Todd Tucky, Ohio Historic Preservation Office

In 1997, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office (OHPO) initiated a comprehensive program to transfer data from over 100,000 paper files into digital format while building a comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) program for implementing its use. The data automation program focused extensively on the Ohio Historic Inventory and Ohio Archaeological Inventory (OHI & OAI respectively), as well as development of a customized GIS application known as MAPIT. This effort was supported by grants from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Approximately 15,000 OHI forms were coded with grant assistance from the Gund Foundation in the mid-1980's. In 1997, the second and much larger phase of the OHI coding project was undertaken to examine, edit and enter data from paper forms into digital format. As a result of this project, a total of 81,078 forms were codified into electronic form. This represents a complete record of OHI received through calendar year 1997. Since March 1999, work has continued on OHI's received from 1998 to present date.

With respect to the OAI, an initial attempt at digital coding occurred in 1985 during which approximately 17,000 records were entered into an electronic database, under a grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In November of 1998, the second major effort to transfer the OAI into electronic format began in earnest. The goal of this project was to first check, edit, correct, and enter data from a backlog of over 7,500 forms that had accumulated and then 'clean-up' known issues with existing UTM coordinates and/or other spatial attribute data. 'Clean-up' of the data has taken a variety of forms and largely involves methodology designed to catch errors, typographic problems, inconsistencies, misplottings of sites, updating existing forms, adding continuation sheets, coding new entry forms, correcting the 7.5' topographic maps, transferring locational data from existing 15' quadrangles, and handling any other obvious errors in need of correction.

UTM correction consists of comparing OAI form, map, description, narrative and coordinates against a USGS 7.5' quadrangle. If the information on the OAI is correct, that record is added to the database. If the centroid of the site is not consistent with the plotting and associated information, then a new point is created with the corrected coordinates and entered into the database. As a result of this project, approximately 14,000 of approximately 23,000 forms being examined to date have had their UTM coordinates corrected. Currently, there are 32,881 sites recorded in the electronic OAI database and approximately 1,600 new sites have been added each year.

The MAPIT (Mapping and Preservation Inventory Tool) is a customized version of the popular ArcView GIS program developed by Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). MAPIT was designed by the National Park Service Heritage Preservation Services Cultural Resources GIS Facility (CRGIS). The MAPIT program is designed to bring various cultural resources together into one comprehensive computer desktop environment and is specifically designed for use by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office (OHPO) and by researchers of Ohio's cultural resources, both public and private. By providing the capability to extensively examine all of Ohio's resources in a spatial context, it is hoped that decision-makers will be able to use these data to make informed decisions while planning for a multitude of activities across the State. One of the powerful features of the MAPIT program is the ability to customize the program to address a variety of inventories and research questions, and thus once new data are available, they can be easily added to the existing application and coverages. The ability to use MAPIT will be available on public terminals at the OHPO central office and, to a more restricted degree, via the Internet.

While we are working to provide expedient and widespread access to the data as soon as possible, responsible stewardship of the data and technologies for protecting sensitive information are being developed specifically for this automation program. When the data are available, instructions for access will be provided at the OHPO website. Therefore, we strongly recommend going to the OHPO website (www.ohiohistory.org/resource/histpres/) which will provide all information about what data are available and in what format. Also, from the website, access will be available for the on-line versions of the National Register, OAI and OHI databases. The National Register database is scheduled to be on-line by March 2000; the OAI and OHI databases will go online thereafter. Again, any information about the availability of the on-line databases will be provided at the website.

Finally, while OHPO is at the end of its second major electronic coding project, in reality we are at the beginning of using this new tool to spatially examine the cultural record of the state. Future efforts will include continued improvement of the databases, issuance of electronic forms for entry and initial quality control, additional on-line features and query capabilities, new coverages, additional database integration, multi-media enhancements, and greater accessibility. For questions about this program, please contact me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Latest News

by Kevin Schwarz on May 10, 2021
by Eric Olson on April 30, 2021