GIS Maps and Data

While the North Carolina State Historic Preservation office GIS program is officially housed within the Survey & National Register Branch, the GIS team functionally supports all the geographic needs of the HPO and, by extension, architectural historians, consultants, researchers, and the general public, through:

  • the creation of authoritative map data (historic resource locations and boundaries, historic rehabilitation tax credit project locations, environmental review project boundaries, certified local government jurisdictions, grant project locations, historic covenants and easements, and more)
  • spatial analysis (including the geographic distribution of the historic rehabilitation tax credit program, effects of hurricane and riverine flooding events on historic properties, and more)
  • the design of customized print and digital maps (for field survey work, for National Register nominations, for advocacy efforts to share with elected State and Federal officials the endeavors of the HPO, and more)
  • the development and deployment of web mapping tools, such as HPOWEB
  • storytelling apps that curate the voluminous amount of information we collect into bite-sized narratives

Additionally, the GIS team has collaborated with and provided (or continues to provide) expertise to several agency partners:

We also work closely with, but do not maintain any GIS data of, the NC Office of State Archaeology.  Contact them directly for information about archaeological site GIS data.

The GIS team is largely funded by the North Carolina Department of Transportation and works closely with the NCDOT Environmental Analysis Unit.  We appreciate their support!

GIS Maps and Story Maps

GIS Maps and Story Maps

Watch our HPOWEB 2.0 webinar to learn what's new, what's changed, and everything else about the new version of HPOWEB.

12/18/2020: We are excited to announce a new series of curated, storytelling maps that make it even easier to learn about North Carolina's architectural and cultural history!  Discover a story about NC now!

Those with questions can contact Andrew Edmonds at or 919.814.6592.

HPOWEB, the NCHPO  web mapping serviceHistory of North Carolina Armories Story Map

GIS Data Download

GIS Data Download

HPOWEB users who need to perform spatial analyses on HPO data within their own GIS systems may download this zipped file, which is updated monthly.  This zipped file name includes the date on which the extraction of data was made from the HPO geodatabase.  Users are encouraged to check HPOWEB for a live view of the HPO geodatabase, which is updated with new features (and attributes) on a daily basis.

   (24 MB)

Please consider filling out this 1-minute feedback form to help us understand who uses historic resource data and how we can improve its delivery.  Thanks!

The zipped file contains three shapefiles used to display all the historic resource points and boundaries found in HPOWEB (at the time of extraction) across the entire state of North Carolina:

The zipped file also contains three layer files which recreate the HPO symbology:

While we make available local landmark and local historic district data and believe them to be accurate, the HPO is not the authoritative source of these data.  Users are cautioned to contact the local historic preservation commission or planning department for the most current and accurate data.

HPOWEB legend














The symbology for the AllHPOPoints-Symbology layer is quite complex because of the many permutations of designations.  The symbology draws on three fields —Status, LocalStat, and HDstatus:

Status – this field refers to individual federal and state program status: National Register, Study List, and Determined Eligible, or None of the above.
  NR - Individual National Register listing – Blue circle.  These are places listed to the National Register of Historic Places.  Learn more about the process of listing resources to the Register, here.
  NRD - National Register, Gone (whether the historic resource has been destroyed or moved to a new site) - Blue circle with black dot
  NRHD - Center point of a National Register historic district – Blue star

  SL - Individual Study List entry – Green square. These are places that the National Register Advisory Committee has identified as potentially eligible for the Register.  Learn more about the Study List process, here.
  SLD - Study List, Gone (whether the historic resource has been destroyed or moved to a new location) - Green square with black dot
  SLHD – Center point for Study List historic district – Green star

  DOE - Individual “Determination of Eligibility” in environmental review work – Orange triangle.  Resource has been determined eligible under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.  Learn more about our Environmental Review Branch and Section 106, here.
  DOED - Determined eligible, Gone (whether the historic resource has been destroyed or moved to a new site) – Orange triangle with black dot
  DOEHD – Center point of Determined eligible historic district. Orange star
  SLDOE - BOTH on the Study List and Determined Eligible – Green triangle
  SLDOED - Both SL and DOE, and Gone (whether the historic resource has been destroyed or moved to a new site) – Green triangle with black dot
  SLDOEHD - Center point of district that is both SL and DOE – Olive star

  SO - Surveyed Only. No individual designation, but may be within a National Register, Study List, or DOE district (see HDstatus, below) - Tan pentagon
  SD - Surveyed only, Gone (whether the historic resource has been destroyed or moved to a new site) -  Tan pentagon with black dot
  BF - “Blockface”.  A point marking an area where multiple properties were surveyed as a group, typically one or both sides of a block in a historic district - Tan cross
  SA - Surveyed area.  Center point of an area where several properties were surveyed together, typically a rural crossroads - Tan star

Learn more about the county architectural survey program, here.

LocalStat – Local status. This field refers to the local designation status of a property or district.  Learn more about North Carolina's local historic preservation commissions, here.
  LL - Local landmark.  A purple square appears beneath the symbol for the resource in the above list.  A landmark may have any or none of the federal/state designations.
  LHD - Center point of a local historic district.  Purple star. This point is always separate from the star symbol for a corresponding NR, SL, or DOE district, even if they have the same boundaries.
  None - No local designation

HDstatus – this field indicates if the property is located in a National Register Historic District, regardless of what type of designation it has individually.  
  NRHD – located in a National Register historic district.   Surveyed-only and blockface symbols become a light blue.  Symbols for other individual designations (NR, SL, DOE) do not change.
  None - Not within a National Register historic district.

The symbology for the NR-SL-DOE-BoundariesSymbology layer, conversely, draws on only one field - Status:
  NR - Boundary of a National Register Historic District OR the boundary of an individually-listed resource, when articulated in the National Register of Historic Places nomination form (such as the tax parcel surrounding one house) – Solid blue outline
  NRD - Boundary of a delisted National Register Historic District OR the boundary of a delisted or demolished individually-listed resource - Solid dark blue outline
  SL - Boundary of a Study List Historic District - Solid green outline
  DOE - Boundary of a Determined Eligible Historic District - Solid orange outline
  SLDOE - Boundary of an Historic District both on the Study List and Determhined Eligible - Solid olive outline

The symbology for the Local_District_Boundaries-Symbology layer is the same for all features - Dashed pink outline


After adding the downloaded data into your GIS and importing the symbology defined in the layer files, you may be perplexed to see the HPO data display like this:

View of HPO data downloaded into your GIS








The data appear differently than in HPOWEB because our mapping website uses a series of web map services based upon definition queries to separate the various classes of historic desginations.  You'll notice that the data download includes only one point layer.

If you wish to make your display mimic HPOWEB, you will need to recreate these definition queries.  Copy the point layer three times to create separate layers for National Register, Study List, Determined Eligible, and Surveyed Only historic resources.  Apply a defintion query on each based upon the Status field.


Other GIS Resources

Other GIS Resources

Here are some of our favorite places to visit for additional GIS data, maps, and resources for historical research:

Historical aerial imagery: NCDOT, USDA
Historical topographic maps: USGS
Sanborn Fire Insurance maps: ProQuest, ProQuest (GeoEdition), UNC
Historical North Carolina maps: UNC
North Carolina County GIS data and websites: NC State

North Carolina Architects & Builders: NC State
City Directories: DigitalNC,
Scanned newspapers: DigitalNC
Durham Urban Renewal records: DigitalNC
Digital images and videos: DigitalNC
Yearbooks: DigitalNC

1930 and 1940 US Census
Cemetery Census
North Carolina Digital Collections
Main Street, Carolina projects

HPOWEB Tutorial Videos (old version)

HPOWEB Tutorial Videos (old version)

HPOWEB Tutorial Videos
Last updated: 12/03/2015

These short videos with audio (about 1:30 to 3 minutes each) provide a quick overview of the features and capabilities of  HPOWEB, the State Historic Preservation Office online GIS service.  Additional videos will be added over time.

Adobe Flash Player (a free download) is required to view these videos. If it is not already installed in your system, your browser will probably prompt you to install it and will provide the link. Or you may download Flash Player here.

At any point in during a video, you may use the timed scroll bar across the bottom to move ahead or back within the video.  If you prefer, you may read along with the transcripts of these videos.


Video 1:  Welcome  1:54   Overview of how HPOWEB can be used.

Video 2:  HPOGIS Resources   3:32   Historic property and district layers on the map, their symbols; turning layers on and off.

Video 3:  Navigation  1:30   Moving around the map and zooming in and out.

Video 4:  Background Views   2:31   Four different backgrounds against which to view the resources: Street, Aerial, Topo, and Light Gray. Using HPO base map data: DOT roads with numbers, county and municipal boundaries, and the USGS map grid.

Video 5:  Finding Addresses   1:54   Using an address to zooming to a specific location; viewing a site from the road with Google Street View or from an oblique angle above it with Microsoft Bing Bird's Eye.

Video 6:   One-Click Information   1:34    Click on any historic resource to view a pop-up information window displaying the resource name, designation type and year, description, location, and perhaps even a "glamor shot"

Video 7:  Enhanced Searching  2:32   Search for  properties and districts by name, site number, county, and/or description. View the results in a table, and export your results to a CSV or TXT file to open in other software.

Video 8:  Super-Charged Graphical Searching   2:50   The Advanced User version of HPOWEB allows you to search resources using the Location and Quad Name fields, as well as multiple descriptive terms. Also learn how to use a graphical search in conjunction with a text search.

Video 9:  Helpful Links  1:48   Built-in links to the pages you'll reference the most: an alphabetical list of National Register nomination forms, HPO staff contact information, our Facebook page, and instructions for mobile users.  

Video 10:  Latitude/Longitude Support  1:06   HPOWEB displays constantly-updating latitude and longitude coordinates on-screen and gives you the X and Y of every historic resource.

Video 11:  Zoom to Places  2:42   Quickly zoom to a secondary road, town, county, a particular quad, or a geographic feature (like a river, mountain, or crossroads community) that you might see on a USGS quad map.

Video 12:  Annotating the Map and Enhanced Printing  2:39   Draw study areas, add text, and print your map to a variety of format types (PDF, PNG, JPG) in letter or landscape orientation.

Video 13:  50,000 More Surveyed Places  2:09   We have mapped 61,000 historic resources across North Carolina (including virtually all the National Register, Study List, and Determined Eligible listings). However, there are approximately 50,000 additional surveyed historic resources, whose mapped locations are, as of yet, unverified. View these unverified locations in the Advanced User version of HPOWEB.

Video 14:  Upload Map Services  2:09   Add web map services of historical aerial imagery and our 40-year collection of marked-up USGS topo quads on the fly.

Video 15:  Upload Shapefiles  2:26   It’s back! Savvy GIS users will be thrilled to know that the Upload Shapefiles tool from our initial HPOWEB launch has returned. No need to reproject your data. Just zip it, upload it, and view your shapefiles right inside HPOWEB!

Video 16:  Capture/Go to Coordinates  2:32   Need to know the State Plane coordinates or UTMs of a historic resource? Use this tool and simply click the map! Have a UTM and don’t know where it is? The same tool will rescue you. Just type in the coordinates and be whisked away!

Video 17:  Mobile Use Instructions  1:32   Stream HPO data into your mobile device in just a few, simple steps. Works on Android and iOS devices ... and it's free.

Video 18:  Feedback and Metadata  1:33   Report problems with mapped features. Access information about the coverage of mapping in a county and any problems encountered in mapping specific resources.

Video 19:  Am I in a District?  3:05    Determine if a property is in a National Register Historic District, a Local Historic District, or both.

Video 20:  Using HPOWEB for Environmental Review  3:46    Utilize the tools explained in other videos - Upload Shapefiles, Super-Charged Graphical Searching, and Annotating the Map - to perform an Environmental Review on a fictitious new Outer Banks bridge to Corolla.

Video 21:  Using HPOWEB to create GIS data for Section 106 review projects (Part 1 of 3)  4:58    In video 1 of this three-part series, consultants without access to GIS software can learn how to use HPOWEB to create GIS points for their historic structure survey reports.

Video 22:  Using HPOWEB to create GIS data for Section 106 review projects (Part 2 of 3)  4:56    In video 2 of this three-part series, learn how to create - and deliver to the HPO - GIS boundaries of proposed historic districts and individually-eligible DOE'd properties.

Video 23:  Using HPOWEB to create GIS data for Section 106 review projects (Part 3 of 3)  4:53    In video 3 of this three-part series, learn how to correct any mistakes you may have made in the GIS data you've just created.



GIS Team

GIS Team

Andrew Edmonds, GISP
GIS Technical Support Analyst 919-814-6592

Lori Townsend
Environmental Review Assistant  919-814-6571

Katie Harville
Environmental Review Specialist  919-814-6581