Austin Historical Survey Web Tool

Improving access to historical property survey data with citizen input

2008 – 2011

The Austin Historical Survey Web Tool is intended to improve the comprehensive, community-wide survey of historic properties in Austin, Texas by encouraging public involvement while providing for official vetting of information. This web-based application will pool the efforts of citizen volunteers, preservation consultants, local history and preservation organizations, the historic preservation office, and other city departments within a single interface, providing both convenient access to public information and an efficient means to collect and amend high quality data. We believe this innovative system will improve the transparency, accuracy, and timeliness of historical survey information while accelerating the identification of a diverse range of historic buildings, sites, districts, and cultural landscapes.

Upon completion, our application will offer features such as: Public access to survey information using interactive maps and query tools; a three-level user authority system to encourage public involvement while providing for efficient vetting of information; wiki-like revision tracking of all edits to survey records; and tools to share stories, images, and documents about properties and neighborhoods.

We're also planning to integrate user-friendly reference materials, such as a visual dictionary of common architectural styles and glossary of preservation terms to assist community surveyors, and to offer a version of the site optimized for field use with mobile devices.

When complete, this application will be managed by the City of Austin and serve as the primary means for the collection and dissemination of historical survey information in the city. While we are presently developing the web tool for the City of Austin, we also intend for the project to produce a replicable model that can be used in other communities.

Funding

Austin Historical Survey Web Tool
Funded by U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
2011-2012 · $87,278 · Co-Investigator
Austin Historical Survey MOBILE: Optimizing a Survey Web Tool for Data Collection in the Field
Funded by National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
2011-2012 · $25,000 · Co-Principal Investigator
Austin Historical Survey Web Tool
Funded by the Texas Historical Commission (via City of Austin)
2010–2011 · $15,000 · Co-Investigator
Wiki Participation in Preservation Planning
Funded by the Mike Hogg Urban Scholars Grant
2009 · $11,500 · Co-Investigator

Related Information

Project information site Link
General information about the Austin Historical Survey Web Tool project and its current status.
Austin Post news story Link
Stone, Jackie. "Coming Soon: Wiki Austin History." Austin Post. Monday, May 16, 2011.
Project discussed at Austin City Council meeting. Link
Discussion at the May 10, 2011, City Council meeting, beginning at 23:28 of Item 42 in the video.
Phase I report Link
Summary of the first phase of the project, submitted as the final deliverable for the Mike Hogg Urban Scholars Grant we received to begin the project in 2009.