The surviving traces of the historic and prehistoric past are non-renewable resources. They are easily degraded or destroyed by highway projects unless an appropriate effort is made to identify, evaluate, and protect them. Documenting the often-ephemeral traces of our collective history adds to the understanding and appreciation of California’s past by future generations. The public is concerned about how Caltrans projects affect cultural resources. Responsible consideration of cultural values in the course of project planning and implementation helps avoid conflict and build support for Caltrans transportation objectives. This concern is manifested by a suite of laws and regulations that relate to archaeological, historical and social-cultural resources and issues.
PanGIS, Inc. created custom GIS and Access databases for cultural resources within Caltrans District 7 and 11 for rural routes. Staff directed the records search, acquired the collection of related GIS database layers, and created an archaeological resource GIS database. An Access database which includes scanned site forms as Adobe PDF files was also produced. Large-scale graphics using aerial photographs were created for the survey crew and mapped resources using high precision GPS, were used to create the final GIS database. GIS databases of Native American gathering areas and ground cover were also produced for the rural routes. Once the GIS and Access databases were complete, they were integrated and the final GIS user interface was installed at the District offices.