The Archeology Division, in cooperation with the State Historic Preservation Office, was recently awarded $56,000 from the Nebraska Department of Roads for development of a Nebraska cultural resources Geographic Information System (GIS) layer. The award is part of the Federal Highway Administration ISTEA program, which provides funding for transportation enhancement projects involving the natural, cultural, and scenic environment.
The project will create a computerized map layer of known archeological, historic, and cultural sites in Nebraska. The layer will serve as a powerful research, resource preservation, and management tool -- particularly when used in conjunction with other layers such as vegetation, distance from water, and soil type. The GIS will, for example, enable governmental agencies, land use planners, archeologists, and historians to make informed decisions and predictions regarding development in certain environmental zones. The potential for research is also exciting. Through GIS-generated data, historians and archeologists can much more effectively understand the intricate relationships between humans and their environment over ten thousand years of Nebraska's past.