With the famous Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quote of “Don’t Panic!”, James Henderson of the Maine State Archives gave an overview of how they have approached archiving GIS data in his presentation “Managing GIS in the Digital Archives” (the third presentation of the ‘X Marks the Spot’ panel). His basic point is that there is no time to wait for the perfect alignment of resources and research – GIS data is being lost every day, so they had to do what they could as soon as possible to stop the loss.
Goals: preserve permanently valuable state of main official records that are in digital form – both born digital as well as those digitized for access.. and provide continuing digital access to these records
A billion dollars has been spent creating the records over 15 years, but nothing is being done to preserve it. GIS data is overwritten or deleted by agencies as information in live systems is updated with information such as new road names.
At Camp Pitt in 1999 they created a digital records management plan – but it took a long time to get to the point that they were given the money, time and opportunity to put it into action.
Overall Strategy for archiving digital records:
- Born Digital: GIS & Email
- Digitized Analog: Media (paper, film, analog tape) For access: researchers, agencies, Archives staff
The state being sued caused enough panic at the state level to make the people ‘in charge’ see that email needed to preserved and organized and accessible.
- what is everyone doing across the state?
- Keep both native format (whatever folks have already done) – and an archival format in XML
- Digitize from microfilm (send out to be done)
- Create another ‘access format’
GeoArchives (special case of the general approaches diagramed above)
- stop the loss (road name change.. etc)
- create a prototype for others to use
- a model for others to critique, improve and apply
Scope: fairly limited
- preservation: data (layers, images) in GeoLibrary (forced in by legislation – agencies MUST offer data to GeoLibrary)
- access: use existing geolibrary
- compare layer status (boundaries, roads) at any historical time
- Overly different layers (boundaries 2005, roads 2010).
GeoArchives diagram based on NARA ERA diagram
Fit into the ERA diagram very well
Project team – true collaboration. Pulled people from GeoLibrary who were enthusiastic and supportive of central IT GIs changes.
Used a survey to find out what data people wanted.
Functional Requirements – there is a lot of related information – who created this data? Where did it come from? Link them to the related layers.
Appraise the data layers – at the data layer level (rather than digging in to keep some data in a layer and not other data)
Has about 100 layers – so hand appraisal is do-able (though automation would be nice and might be required after next ‘gift’).
Current plan is to embed archival records in systems holding critical operational records so that the archival records will be migrated along with the other layers. Export to XML for now.
- communications with IT to keep the process going
- documentation of applications
- documentation of servers
- Metadata for layers must be complete and consistent with the GeoArchives manual
For more information – see
http://www.maine.gov/sos/arc/GeoArchives/geosearch.html UPDATE: This link appears to not work. I will update it with a working link once I find one!
http://www.maine.gov/sos/arc/GeoArchives/geoarch.html (Finally got around to finding the right fix for the link!)
- SAA 2006 Session 103: “X” Marks the Spot: Archiving GIS Databases – Part II
- The Edges of the GIS Electronic Record
- Understanding Born Digital Records: Journalists and Archivists with Parallel Challenges
- SAA 2006 Session 103: “X” Marks the Spot: Archiving GIS Databases – Part I