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Environmental Review Toolkit

Rights-of-Way Databases/Portals

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Historic Preservation Team (HPT) Portal

Program Description

Screenshot of the Arizona Historic Preservation Team Portal web site

The Historic Preservation Team Portal Screen.
(Source: Arizona Department of Transportation.)

Program Benefits

  • Arizona DOT (ADOT) staff can quickly assess the current state of knowledge about historic properties along any highway ROW in the State.
  • Information on consultations with Tribes, the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and other agencies regarding National Register eligibility and project effects is accessible through the Portal.
  • The HPT Portal aids ADOT in determining if proposed projects or activities within existing ROWs will affect historic properties.

The Arizona DOT (ADOT) has a web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) document repository and retrieval program (i.e., Portal). This “Historic Preservation Team” Portal houses searchable reports, consultation letters, and information on historic properties related to ADOT construction projects, disposal sites, material sources sites, and miscellaneous district projects. The Historic Preservation Team (HPT) Portal was originally developed in 2003, and has recently been updated for improved functionality. Documents can be viewed, downloaded, edited (depending on user access level), or shown on a GIS map. The interactive GIS map is comprised of many layers that can be queried to view specific geographical locations, projects, historic properties, etc. Portal users can highlight a historic property within the interactive GIS map and access all documentation on the property, including reports, site forms, and project correspondence. The Portal is updated regularly as new information is obtained from ongoing projects. Contact information and consultation protocols for agency and Tribal contacts also are listed in the HPT Portal. The Portal is used by ADOT staff for project development, and also is accessible to approved contractors and qualified cultural resource professionals.

Setting Up the Program

Program Elements

  • Historic Preservation in Early Project Development
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Historic Property Database
  • Historic Property “Red Flags”

The original Portal was developed as part of an initiative to improve the efficiency of historic preservation compliance activities. Key to this initiative was a more organized, reliable, and easy to use system of accessing previously collected information relating to historic property investigations within ADOT maintained highways. The Portal was designed with the following functions:

  • A searchable GIS interface that provides all basic information for historic preservation compliance tasks, such as ADOT roadway designation, ADOT District, mileposts, land ownership, and county.
  • Storage and access to historic property survey reports, as well as Tribal and agency correspondence via a text-based search function or a GIS search function.
  • Locational information on historic properties recorded along ADOT maintained roadways.
  • Ability to generate a mail-merge document with Tribal contacts and addresses, based on the selection of a project area.
  • Ability to add, edit, and delete any of the above types of data.
  • A news/discussion function, a calendar, ftp location, and a photograph storage area.

Challenges Encountered

The Arizona Historic Preservation Team Portal Logo

The Historic Preservation Team Portal.
(Source: Arizona Department of Transportation.)

The original Portal, developed and maintained by an outside vendor could not be updated or maintained by ADOT’s internal information technology (IT) system. The new Portal was developed and will be maintained in-house. It is important to make sure that the platform used in developing any new electronic/digital program is compatible with the agency’s in-house system.

Due to the lack of in-house technical support for the Portal at its inception, the Portal’s GIS layer could not be updated until the recent development of the new Portal.

Program Maintenance

Photograph: Hohokam pit house excavations at Mescal Wash, Arizona

Hohokam pit house excavations at Mescal Wash, Arizona
Statistical Research, Inc.
(Source: Arizona Department of Transportation.)

The new HPT Portal includes expanded search capabilities and improved functionality to the system’s GIS mapping application. The new Portal also includes information on all ADOT projects, which was not the case in the original Portal. These changes have made the Portal more efficient and effective, reducing the time spent on project reviews by ADOT staff and consultants.

Completing the transfer of legacy data into the new program will be a challenge in the future because more information is being added to the Portal than was included in the original version. Updating information on projects, surveys, reports, archaeological sites, etc., will take time and labor to achieve. Many of the enhancements of the new Portal will not be applied to these legacy data until the updates have been made. Finding the extra manpower to implement the updates is something that ADOT is working on.

Development of the new Portal has taken longer than anticipated due to current limits on Historic Preservation Team staffing.

The development and maintenance of the new HPT Portal is supported with staff time from ADOT’s Environmental Planning Group and ADOT’s Information Technology Group.

Critical Factors for a Successful Program

The most important factor in the success of the program is ensuring that the Portal is updated regularly as new information is obtained from ongoing projects and continued in-house support.

ADOT has been approached by multiple agencies regarding data sharing. When data sharing comes to fruition, this will allow not only ADOT, but other agencies access to more comprehensive information.

The development of the new system has taken longer than anticipated. If ADOT were starting the development of the new Portal today, more staff time would be dedicated to the project

June 1, 2012


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