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Using GIS to Document Cultural Resources

after a Natural Disaster

 

Screen capture of the GIS showing the detailed data collected by FEMA as a treatment measure during Katrina, depicting all of the resources within the New Orleans historic districtsFollowing hurricane Katrina, the Gulf Coast suffered devastating loss and damage to important cultural resources. As a Federal agency, FEMA must comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act which requires Federal agencies to identify damaged and lost resources, as well as mitigate the loss of any resources removed with Federal money. FEMA requested that the National Park Service, Cultural Resource GIS Facility (CRGIS) develop a strategy to survey and evaluate cultural resources affected by this disaster in Louisiana, using GPS and GIS to expedite the Section 106 process. Additionally, the GIS is being used as a form of mitigation, with the GPS data serving as a form of documentation, to be integrated with state data. This project will provide a lasting methodology for documenting cultural resources for the Section 106 process, and provide a comprehensive test of the cultural resource spatial data standards proposed by CRGIS.