Morris County Cultural Resource Inventory Application Makes History with Innovation Award

On May 16, 2013 at the Hunterdon County Historic Court House, the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office (HPO) bestowed the 2013 Award for Innovation on the Morris County’s Cultural Resource Inventory application.

Projects are nominated and considered from all over the Garden State. The criteria in this category include:

  • Pioneering or inventive efforts in historic preservation education or interpretive programs.
  • Pioneering or inventive efforts in planning to preserve communities’ buildings, complexes, archaeological sites or other types of historic resources.
  • Stewardship.

The Morris County staff responsible for the creation and implementation of the Cultural Resource Inventory application (CRI app) are Jan Williams, Cultural and Historic Resources Specialist and Stuart Walter of Geographic Information Systems, who received the award.

The CRI app debuted in June, 2012 at the annual New Jersey HPO conference at Rider University.

“It has been a great success” stated Williams. “I am gratified at the positive response it has received from the public, coworkers and all levels of government. It was a distinct honor to be recognized by the state for our efforts, weighed against numerous nominees.”

Geographic Information Specialist (GIS) Stuart Walter concurs. “Jan and I learned each others language, allowing Preservation Trust and GIS to blend history with modern technology. The techniques and designs used in the CRI app have proven so successful that GIS has modified all other applications to follow suit.”

The CRI app was uniquely designed to serve a variety of needs for the professional and layperson alike in a user-friendly format. As a county with a rich history, access to accurate and comprehensive information on historic sites is important for governmental functions including engineering and development review as well as historians, students, teachers, and those with an interest and passion for historic resources. With the CRI app, this information is now easily and readily available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

About the CRI app:

  • Users can locate historic properties within seconds by various means and click on the site to obtain the detailed information.
  • On the interactive map, features may be removed or added allowing the user to generate a custom view.
  • Users can generate two types of reports for historic districts. The District Fact Sheet contains general information on historic register status, type, description, significance, and survey references. The District Report includes more detailed information including lists of participating properties and features; condition; cross-reference identification numbers and a color-coded map. The reports also include much requested spatial data including as latitude and longitude and  New Jersey State Plane coordinates.
  • The information can be updated readily. Printed surveys are quite frequently outdated before the day they are printed. In Morris County, changes to a historic site are noted quickly: fires, demolitions, state or national register listings; any information that affects a historic site is captured rapidly.

Williams has paid special attention to history enthusiasts who are not the run-of-the-historic mill and may have felt frustrated at the lack of attention given to historic resources. “Morris County wants everyone at the table. I felt it crucial that the CRI app have a variety of themes that cater to individuals interested in such topics as authors, gardens, fire houses, etc.”

Even the creators of the historic application continue to be surprised by its benefits.
At a recent demonstration to the Morris County Fire Chiefs Association, the firefighters explained to Ms. Williams that certain layers contained in the application could prove of assistance to Morris County’s Bravest. “That is public service at its best,” said Williams “History and technology combined to serve those who serve us.”

The Cultural Resource Inventory application may be viewed at:
https://planning.morriscountynj.gov/survey/municipal-surveys/. For more information, please contact Jan Williams at [email protected] or 973-829-8120.