Section 1. The division of highways, in this chapter called the department, shall compile statistics relative to the public ways of counties, cities and towns, and make such investigations relative thereto as it considers expedient. It may be consulted by, and shall without charge advise, officers of counties, cities or towns having the care of and authority over public ways as to their construction, maintenance, alteration or repair; but such advice shall not impair the legal duties and obligations of any county, city or town. It shall prepare maps of the commonwealth on which shall be shown county, city and town boundaries, the public ways and the state highways, with their names if practicable, and may sell such maps or other maps prepared by it from time to time in connection with the work under its charge relative to highways at such prices and on such conditions as it may determine. It shall collect, collate and make available, geoscience data of the commonwealth, for the purpose of aiding in the search for and evaluation of reserve sources of water, gas, materials suitable for road building and all other minerals within the land and water boundaries of the commonwealth, the location of which it shall, so far as practicable, designate on maps which shall be open to inspection by the public. It shall give public notice of and hold at least one public meeting annually in each county for the open discussion of questions relative to the public ways.