In early 1974, Maryland’s Automated Geographic Information (MAGI) System was developed at the Department of State Planning by Jack Dangermond, the President of Environmental Systems Research Institute. The work was completed under the direction of Secretary Vladimir A. Wahbe and Edwin Thomas, Director of Comprehensive State Planning, who managed an impressive staff of visionary planners, including;

  • John Antenucci
  • John Garber
  • John M. Morgan, III
  • Ray Puzio

These individuals were all instrumental in the early development of the MAGI System.

The following information is taken directly from an original report prepared in 1979 by Donald C. Outen for the Department of State Planning. At the time of the report, Michel Lettre was the Director of the Office of Planning Data and the MAGI System staff were:

Susan Alderman
Janet Clocker
John Garber
Karen Maisenhalder
Thomas Nasuta

The Introduction to the report stated that:

“The Maryland Automated Geographic Information (MAGI) System is a computer-assisted system for the storage, retrieval, manipulation, and display of geographic grid-referenced data. The MAGI System was developed by the Environmental Systems Research Institute of Redlands, California for the Maryland Department of State Planning. Implemented in 1974, the System is designed to assist the Department in the preparation of its State Development Plan. Since that time, the System has been expanded and significantly improved,resulting in greater structural efficiency, lower operating costs, and greater user flexibility. The System has been used extensively by other State agencies for land and water resources analyses.

As initially developed, the MAGI System consisted of a central State-wide data base containing nearly 88,000 grid cells of 91.8 acres and a package of linked software subroutines. As now comprised, the data base includes not only computer stored data, but also data base maps, technical manuals, supporting test descriptions (library lists), and tabulations. The MAGI software package is capable of manipulating data at any size and scale. In addition to State-wide applications, other large scale data bases have subsequently been structured for special analyses within the State.”

The Data Base section of the report stated that:

“Geographic data for the State-wide data base are chosen according to several criteria: extent of coverage, timeliness, quality, scale, and suitability to grid referencing. Data are gathered from various Federal, State, and local government agencies and are reformatted to county base maps at a scale of 1:63,360 (1 inch = 1 mile), or 1:62,500 where topographic maps serve as the base. The State Plane Coordinate (SPC) System established for the U.S. is used as the grid referencing base because (1) the entire State is included in one SPC zone, (2) the majority of available data is complied to the Lambert Conformal Conic projection used for the SPC System, and (3) absolute data accuracy for distances and areas, such as decimal latitude/longitude, is not warranted for the generalized analysis of State-wide data.”

This section also described the data variables which are simply listed here. They include:

Natural Soil Groups
Topographic Slope
Mineral Resources
Vegetation Cover Types
Unique Natural Features and Scenic Areas
Endangered Species
Bay Bathymetry
Edge Effect
Stream Classification

1970 Land Use/Land Cover
1973 Land Use/Land Cover
1978 Land Use/Land Cover
Archaeological sites
County Sewer/Water Service Areas
County Comprehensive Plans
Transportation Facilities
Public Properties
Historic Sites
Outdoor Recreation/Open Space

Election Districts
County Boundaries