black bar with title, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior and the arrowhead

History & Culture Home

History & Culture
History and Culture title graphic

National Park Service Cultural Resource Spatial Data Transfer Standards

Background Definition of a Spatial Data Transfer Standard
Purpose and Benefit Contents of the Cultural Resource Spatial Data Standards
Who the Cultural Resource Standards Apply to Getting Help
More Information

Adopted by the NPS GIS Council: February 2010

Selected data layers from the Cane River National Heritage Area GIS, created by CRGIS, showing the various cultural landscape boundaries in the areaThroughout the field of historic preservation, accurate locational data remains a fundamental component to understanding cultural resources. Examining resources in a geographic context allows preservationists to study the interaction of those resources and to identify larger trends across landscapes. Using technological tools such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to better manage and protect our cultural resources is therefore increasingly critical. With the implementation of such systems however, comes the need for improved data management, which in turn necessitates the development of standardized elements to facilitate data sharing and dissemination.

  • Within the NPS Cultural Resource programs, spatially we consider each resource a single entity
  • NPS Cultural Resource program experts in various disciplines view those individual sites from different perspectives, which manifest in a series of many separate databases cataloging the same resources with terminology for characteristics specific to their fields of study
  • Maintaining these perspectives is a priority, however geography can integrate these disparate databases, allowing cultural resource managers to understand individual resources in a more complete context
  • To accomplish the goals of more effectively and efficiently integrating our cultural resource information using geography however, that locational data must be standardized to ensure consistency and quality