The Cultural Resources Geographic Information System (CRGIS) is an easier way to access the wealth of data stored in the Bureau for Historic Preservation’s files. The CRGIS is built on four main Oracle database files of historic and archaeological sites and surveys. Geo-referenced data are accessed through Geomedia © WebMap. In all cases, the data in the CRGIS are reflective of the quality of the data on the original paper forms. Archaeological sites are added to the Pennsylvania Archaeological Site Survey (PASS) whenever site forms are received from any source. In the past, these have included avocational recorders, academic recorders, and cultural resource management (CRM) surveys. There has been no systematic archaeological inventory of the Commonwealth. The Historic Resources Inventory includes properties from systematic county surveys, CRM surveys, and individual property submissions. Only cultural information that was included by the original recorders or could be determined from the illustrations could be included. Environmental data for archaeological sites was often extrapolated from the maps. Locations were not necessarily field verified by BHP personnel prior to inclusion. Therefore, the quality of the data varies with the completeness and precision of the original records. Absence of data does not necessarily indicate absence of resources. The CRGIS is an ongoing initiative, and tables and associated data will undergo staged enhancements and constant updating. As of October 2012, there are approximately 21,700 archaeological sites and 130,000 historic properties in these files.
Both the PASS (recorded archaeological sites) and the Historic Resources Inventory existed in electronic data files prior to the initiation of the CRGIS. All data collected in the PHMC databases prior to 1996 were imported from the original databases. Map locations were captured by digitizing the locations from the paper USGS 7.5’ quadrangles.
Archaeological sites that had map locations in 1996 are all located in the CRGIS. Approximately 300 site records had no map locations. This included a group of 168 sites that were withheld from the record by the owner. All archaeological sites inventoried since 1996 have been geo-referenced and labeled and appear on the CRGIS maps. Site characteristics from all initial site forms have been entered in the Oracle database. New sites are added as they arrive. Site updates from subsequent excavations may not be included, depending upon whether an updated site form was filed.
Pre-1996 Historic Resources data from surveys have been geo-referenced whenever the survey reports had accompanying survey location maps. If the only mapping that we received was on individual survey forms or was only sketchmaps, these properties were not necessarily mapped. County inventories vary in their age and completeness. 36 counties have had no systematic survey. The completeness of the locational data in surveyed counties varies by county, based on the survey methodology. County by county, 75-95% of inventoried historic sites have mapped locations. The remaining un-mapped historic sites can be listed by the CRGIS for each municipality by doing a spatial query and selecting the “Unmapped Historic Sites” report. This report lists all unmapped historic resources in the database that are recorded within the same municipality(ies) as the selected area. New BHP funded surveys are using a compatible database structure that will be directly uploaded and PDFs of the forms attached. All new submissions are requiring mapping. Old forms are being scanned and attached to individual records, but this process will take many years to complete. Currently, the only scans are in Chester County. All National Register listed properties and National Historic Landmarks are mapped and have attached photographs and forms.
Historic sites are mapped by the resource that would be evaluated for the National Register of Historic Places. This means that, in the case of a district, the district boundaries would be mapped, not the individual building on the inventory. Prior to 1996, each building had its own keynumber and mapping. We are actively consolidating these data, but many of the older conditions still exist. Large numbers of resource with “undetermined” eligibility seen within a district boundary probably indicate such a case.
Archaeological survey reports submitted prior to 1996 are mapped, and the BHP is working on bringing this file up to date. Only Phase I surveys, geomorphological reports, negative survey forms, and records of disturbance are mapped. Since Phase IIs and IIIs are, by definition, within recorded sites, these reports are not mapped. Of the estimated 8000 reports in the paper files, approximately 7500 are data entered and 5300 have scanned abstracts attached. About 5200 are mapped. Since these three operations are being conducted by separate groups, it is possible for a survey to be mapped, but have no data or to have data that can be found in the database search (Ask ReGIS), but not be mapped. Please remember that only certain report types are included in the mapping.
Historic Resource Survey Reports were added to the wesite 3/31/2010. These reports often cover entire municipalities or even counties, so we have chosen not to map them. There are currently approximately 1200 reports in this database. Abstracts will be scannned and attached to these in the future, but none are currently available. They are searchable in AskReGIS by location (WHERE) and several other fields (WHAT ELSE). They also appear on the spatial search results summary. This spatial search will return listings for any reports that were done in the municipality that includes your search parameters.
The following reflects the general data quality of each of the data elements in the GIS as of October 1, 2012:
· Mainframe fields exported to table for sites through 1996; new sites data entered as received.
· All recorded archaeological sites that have locations are mapped and labeled. Sites are being added as received. Slight delay may be seen due to work load.
· An estimated 95% of the surveys have been data entered and 68% have scanned abstracts attached.
· All archaeological surveys that have mapped locations through 1996 are mapped and labeled; an estimated 95% of all Phase I surveys are mapped.
· New reports are added when received. Slight delay may be seen due to work load.
· Mainframe fields exported to table for Historic sites through 1996; all new sites entered as received.
· All previously mapped sites are mapped and labeled. Unmapped historic sites represent from 5-25% of inventoried county sites. Unmapped sites can be generated as a list by municipality.
· Actively working on consolidating inventories from historic districts.
· About 95% of the reports in our files have been entered into the tables. New reports will be added as received.
· Map typology has been defined, but no historic surveys have been mapped and mapping is not currently planned.