I always appreciate people informing me of ongoing projects in cultural heritage preservation and heritage tourism. Sharing information about their work, whether in initial stages of planning or full-scale operation, allows me to then spread the word and further develops my understanding of issues in cultural heritage.
That said, I would like to thank the people at StoppingPoints.com for clueing me into their digital database of historical landmarks, and particularly their latest guide to New York Historical Landmarks, a must see for people interested in the Empire State’s thousands of historical sites and places of interest.
StoppingPoints.com provides a guide for local points of interest information for Northern America and is currently deploying data iteratively. We provide information regarding historical markers, historical buildings, and points of interest. In addition, we provide services, including interactive tools such as sharing facilities for maps, photos and other information.
I’m assuming that the goal of this ambitious comprehensive cataloging project is to geotag all of the 80,000+ properties currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as other historical markers and places of interest, including courthouses, residences, churches, and cemeteries. Clicking on a link brings up a map, address, geographic coordinates, and limited information about the site. The search function needs improvement, as there is no way to cross reference database entries (for example, all sites related to U.S. presidents).
The StoppingPoints project will aid heritage tourists, preservationists, cultural resource specialists, developers, architects, and educators alike as they variously engage with cultural heritage for their own purposes. The fact that the database is available on the Internet ensures maximum access and visibility to a global audience. As the database continues to grow, perhaps there will be an opportunity for the public post its own photographs and reactions to the sites listed. Wouldn’t it be great if we had forum where we could discuss our own visits, experiences, knowledge of the sites? Wouldn’t it be important to know the conservation status of sites too? Still, with only a small fraction of the national heritage yet listed, StoppingPoints has the potential to be an invaluable resource for those of us interested in digital historical preservation of cultural heritage resources.