Historic Resource Surveys

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Basic Info

Georgia Historic Resources Survey Program

The Georgia Historic Resources Survey is an ongoing, statewide inventory of buildings, sites, structures, and objects of historical, architectural, and cultural significance. The inventory is designed to facilitate the collection of basic information needed statewide to support historic preservation activities. All preservation activities, from National Register of Historic Places nominations to municipal or county historic preservation ordinances to basic preservation advocacy, begin with knowing what historic resources exist. This inventory provides a base for preservation planning statewide.

The Historic Preservation Division of Georgia has overseen a survey program of historic resources for over fifty years with over 500 surveys conducted. For more information on the survey program, contact the HPD Survey Coordinator at survey@dca.ga.gov.

What is a Historic Resources Survey?

Historic resources surveys collect and record information about extant historic resources, usually on a county-wide, community-wide, or neighborhood-wide basis. City or county governments generally undertake surveys for their communities as a first step in documenting historic resources for planning purposes. A professional preservation consultant (see HPD’s Consultant’s Directory) is usually hired to complete the survey. Historic resource surveys in Georgia should be completed according to standards and parameters defined in the Georgia Historic Resources Survey Manual.

In Georgia, typical survey information includes an exterior architectural description of each resource 40 years of age or older, photographs, and field notes on its age, history, setting, and geographical location. The survey data is entered into an online database known as GNAHRGIS (Georgia’s Natural, Archaeological and Historic Resources Geographic Information System), which maps the surveyed resources.

Georgia Historic Resource Survey Form - For use with GNAHRGIS, and addendum, can be used in the field to gather the information needed to record a resource in GNAHRGIS. The form lists all questions that should ideally be answered about each resource, and the addendum presents all possible answers for those questions that are multiple-choice in GNAHRGIS.

Each community or county survey typically also includes a final survey report analyzing the survey findings. Typical survey reports include an executive summary, project description, summary of previous preservation projects, developmental history, survey methodology and results, architectural analysis, an appendix listing all GNAHRGIS ID numbers associated with the survey, and maps. See HPD's Historic Resources Survey (video presentation).


Completed surveys can be used to:

  • Identify buildings and districts for possible listing in the Georgia/ National Register of Historic Places
  • Assist preservation efforts of Georgia's Certified Local Governments
  • Support local designations of buildings and districts
  • Expedite environmental review by governmental agencies
  • Aid preservation and land-use planning
  • Promote research of the state's history and architecture
  • Increase awareness of, and interest in, a community's historic buildings


To find out if your community has been surveyed, check the File-User's Guide to Georgia Historic Resources Surveys (pdf), which is a list by county of historic resources surveys completed in Georgia, including the date and status of the survey.


Currently, no state funds are dedicated to historic resources surveys in Georgia, but Certified Local Governments may apply for Historic Preservation Fund federal grant money to conduct historic resources surveys in their community.


FindIt! is a historic resources survey program sponsored by the Georgia Transmission Corporation in partnership with the Historic Preservation Division and the University of Georgia's College of Environment and Design. Data collected through FindIt! surveys are entered into GNAHRGIS.


The Georgia Archaeological Site File
UGA Laboratory of Archaeology
110 Riverbend Road
Athens, GA 30602-4702
(706) 542-8737
Fax: (706) 542-8920


In 2020, Georgia HPD received a federal grant to rebuild and enhance Georgia’s Natural, Archaeological, and Historic Resources Geographic Information System (GNAHRGIS). The consolidated rebuilt platform now allows users to download results of searches to Excel. Users can also query historic resources by survey attributes, as well as via the map. Another new feature is that all of the properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places in Georgia have been added to the database, along with digitized nominations and maps.

Along with these research tools, GNAHRGIS now includes two new tools aimed at facilitating data entry for surveyors – the windshield district polygon tool and integration of the mobile app, ESRI Field Maps.

The windshield district polygon tool allows surveyors to record the following attributes for a grouping of physically similar or related, geographically proximate resources: resource category, basic resource information, general characterization, approximate resource count, primary resource types, primary architectural styles, development time period, boundary types, acreage, boundary description, boundary justification, description, history, and field survey evaluation. Surveyors can also attach photographs and other documentation. These records can now have polygon data attached via ArcGIS Online. This tool allows surveyors to represent these resources as polygons in GNAHRGIS, instead of just points. HPD’s Historic Resources Survey Program offers specific guidance and training for using this tool. It can be used to record neighborhoods of similar resources, resources with large acreage, complexes, and resources with multiple buildings.

Field Maps is designed to help communities survey cultural resources digitally. This solution allows a survey team from a community or organization to take phones or tablets into the field and accurately capture location and specific details about historic sites.

If a CLG or community is interested in using Field Maps or the windshield district polygon tool for a forthcoming project, please contact survey@dca.ga.gov to ensure the project is a good fit for the tools. Both the app and the polygon tool should be used by professional consultants or volunteers with required additional training. For more guidance on the windshield district polygon tool, see the GNAHRGIS Polygon Tool User Guide. For more information on Field Maps, please visit ESRI’s online resources for Field Maps. For more information on windshield (reconnaissance) survey districts, please see the National Register Bulletin 24.