement over what has been available, the edits were made at 1:24,000 scale so there will still be alignment problems with high resolution aerial imagery.



To return to the survey or to send it out, click here.


Don't forget about your reward for completing the survey. Challenge yourself to one of these games (not at all endorsed by or associated with CT ECO)

GeoGuessr. Guess where in the world ... earn points for accuracy.

Cheese or Font? Can you tell the difference ...

Locatestreet. Gives you a series of random Google Street View panoramas. Your task? Figure out the location of every image.