Josh Conrad — GIS | Historic Preservation 🌎
The Austin Historical Survey Wiki was a historic preservation crowdsourcing GIS database hosted by the City of Austin's Historic Preservation Office from 2013 to 2017. The project was developed by a team of researchers, led by Dr. Michael Holleran and then-doctoral researchers Jenni Minner and Andrea Roberts. I joined as the project's technical GIS database developer. We theorized the Wiki project as a "democratization of the historical survey" in which, using the latest web-based open-source GIS database technology (PostGIS, Drupal front-end), we sought to build a participatory platform that allowed anyone with internet access to contribute information about any place they personally deemed to be historic, regardless of whether the place had been previously identified or whether it could qualify as historic to established preservation authorities.
In our 2016 publication of the project outcomes, "Capturing Volunteered Historical Information: Lessons from Development of a Local Government Crowdsourcing Tool" we stated that "the effort was based on the conviction that public participation, online or otherwise, can give governments a firmer basis for making decisions that are more defensible, representative, and potentially more equitable, because they arise from pluralistic, democratic processes."
Below are Wayback Machine snapshots of the website info page at the former UT School of Architecture website, and the wiki tool itself hosted by the City of Austin at austinhistoricalsurvey.org