Crowd Sourcing Used to Gather Property Information

The Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) recently launched the Historic Property Inventory (HPI) module for the award-winning Washington Information System for Architectural and Archaeological Records Data (WISAARD). GeoEngineers’ Applied Technology Group worked with DAHP to develop the ability for public users to add historic preservation information to a centralized statewide data clearinghouse. The framework for the HPI application is based on a Smithsonian Institution model for historical data management and provides DAHP with not only a method for centralizing data that has been stored in filing cabinets, but also the ability for a variety of partners and volunteers to maintain to maintain the inventory.

“State agencies are working hard to cost-effectively protect valuable and vulnerable historic resources. The HPI application provides an excellent framework to allow crowd sourcing of the data entry and streamline the regulatory review for projects,” said Joanne Markert, a GeoEngineers Project Manager. “We enjoyed working with DAHP to develop this creative and unique approach for preserving the communities’ historic properties.” 

Crowd sourcing leverages technology to enable communities, agencies, and even privately held businesses contribute information and data to help fill a public need. In addition to the cost-saving benefit of this approach, communities take a larger investment in the long-term viability of the program and data.

Megan Duvall, historic preservation specialist and HPI project manager for DAHP, is seeking to integrate even more citizen participation in HPI. “We have enjoyed working with GeoEngineers on a cutting-edge project that allows historic preservationists to collaboratively and efficiently manage their data online. Through this integrated approach to historic property inventory work, we have expedited our regulatory reviews and are adding to our vast collection of potentially historic properties across the state on a daily basis.”  

GeoEngineers Applied Technology Group has worked closely with DAHP for more than five years ensuring DAHP’s ability to preserve State historic properties using technology. 

Scot McQueen, Managing Principal of the Applied Technology Group, also commented, “We are very excited to create such an adaptive framework that users with very little technical training can operate. I think one of the keys to this project is the ability for the users to interact with these historic property records through a map-based interface.” GeoEngineers developed HPI utilizing ESRI’s ArcGIS Server technologies and Microsoft’s .Net environment.