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Thread: GIS and historic preservation

  1. #1

    GIS and historic preservation

    Hello Everyone,

    I am about to begin creating a GIS database for my historic districts and properties. I was hoping to get some feedback from others who have this data in a GIS format. What type of data did you collect initially and what type of data do you update on a regular basis? Did you create point features, do you use the parcels, or do you use the building footprints to represent each structure? What type of analysis do you perform, if any?

    I would really appreciate any thoughts or experiences from anyone who has experience using GIS in Historic Preservation.

    Thanks in advance for your comments
    Chris Fine
    City of Dayton, OH

  2. #2
    Dear Chris,

    I did a GIS overlay of historic properties and districts for the City of Austin, TX in 1999. The major advantage I had was that I used the city's existing zoning data and simply added information about historic zoning case numbers and other data to the current file.

    Another really good example is the GIS project done by the City of Round Rock, TX (just north of Austin). Their plannning department has an excellent web site and they built their data tables from the gorund up. I highly recommend contacting someone there for more advice.

    If you have any other questions, just drop me a line at the return address in this message.


    David W. Danenfelzer
    Housing Specialist
    The Enterprise Foundation
    Austin, TX

  3. #3

    Aug 2001
    Chicago, Illinois
    This is such a great discussion thread, I hate to see it go dormant. I've had some success in coding national and local landmarks to our GIS database, but it still leaves a lot to be desired. I can include anything that can be reduced to a table, but large fields of description get cut off. Ideally, I'd like all landmarks to be denoted according to their status (local, national, pending, whatever), and additional links to digital photos, certificates of appropriateness, and other useful information. Has anyone been successful in developing this kind of system?

    A related questions is how to make this information easily available to other planners and the community-at-large. So much information, and so little access.

  4. #4
    It sounds like you have a lot of data that doesn't fit in your existing database fields. Create a new table, with a common field to your parcel file (if any). You can then add whatever data you can get, and link (or "join") it to the other table.

    The best way to share map data is on the Net, but you shouldn't jump into ArcIMS or something if you're kind of new to GIS. You could make your own maps and reports on the info, and export them as .html or .pdf for your local Internet guru to include on your site. Be sure you have all the administrative okays for the project, it's not a tiny endeavor.

  5. #5
    Although I work at the site-level mostly in State Parks, I digitize building footprints. Whatever you do, try to relate the type of data to the type of phenomena:
    Historic property = polygon
    Historic trail = polyline
    Historic marker = point
    Unless you need to do site maps, I'd imagine you'd use polygons mostly. No need to re-invent the map, so to speak. Just try to make the GIS match reality as well as possible.

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