What’s Old is New on the HPOWEB mapping website

One benefit of using a Geographic Information System (GIS) computer mapping software is the ability to overlay historic paper maps on contemporary aerial imagery. The HPOWEB mapping website now provides users the opportunity to view over a dozen maps published between 1865 and 1929 in this manner.

NewBern

The first step to viewing historic paper maps “at their real-world location” is to scan, or digitize, the drawing. Next, the resulting digital image must be pinned to coordinates at the location it represents – a process called georeferencing. In this way, the GIS software will know, for example, that a map of Surry County should “show up” not in the Atlantic Ocean, but rather in northwestern North Carolina.

The good folks at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have georeferenced over 150 historic maps – a collection that includes county soil surveys, highway maps, town plans, and an 1884 map depicting the “former territorial limits of the Cherokee Nation of Indians”. Each map contains a plethora of details of great interest to historians, archaeologists, and arm-chair culturalists.

You can view these georeferenced maps at their website: http://www2.lib.unc.edu/reference/gis/historical/ncmaps.html

The Historic Preservation Office GIS staff have incorporated 14 of these maps into HPOWEB so that users can not only see the historic map in relation to contemporary aerial imagery, but also in relation to historic resources that have been previously surveyed and mapped by the office.

These maps are viewable only within the Advanced User version of HPOWEB, accessible from: http://gis.ncdcr.gov/hpoweb/default.htm?config=AdvancedUser.xml

From the toolbar, click on the Advanced Tools icon (it looks like a toolbox with a white plus sign), and then on the first option, Map Services.

AdvancedTools

MapServices

In the Enter Keyword text box, type historic, and then click the Find Data button.

FindData

The first match in the list of choices at the bottom of the dialog box is NC Historic Maps.

KeywordMatch

Hover over the name and, once the yellow highlight appears, click the Load Service button.

LoadService

The scanned, georeferenced historic paper maps will display in HPOWEB across the state. At this point, you can minimize or close the Map Services dialog box.

HistoricMapsDisplay

The service is listed as a new layer at the top of the HPO Data Layers content list. Note that you can see which historic maps we have displayed by clicking on the small grey arrow to the left of the layer name.

DataLayersList

ExpandedDataLayersList

Zoom into the southern portion of the Surry County map, published in 1921 by the North Carolina Geological and Economic Survey.  The map displays schools, houses, churches, installed and suggested water transmission lines, and developed and undeveloped dam sites.

SurryCounty

Next, zoom in further to see the Little Richmond School.

LittleRichmondSchool

Since the NC Historic Maps layer is at the top of the HPO Data Layers content list, it obscures the other HPO map data listed below it.  Move the NC Historic Maps layer down the list by clicking on the small grey arrow to the right the layer name, and then clicking the option to Move down.

MoveDown

After doing this once, the HPO Data points will appear on top of the historic map (the boundary shading is still below the historic map).  Note that there is a surveyed point for the c. 1920 Little Richmond School, though it is no longer extant, having been moved or demolished sometime before 1993.

LayerMovedDown

SR0551_Gone

Just to the east of the Little Richmond School is another school labeled Col. on the Surry County map.  Might this be a Rosenwald School?  While no school currently exists at this spot, either, knowing the location of this second school could provide very useful to a historian researching the education of African-American students of Surry County.

We hope users find this new addition of old maps helpful.  Let us know if you would like us to add another of UNC’s collection of georeferenced maps to HPOWEB – or perhaps a digitized map from your own collection!

Contact GIS staffers Andrew Edmonds (andrew.edmonds@ncdcr.gov) or Michael Southern (michael.southern@ncdcr.gov) to learn more.

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100 Counties of parcel data now in HPOWEB

All 100 North Carolina counties now have parcel data available for viewing in HPOWEB!

See our previous blog post for more information about what detail information is available and how you can search for the property you need!

Trenton

 

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Parcel data added to HPOWEB (thanks to NC One Map!)

As of this week, users of HPOWEB can now display the parcel boundaries of 25 counties across North Carolina!

Trenton

These parcel data are provided as a service by NC One Map as their initial foray into creating a single, standardized parcel boundary GIS layer for the entire state.  This is remarkable considering that every county tax assessor collects a slightly different set of data – and maintains these data in slightly different ways (think of how many different types of parcel numbers you’ve ever seen).

Read more below.   This new functionality is only available in the Advanced User version of HPOWEB – not the General Audience version.

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Within HPOWEB, you’ll notice that Parcels has been added as a new HPO Data Layer.  It sits near the bottom between Boundary shading and Base Data.  It is checked off when HPOWEB is first opened.  Also notice that there are four sublayers.

Parcels_DataLayers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It will be easier to view the Parcels layer (at least initially) after checking OFF the All NC HPO Data and Boundary shading layers.  Then check ON the Parcels layer.

Parcels_DataLayers_TurnedOn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each of the four sublayers automatically displays (and un-displays) at different scales.  At a statewide scale, County Boundaries displays as dashed yellow lines and Counties Contributing Parcels displays as solid grey.  Notice that the first 25 participating counties are spread out across the state and include both rural and urbanized areas.

Parcels_StatewideAvailabilityAs you zoom in, the Parcel Centroids (blue dots in the center of the lots) will display – they turn on at a 1:200,000 scale.  Closer still, Parcels (blue lines marking the boundary of each lot) comes on – at a 1:40,000 scale.

Here’s an example of Trenton, NC in Jones County.  You can click on any parcel to get a pop-up information box of basic data.

Parcels_Trenton

Be aware of some issues regarding the data:

  1. Consult the county tax assessor for the most current data
  2. Attributes like Year built can be inaccurate
  3. Exercise caution with the parcel numbers.  For instance, the Durham County data references an old PIN, not the newer Parcel ID employed by the tax assessor.

In addition to clicking on individual parcels to obtain information, you can also use a new Zoom to Parcel tool that we have added to the toolbar.

Parcels_SearchToolbar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parcels_SearchTool

 

If you know the parcel number of a property – but not where it is located – you can search for it using this tool.  (Caveats include the current 25-county limit and the caution mentioned in the previous paragraph.)

To speed the search, we recommend adding the County name, too.  The example in the tool suggests entering “Wake” and “1704706147”.  If you do that and click search, you’ll find a match for the example parcel.  Click the Zoom to button once to drill all the way down to the parcel.

Parcels_SearchTool_Results

 

We are uncertain when the remaining 75 counties will be added to this service, but we sure do appreciate what they’ve accomplished so far!

Happy parceling!

 

 

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GIS users, rejoice! You can now download HPO data!

You spoke, we listened.

You wanted more access to our GIS historic resource data, so we’re providing it.

In addition to our interactive web map – HPOWEB, in addition to the streamable web map services we publish, and in addition to our mobile app you can use with your phone or tablet to discover historic resources “in the field”, we are now offering a data download so that you can work directly with our data in your native GIS environment.

Access our GIS data from within HPOWEB by selecting the Data Download button in the toolbar.  (This tool is not available from the General Audience version of HPOWEB, but rather only from the Advanced User version.)

Users can now select the Data Download icon in the toolbar to download GIS data

Users can now select the Data Download icon in the HPOWEB toolbar to download GIS data

Users can save a zipped file to their local machine.  We will update this zipped file monthly, so users are encouraged to check HPOWEB for a live view of the HPO geodatabase, which is updated with new features (and attribute data) on a daily basis.

The zipped file contains all historic resource data displayed in HPOWEB (as of the date of extraction), including both points and polygons, across the entire state of North Carolina – currently almost 70,000 places.

After you download the data, please consider filling out our feedback form to help us understand who uses historic resource data and how we can continue to improve its delivery.  Thanks!

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Upgraded HPOWEB is now live

Last week we notified readers that some long-awaited upgrades to HPOWEB were soon to be published.

The improvements are now live, and we will post blurbs and tutorial videos about them to the NC HPO Facebook page.

In addition to all the wonderful new changes, we thought we’d remind you of some of the great parts of HPOWEB that we’re retaining:

  • All National Register nomination forms are available in PDF format, either from within HPOWEB or from an alphabetical list on the HPO website
  • The website referenced above enables a user to open HPOWEB zoomed in to one specific National Register listing
  • Users can perform text and spatial (graphic) searches across all HPO data layers
  • Improvements to historic resource symbology and historic district shading

Let us know how you like the newly upgraded HPOWEB!

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HPOWEB upgrades coming next week

Long-awaited upgrades to HPOWEB will be published next week, likely on Thursday, July 25 or Friday, July 26.

One structural change: we will now publish General Audience and Advanced User versions of HPOWEB to accommodate better the different needs of brand new users and seasoned veterans.

Other changes to HPOWEB that we are excited to bring you:

  • One Click Information
  • Enhanced Searching
  • Helpful Links
  • Latitude/Longitude Support
  • Zoom to Geographic Features
  • Enhanced Printing
  • 50,000 More Surveyed Places
  • Super-charged Searching
  • Additional Background Views
  • Upload Map Services
  • Upload Shapefiles
  • Capture/Go To Coordinates
  • Mobile Use Instructions

Learn more about these changes next week as the NC HPO Facebook page will profile each one with a quick blurb and a tutorial video.  Stay tuned!

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District shading added to HPOWEB

Last month saw a change to the symbology used in HPOWEB; this month sees a similar small, but potentially effective, change in the way historic districts and other boundaries are displayed.

HPOWEB users will notice that semi-transparent, colored shading has been added to all historic districts (HDs) and other historic resource boundaries.

The new shading layer appears in the HPOGIS Layers table of contents,  Users may uncheck and check the entire shading layer, or individual sublayers.

Boundary shading has been added to the HPOGIS Layers

Boundary shading has been added to the HPOGIS Layers

The shading for each class reflects the color choice of the associated points; so, National Register HDs appear light blue, Study List HDs appear light green, Determined Eligible HDs appear light orange, and Local HDs appear light pink.

Where two or more district or boundaries overlap, a blending of these colors appears.

This change will be most effective in highly complex, urban areas such as Wilmington.  Below is a screen capture of what eastern Wilmington looks like in HPOWEB without shading — it is difficult to say which portions of town are inside historic districts:

Wilmington, NC with boundary shading turned off

Wilmington, NC with boundary shading turned off

Now, with shading, it is much more easy to discern the portions of town inside historic districts:

Wilmington, NC with shading turned on

Wilmington, NC with shading turned on

If you need to view an aerial image of a building with absolute clarity, simply uncheck the shading.  The boundary outline will still display, unless you uncheck that as well – outlines are listed below each point layer.

Boundary outlines can be turned off by unchecking the box beside its name

Boundary outlines can be turned off by unchecking the box beside its name

Let us know how you like the new change!

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