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:
  • the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, specifically their Green Books' "Oasis Spaces" project
  • the North Carolina Historical Highway Markers Program
  • the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund
  • and others

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!

Tab/Accordion Items

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

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 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.

  (26 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.

The symbology for the NCHPOpoints 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 - On BOTH the Study List and Determined Eligible – Green triangle
 SLDOED - On both the Study List and Determined Eligible 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 the Study List and Determined Eligible – 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 NCHPO_NR_SL_DOE_Boundaries 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 Determined Eligible - Solid olive outline

The symbology for the Local_District_Boundaries 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.

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

Historical aerial imagery: NCDOT, USDA, Vintage Aerial, NC Archives, National Archives
Historical topographic maps: USGS
Sanborn Fire Insurance maps: ProQuest, ProQuest (GeoEdition), UNC
Historical North Carolina maps: UNC, NCDOT county maps, Historical county boundaries tool
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
Yearbooks: DigitalNC

1930, 1940 and 1950 US Census
Cemetery Census
North Carolina Digital Collections
Main Street, Carolina projects

Andrew Edmonds, GISP 
GIS Technical Support Analyst 919-814-6592
Katie Harville 
Environmental Review Specialist  919-814-6581