Environmental Review Toolkit
Water, Wetlands, and Wildlife

Georgia Department of Transportation

Georgia Natural, Archaeological and Historic Resources Geographic Information System

GNAHRGIS Base Map showing historic resources in downtown Thomasville, Georgia. Selected resource is in the left-hand column.
GNAHRGIS Base Map showing historic resources in downtown Thomasville, Georgia. Selected resource is in the left-hand column.

The Georgia Natural, Archaeological and Historic Resources Geographic Information System (GNAHRGIS) is a web-based registry and Geographic Information System (GIS) designed to catalog information about the natural, archaeological and historic resources of Georgia. The GNAHRGIS serves as a prescreening tool for transportation project planners and preliminary design staff by enabling staff to identify the location of the natural and cultural resources within a project area and evaluate the potential effects of the project on those resources. The development of the GNAHRGIS was a collaborative effort between the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and the University of Georgia.

The GNAHRGIS system currently includes the following GIS data layers:

  • Archaeological layers: Every site recorded in the Georgia Archaeological Site File;
  • Historic layer: Buildings, structures, historic sites, landscapes, and districts included in the state's Historic Preservation Division's Historic Resource Survey and those listed in the National Register of Historic Places; and
  • Natural layer: Data on wetlands, streams, conservation areas, protected rivers and mountain areas, and protected species. (In the future, additional data layers will be added, including point data for protected species, critical habitat mapping, soils data, species recovery plans, and detailed data on individual species).
Quarter-quadrangle display of protected animal species with selected species identified in left column. Also shown are lakes and wetland locations.
Quarter-quadrangle display of protected animal species with selected species identified in left column. Also shown are lakes and wetland locations.

The system displays the existing data layers over a variety of backgrounds, including infrastructure maps, aerial photography, and U.S. Geological Survey quadrangle maps.

Users can access the GIS data layers to view individual proposed projects within a broader ecosystem context. This enables staff to use data to analyze issues such as habitat fragmentation, species range, and historic wetland loss. By identifying potential issues early in the planning process, agencies can design transportation projects that avoid or minimize impacts to cultural and natural resources. Early identification of potential issues can avoid the costly and timely implications of altering design components, which can occur when adverse impacts are identified late in the project development process.

Base map display with partial listing of available layers in right column.
Base map display with partial listing of available layers in right column.

The GNAHRGIS is not only a powerful tool for transportation planners, but it also enhances and expedites environmental studies and permits. The system includes an important search feature that allows users to query the database for information on specific architectural types, cultural periods, or protected species. By having a diverse set of natural and cultural resource data readily available in one online location, historic and natural resource agency staff is able to quickly get a sense of the potential direct, secondary, and cumulative impacts of a project. GNAHRGIS serves as an information base for both government officials and the layperson who is interested in learning more about the natural and cultural resources within the state. This provides the layperson with better information to provide input during the public participation portions of a proposed transportation project.

The GNAHRGIS improved the transportation decisionmaking process for all stakeholders, including the transportation agencies, resource officials, and the general public.

For more information about the GNAHRGIS program contact Glenn Bowman, P.E., State Environmental Administrator with GDOT, at gbowman@dot.ga.gov or (404) 631-1101.

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