Best Practices for Establishing and Maintaining Statewide Databases of Cultural Resources at State DOTs

Focus Area

Historic Preservation/Cultural Resources


Community & Cultural Concerns




Under $99k


1-2 years

Research Idea Scope

TERI Adminstrator Note (January 2009): Project has been funded as NCHRP 25-25: Task 61 for 2009.

Many state transportation agencies have successfully integrated GIS into their cultural resource work, using historic resource locations to assist with project planning.  Information is most often developed within project specific efforts.  A statewide GIS database of historic and archeological information would streamline future work and would also allow states to more accurately study the cumulative effects to their cultural resources.  Problems exist because archaeological site locations are commonly viewed as sensitive and have restricted access provisions, and also because resources are in constant flux with substantial rates of resource loss. Work would involve a survey of state Departments of Transportation to first identify those states with statewide GIS databases.  Then follow up interviews would be conducted with those states that have GIS databases to identify how project developed information is added to the database, processes for input and processes for maintenance and keeping the database up to date.  Also investigated would be how the database is made available to transportation planners and other interested groups.

TERI Administrator Note (June 2007): Related Research
NCHRP Report 542, Evaluating Cultural Resource Significance: Implementation Tools (2005)

Abstract: This report presents the findings of a research project to develop information technology (IT) tools that improve and streamline the National Register evaluation of cultural resources. The researchers developed two IT prototypes: a searchable database of historic contexts [the Historic Property Screening Tool (HPST)] and a collection of National Register evaluation documents [the Electronic Cultural Resource Evaluation Library (ECREL)]. The second prototype provides an explicit, but flexible tool for improving National Register eligibility determinations. This report will be of particular interest to cultural resource management professionals.

Suggested By

Lisa Zeimer, Parsons Brinckerhoff

[email protected]