The largest implementation to date of the Arches open source platform, HistoricPlacesLA.org, the Los Angeles Historic Resource Inventory, was launched on February 24, 2015, at Los Angeles City Hall, marking an important milestone for the Arches project. It offers a preview of the powerful search capabilities that will be available in Arches v3.0, as well as cool features such as related resource graphs that allow users to explore data relationships.

Arches v3.0 allows users to explore data relationships visually via the search interface. This example from HistoricPlacesLA.org shows the architect Paul R. Williams and the historic resources he designed in Los Angeles.

Arches v3.0 allows users to explore data relationships visually via the search interface. This example from HistoricPlacesLA.org shows the architect Paul R. Williams and the historic resources he designed in Los Angeles.

 

HistoricPlacesLA is an exciting new tool for the Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources, as well as conservation professionals and the residents of Los Angeles, to better understand and protect the character of the city’s distinctive neighborhoods as Los Angeles continues to grow and change.

Customized for the City of Los Angeles, the HistoricPlacesLA.org implementation of Arches contains the following historic resource data:

  • Current data from the City’s and Getty’s joint effort, SurveyLA, an in-progress, multi-year citywide historic resources survey—covering approximately 880,000 parcels over 500 square miles, and
  • Data regarding the locally- and nationally-designated historic resources and districts within the Los Angeles city limits.

 

While the data contained in HistoricPlacesLA.org is a work-in-progress, at launch it includes more than 25,000 historic resources and just under 200 historic districts. Adding other types of Arches resources, such as those that represent persons/organizations, activities (e.g., surveys), historical events, and information resources (e.g., images, documents), the number of system resources soars to more than 50,000. The number of relationships between different resources, such as between a historic resource and the architect that designed it, totals more than 80,000. Archaeological resources have not been surveyed as part of the SurveyLA project but will be included in a future survey phase.

The response to HistoricPlacesLA.org has been extremely positive, with more than 18,000 unique visitors to the system within the first few days after the launch. As intended, the system has already become part of the historic preservation discourse within the City of Los Angeles, and has inspired local citizens to find out more about the historic and cultural landscape in which they live.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti shows off HistoricPlacesLA.org on a smartphone. (Photo: Tom Nakanishi)

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti shows off HistoricPlacesLA.org on a smartphone. (Photo: Tom Nakanishi)

As LA Mayor Eric Garcetti remarked, “This system unlocks Los Angeles’ rich cultural history and puts it in the palm of anyone’s hand.” In addition to Mayor Garcetti, the LA City Hall launch was attended by other City representatives, local historic preservation advocates, as well as members of the Arches project team. The launch included speeches by J. Paul Getty Trust President and CEO Jim Cuno, Getty Conservation Institute Director Tim Whalen, LA Office of Historic Resources Manager Ken Bernstein, LA Conservancy Executive Director Linda Dishman, and local developer and historic preservation advocate Wayne Ratkovich.

The Arches team is now putting the finishing touches on Arches v3.0, which not only includes the public interface as seen in HistoricPlacesLA.org, but also the administrative interface, which includes data entry and other features. Also in the works are more comprehensive system documentation and a demo using the LA dataset as a starting point, enhanced with other data to best show what the Arches system might be able to do in different implementation scenarios.

Visit http://www.historicplacesLA.org, accessible on both mobile and desktop devices via web browser, to explore Los Angeles’s historic resources and see how Arches has been implemented by the City of Los Angeles. And watch this space for more announcements regarding the official release of version 3.0.

Share this blog