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Updated Cape Cod Commission Chronology Viewer

The Cape Cod Commission’s Chronology Viewer allows users to understand past land use and observe how the region has changed over time.

This web-based reference tool enables users to view historic trends and aerial imagery from 1938 to 2020. Historical United States Geological Survey (USGS) images were made available to the Commission by the Cape Cod Conservation District. Commission staff worked with the images to incorporate them into modern mapping software.

The application, first built by Cape Cod Commission staff in 2015, has been upgraded with a new look, updated data, and an easier-to-use interface.

“The Cape Cod Chronology Viewer gives me easy access to the underlying historic aerial images that allow me to get to the “how and why” of coastal change,” says Cape Cod Cooperative Extension and Woods Hole Sea Grant Coastal Processes Specialist Greg Berman.

The application’s slider feature allows users to compare changes over time – such as changes to road configurations, buildings, and the region’s ever-changing coastline. For instance, users can compare layers to see what Cape Cod looked like when Route 6 ended in a rotary near Cape Cod Community College, the difference in traffic patterns at Provincetown’s MacMillan Wharf in Provincetown, and construction of the Cape Cod Rail Trail.

The 2020 aerial data was supplied by the regional aerial data acquisition project and planimetrics data. Taken by flyover, the images within the Chronology Viewer are high-resolution and provide sharper edges than aerial images taken by satellite.

The Chronology Viewer can be accessed at

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