Although there are near endless possibilities for utilization of this technology, four areas where IM Histories is particularly valuable are detailed below:

Historical Mapping

Over the centuries, the built landscape is transformed and modified along with the changes in lifestyle. These changes contribute to a town or city’s heritage, and should be remembered. Often, however, this heritage is lost or forgotten in the steady march forward in time.

A Historical GIS map allows a town or city’s evolution to be documented and understood in a visual format. Information layers can be incorporated onto the map to show different time periods, distinctive architectural styles, historic roadways, and countless other potential representations of historical change.  Historical Mapping can also be used as a multi-dimensional approach to heritage tourism, plotting heritage trails and important landmarks for visitors to review before and during their trip.


In the preparation of Historic Preservation Elements for Municipal Master Plans, public participation is a key ingredient. Awareness of the community’s fears, hopes, and goals is vital to the development of an effective and successful Master Plan. Traditionally this public participation has been accomplished through public meetings, surveys, and other conventional means. Today, however, a unique opportunity exists to employ progressive technology to achieve the same outcome through much more efficient means.

A public participation GIS site allows every citizen to input information onto a map of their town. In a very user-friendly format, requiring no knowledge of GIS, users can voice their opinions in a dynamic geographical layout. With a click to the map, users can add points of interest, historical properties, landmarks, and more. As they add these points they are also able to add photographs, audio, video, comments, or stories connected with these places. As input is gathered and compiled, the Planning Board is able to hone in on important issues and transform this input into an informed and successful Master Plan Element.

Online Inventories

On a cyclic basis, nationally-, state- and locally- recognized historic districts are surveyed and catalogued. The properties within the district are categorized and described, which allows a municipality to keep track of its contributing and non-contributing resources. While very useful, these conventional surveys are static and quickly become obsolete as a neighborhood changes and evolves.

IM Histories offers a system for cataloguing historic resources that evolves along with your neighborhood. An online historic resources inventory can be updated as often as necessary to maintain an up-to-date and accurate portrayal of the current state of corresponding properties, eliminating the need for cumbersome updates to surveys. This progressive type of online inventory, presented in GIS format, will be infinitely valuable to officials, stakeholders, and citizens alike.

Oral Histories

Oral history projects are of particular interest recently, as the need for vehicles to preserve the memories of our elders has become quite clear. Often overlooked, the oral histories associated with a place can actually be the richest sources of information for researchers, students, and interested residents.  These oral histories must be safeguarded so that future generations can benefit from the memories and experiences of generations past.

IM Histories presents a unique opportunity to preserve these memories and link them to the geographical locations where the experiences occurred.  Interviews are conducted with senior citizens, digitally recorded, and uploaded onto the website. These can be then connected to points on the map, and enriched with historic photographs, textual commentary from the interviewer or interviewee, and much more.  As more oral histories are added to the map, it becomes a bountiful source of information regarding the past – as seen through the eyes of the people who lived it.