Agencies are advancing in the use of digital tools to better inform real property management, but further improvement is needed to fully integrate historic property information and realize all potential benefits from increased review efficiency for federal and nonfederal project planning. Federal agencies are expanding and improving the ways they use digital tools to track and manage historic properties in their care. Advances have included the conversion of legacy data to digital format, linking databases for use across agencies’ divisions and geography, and sharing and exchanging information with key partners in historic preservation work like SHPOs. Agencies have also made advances in how they use geospatial information to understand historic properties in fulfillment of their identification responsibilities, as well as how they use GIS data to inform decision making when federal or applicant-driven projects are planned on federal lands and property. These advances are helping agencies realize new efficiencies in Section 106 review work and greater awareness among staff involved in property management activities about where historic properties are located. Continuing improvements in this area promise additional benefits when they are broadly implemented by agencies.
›› Agencies should identify and commit resources to progress in inventorying their historic properties, including mapping historic properties, as appropriate, to ensure accurate GIS layers. Survey technologies such as LIDAR and drones can be embraced by federal agencies where they offer the potential for a fuller understanding of historic properties and landscapes that are difficult to access. ›› The ACHP should work with federal agencies to implement recommendations in the ACHP’s Digital Information Task Force Recommendations and Action Plan (2020), particularly those related to enabling cultural resources GIS data exchange between agencies, states, tribes, and local governments and to properly managing access to and securing sensitive cultural resources data in agency databases and mapping applications. ›› Agencies should explore opportunities for partnerships and secure data sharing with SHPOs/THPOs/Indian tribes to augment their survey information and to better inform nonfederal project planning on or around federal lands/facilities. ›› Agencies should fully integrate historic property information into agency asset/ property management databases.
62 | IN A SPIRIT OF STEWARDSHIP: A REPORT ON FEDERAL HISTORIC PROPERTY MANAGEMENT 2021
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