NPS Arrowhead LogoCall to Action Item #17, “Go Digital,” along with several other Call to Action Items, focuses on updating, transforming and integrating digital experiences within the National Park Service (NPS) to enhance public understanding as well as internal NPS resource management.

In February 2010 the NPS approved cultural resource spatial data transfer standards to help document our cultural resource spatial data, used in geographic information system (GIS) applications throughout the NPS and for the public. Spatial data, used to describe the geographic locations of natural or constructed features, is used in creating maps, websites and other applications. In addition, the new spatial data transfer standards would help integrate the numerous cultural resource databases maintained by the NPS for cultural resource management.

The National Park Service’s Cultural Resources Geographic Information Systems Facility (CRGIS) helps lead the use of GIS, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and Remote Sensing technologies in historic preservation within the National Park system as well as with State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPO) and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPO). In May 2012, the Cultural Resource GIS Facility (CRGIS) began a project to implement these new spatial data transfer standards with the Cultural Landscapes Inventory and List of Classified Structures databases.

In coordination with the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, CRGIS will be working with regional GIS coordinators as well as regional cultural resource managers in July 2012 to automate legacy data contained within these databases, creating enhanced GIS data and forming a base for an authoritative NPS-wide cultural resource data set. To assist the implementation of the standards for new cultural resource data being created at park, regional and national program levels, CRGIS is also scheduling a series of training classes for each region, beginning with the Pacific West region in August 2012.

In a parallel process, CRGIS is implementing the cultural resource spatial data transfer standards for the cultural resource partnership programs, such as Historic Preservation Grants, Historic Preservation Tax Incentives, the National Register of Historic Places and the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey. CRGIS scheduled training classes for these programs in June and July 2012.

As part of this implementation strategy, CRGIS is also creating an authoritative GIS data set for the National Register of Historic Places in July 2012. This National Register of Historic Places data set will serve as the basis for automating other partnership program data and provide important links between the many NPS cultural resource data bases.

In coordination with the National Register of Historic Places program, CRGIS will continue to provide guidance in collecting and creating GIS data, as well as producing paper maps for inclusions in National Register nominations. A third webinar regarding GIS and the National Register is scheduled for the National Register Webinar series on July 19, 2012. Companion guidance documents and recordings of the webinar are being developed and will be posted on the National Register of Historic Places website.

For additional information, please contact John Knoerl at (202) 354.2141 or