Using online technology to understand the past

Posted in: Cultural Resources


tech-to-understand-past-300x200Technology is widespread in our professional lives – we use it every day for a multitude of tasks.  In the field of historic preservation, technology can help better identify, document, and evaluate resources in the built environment.  We’re really excited about using technology to help our clients achieve their preservation goals.

ESRI Newsroom published a recent article by Sebastian Renfield and Angela Hronek, architectural historians at Mead & Hunt. The article discusses how we used Geographic Information System (GIS) to complete a large, citywide historical industrial building inventory for the Wisconsin State Historic Preservation Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Sebastian and Angela highlight how they used ESRI’s GIS software to spatially map and analyze thousands of industrial properties in the city. This work revealed trends of industrial development throughout Milwaukee and helped identify those with historical importance. The goal was to identify candidates for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The article explains in detail how we used ESRI’s GIS software to meet this goal.

This project is important to the City of Milwaukee because industrial properties listed in the National Register qualify for Historic Tax Credits and rehabilitation for a new use.  Local developers and nonprofit organizations are using the results of the study to identify industrial properties for redevelopment.

The project is a perfect example of how using GIS and other technology helps us excel at large-scale survey projects, often within tight timeframes. We are always looking for new ways to complete work efficiently, and GIS and other technologies often help us do that. Historians at Mead & Hunt regularly assists agencies with compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act or evaluations to provide redevelopment opportunities with federal and state Historic Tax Credit programs. Applying GIS and other technologies helps us do our job more efficiently.


Chad Moffett

About the Author

Chad Moffett enjoys different types of historic preservation projects and helping our clients. “Every place has a unique and interesting history. Discovering and understanding these stories and how history affected the built environment is an exciting challenge,” he says. Chad specializes in developing balanced solutions that meet client needs while respecting historic resources for future generations.

Read more posts by Chad Moffett

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