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By Alice Guerrant, Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs archaeologist and Historic Properties Research Center manager.
Is your house listed on the National Register of Historic Places? How long ago was that house down the street built? What did the area look like 50 years ago? Now there’s a new way to find answers to these questions.
The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs is pleased to unveil the updated version of its Cultural and Historical Resource Information System (CHRIS), a Web-based geographic information system (GIS) on historic properties that are located in the state of Delaware. This new edition of CHRIS is more comprehensive, interactive and faster than the original version that was launched in 2009.
The new version of CHRIS was developed as a collaborative project involving division staff, the Delaware Department of State and GeoDecisions, an information-technology company that specializes in geospatial solutions. Additional assistance was provided by the Delaware Department of Technology and Information.
The public side of the new CHRIS, shown in the images above, delivers information on Delaware’s National Historic Landmarks and National Register-listed properties, with a quick reference-table pop-up and attached nominations and photographs that can be viewed on-line or downloaded to your computer. In addition, forms and reports on non-confidential properties are available (archaeological-site locations are confidential).
As with the previous system, cultural-resource-management consultants; some academic researchers and private non-profit organizations; and federal-, state- and local-agency staff members that are planning projects can apply for passwords that will allow them to look at the full range of information, conduct research and view archaeological reports. For the first time, the system allows people who survey historic properties to interactively map and upload forms, making for more rapid review and posting of new information.
Getting the new system up and running is only the first step. Since our goal is to have most of the Historic Properties Research Center holdings available on-line, there is still much work to be done: mapping properties, scanning and converting documents, and uploading new information. There may be opportunities for you to help out. For now, just try out CHRIS and let us know what you think!