Message #305:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: NMCRIS 98?
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 1997 10:06:50 -0700

From: Timothy J. Seaman 

> I'd also like to start a thread on ARMS and the NMCRIS database. 
[SURPRISE!]  We are beginning to plan the next upgrade to NMCRIS (NMCRIS
ver. 2; or how about NMCRIS 98?!) and I'd like to use the NMAC list
server to circulate our thinking and plans as they develop over the next
few months, and get some feedback from the archeological community. I'd
like to limit the discussions to functional -- rather than  technical --
issues to maintain broad interest rather then just involving the techies.
Please respond to this list if you are interested in this subject and
voice your interests and concerns. If there is interest, I will start the
thread with a brief outline of our current plan for NMCRIS 98 later this
week. Thanks. 

Bet you all thought I had spaced this thread out! No such luck!  There
seemed to be some interest among NMAC-folk way back in May, so I will
throw out a partial draft of our IS Plan out for comment and questions.
If there is interest, I'll send out the nuts-and-bolts of how we plan to
accomplish all this and finally reach, as one pre-NMCRIS reviewer
suggested, "the electronic Promised Land."  Have at it, folks.

Project Description and Business Justification

In FY99 the Historic Preservation Division is seeking to expand the scope
of New Mexico Cultural Resource Information System (NMCRIS) to function
as an automated call-before-you-dig information utility to avoid
conflicts between government land managers and developers and protect
important cultural properties throughout the state.

(ARMS descriptive matl. deleted....)

New Mexico has extensive areas of undeveloped public lands which are the
focus of intensive resource extraction. The state's population is also
growing at a very fast pace, and previously undeveloped land around major
cities like Santa Fe, Las Cruces, and Albuquerque are rapidly becoming
housing developments, factories, and shopping centers. This situation
presents a difficult challenge for the Office of Cultural Affairs.
Protecting New Mexico's cultural resources is a major strategic goal of
the agency, and important sites are
threatened daily, but it is impossible to simply publish an atlas of
these locations so that they can be avoided. There are several reasons
for this:

*       The information is confidential. The Cultural Properties Act
(NMAC 18-6.11.1) prohibits dissemination of information on site location
if it creates a risk of loss of archeological resources.

*       The inventory is dynamic. To wit: 5,000 to 8,000 new sites are
added to NMCRIS each year and over 3000 new surveys are registered.

*       The information requires interpretation to be useful. Unless the
actual areas that have been inventoried are presented along with known
site locations, it is impossible to know if there are truly no sites in
"blank" map 
areas, or if the area has not been surveyed yet.

Federal, state, and even local statutes protecting cultural resources
have existed for many years, and the consultation procedures are well
established, but it has proven difficult to provide truly current and
cultural resource information to land managers and planners. Cultural
resource transactions are often procedurally complex, and take months to
complete. Currently, information is entered into NMCRIS after -- rather
than before -- the consultations are completed. From a management
perspective, cultural resource information is routinely needed early in
the consultation process. 

NMCRIS was created to meet the information needs of cultural resource
managers, and the effort has been largely successful, but several service
areas relating to the timeliness of information capture and the
distribution of spatial data remain problem areas for many NMCRIS
stakeholders.  Using federal funds for historic preservation and
transportation planning, ARMS is attempting to remedy these problems in
FY98 by installing GIS software better suited to the transaction-based
NMCRIS computing environment, internet enabling data entry applications
to allow earlier data entry, and expanding the NMCRIS data model to
include new types of historic features.

State funds are requested to upgrade ARMS  systems to adequately handle
the increased scope and new user services and enhance the agency's
ability to protect the State's cultural resources. The
metaphor used earlier is apt. We envision an automated information
utility that will provide accurate and current information on cultural
resources to authorized individuals at any time and anywhere in the
state. The project is an attempt to use information technology to make
the current regulatory environment on public lands more efficient, more
effective, and less expensive for government and business alike. 

NMCRIS 99 will have the following operational characteristics and

*       One-Stop Shopping.  Creation of a single source of information on
cultural resources for the entire state, regardless of land ownership or
the type of cultural resource (archeological sites, historic building,
trails, etc.), resulting in reduced costs for records searches and
planning projects for system users. 

*       Widespread Access.  Operation statewide via standard internet
(WWW, telnet, FTP) communication protocols (in addition to on-site visits
and other traditional service channels via phone and fax). This reduces
the overall cost of using information housed at the state repository for
cultural resource information, by reducing the associated travel and
communication costs for users, located outside Santa Fe.

*       Unassisted Registration.  Support for unattended on-line
registration of field inventory projects and recorded sites. Unique
identifiers will be automatically assigned by NMCRIS to be used as a
common reference by all entities involved in cultural resource
consultations. Registration transactions will also automatically inform
all parties of previous inventories and existing cultural resources near
each undertaking, thus avoiding the expense of redundant survey and
duplicate site recording. This function is currently performed by the
ARMS staff -- automation of this function will significantly increase
their efficiency.

*       Distributed Data Entry.  Data entry can be performed immediately
after the completion of fieldwork in NMCRIS 99, insuring up-to-date
information for all users. The reporting and review process that follows
archeological fieldwork can take several months and given the very high
rate of development in some parts of NM, this feature will prevent
duplicate recording of properties and allow managers to determine the
status of SHPO consultations immediately after the field work is
completed. Although archeologists currently prepare site forms with a
word processing template, all data entry is performed on-site by the ARMS
staff. Providing a means of capturing this information in the database
once will allow ARMS staff to process information much faster and
concentrate on the most important job of data validation. In addition,
Federal land managers and HPD compliance staff provide key information
before the information is sent to ARMS for processing -- these 
individuals will be able to enter this information directly into NMCRIS
and automatically generate a record of their consultation. This greatly
speeds up the process of issuing land use permits to developers for both
and federal agencies.

*       Electronic Map Cabinet.  Supports on-line access to site and
survey locations in the most logical and coherent format for managers and
field personnel using digital versions of standard USGS 7.5' quadrangles
as a background. Users will be able to view cultural resource information
in relation to their project locations and assess the current state of
knowledge in any area of the state. Currently, this requires either a
trip to
Santa Fe or a records search by the ARMS staff followed by a letter or
fax. Either way, a self-service facility will save customers time and
money. By reducing the need to handle and photocopy paper maps, this
feature will help preserve the historic documents housed at the
Laboratory of Anthropology.

*       Metadata.  NMCRIS Provides users with accurate geospatial data,
with a documented lineage, in compliance with accepted State and federal
geographic data standards.  

*       Secure Access.  System security will be maintained through
installation of a network firewall and creation of an "extranet" where
only authorized users will be able to access ARMS query or data entry
applications. HPD 
intends to share the expense of the firewall and a common T1-speed WAN
connection with the three MNM units at the Camino Lejo complex.  

In future years, the proposed enhancements and the upgrades will allow
the Division to better integrate the operation of its two offices. The
project will initiate serious consideration of the Division's business
processes and begin to provide the staff with a single repository of
resource and task information. Staff efficiency will increase and the
Division will realize a greater return on this and previous investments
in information

Finally, NMCRIS 99 creates a solid foundation for the development of
"predictive" capabilities. Models based on the existing cultural resource
database and correlated environmental factors can be developed, thus
allowing planners to actually quantify cultural resource management costs
and schedules more accurately and evaluate multiple siting alternatives.

The proposed project will assist the Office of Cultural Affairs to
develop a more powerful planning tool, reduce damage to cultural
properties throughout the state, allow faster and more informed cultural
resource consultations among government agencies, and lower the costs for
developers in complying with cultural resource regulations. The system
will benefit all current public and private sector partners, but the an
expansion of the user base can be expected as better planning information
is made available and the state 
Subdivision Act of 1995 is enforced. 


Tim Seaman )
Program Manager
Archeological Records Management Section (ARMS)
New Mexico Historic Preservation Division
228 East Palace Ave.
Santa Fe, NM  87501
(505) 827-6347 x531/ 827-6497 FAX