• Cultural Resources Geographic Information Systems (CRGIS)

About the NPS Cultural Resource Spatial Data Transfer Standards

The National Park Service Cultural Resource Spatial Data Transfer Standards are intended to provide a framework for organizing our cultural resource spatial data, documenting its lineage and facilitating data integration as well as data sharing.

OMB Circular A-16 creates the Federal Geographic Data Committee, an interagency organization designed to coordinate spatial data development and dissemination also identifies the National Park Service as the lead Federal agency for the cultural resource spatial data theme. This responsibility includes the establishment of data standards. Before creating Federal agency-wide standards, the National Park Service needs to have an established internal standard. The National Park Service GIS Council established formal procedures for creating internal standards and approved the Cultural Resource Spatial Data Transfer Standard in February 2010.

The primary benefit of using the standards remains the organization and documentation of cultural resource data to allow users to share spatial data between parks, parks and regions, among regions, between parks/regions and programs and among programs. The standards will help insure spatial data consistency, quality and accuracy. Using location as a way of linking the 15 existing descriptive cultural resource databases together further allows users to explore all facets of a cultural resource in ways that are not currently possible.

As a spatial data transfer standard, the cultural resource standards only address the spatial representation of cultural resources, accuracy of data and feature level metadata which describes how each of the spatial entities was created. The standards do not address descriptive information already captured in existing National Park Service cultural resource databases. The standards do establish a series of 18 data layers, based on National Register of Historic Places cultural resource types as well as 34 fields of feature level metadata to describe the geographic parameters of each feature and how they relate to individual parks/regions. To accompany the standards themselves a data model, in the form of a geodatabase, has been created to assist users in complying with the standards, providing a platform for parks/regions/programs to quickly migrate data into the standards to accommodate data sharing

A guideline document is provided and available to the public through the NPS IRMA Portal and can be downloaded here. A template ArcGIS geodatabase adhering to the standards is provided here.