N.H.'s Historical Highway Marker Mapping Goes Mobile

Apr 8, 2016

The new map of the New Hampshire historical highway marker program.
Credit New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources

New technology is giving history buffs an easier way to tour the Granite State's past.

The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources this week launched a new, mobile-phone friendly map for its historical highway marker program.

Elizabeth Muzzey, director of the Division of Historical Resources, joined NHPR's Morning Edition to talk about how it works.

Can you describe a little bit about the historical marker program? How many markers are there?

We have hundreds of historic highway markers in New Hampshire. Right now, there are about 250 markers in the program. 

And I imagine those cover every region of the state.

They do. That's one of the things we strive for is to have equal distribution throughout the state.

What led to the development of the website? 

We've always had historical highway marker information on our website, but we didn't feel it was that useful for people traveling around the state. So we've retooled the information as a Story Map, which use GIS technology. They combine narrative text, pictures with mapping so you can actually see the place that you're learning about.

So you can go on the site and actually learn about these markers without ever traveling if you wanted to, but you can take it with you on your smartphone so as you're traveling a region of the state, you can see which markers are nearby.

Exactly. The website is mobile friendly, it's meant to work on a smartphone, and that's a major difference from how it was presented before. 

How can people use the site if they want to take it with them? 

Credit In 2002, an historic marker was erected on the site to commemorate the event.

It really depends on whether you'd like to just drive to an area and be surprised at what you'll find as you page through the website, or if you want to actually preview things and plan where you want to go, places you want to see, or maybe you have a destination and you want to see what's along the way and plan your route that way. 

Who do you envision using this? 

I am always surprised when I hear about the amount and the various types of people who love the markers. I hear that there are bicycle clubs, motorcycle clubs that actually approach the historical highway markers like hikers approach 4,000 footers. They plan their path and they want to check off every marker. They take a photo when they're at the marker. I would love to hear more about the clubs that are doing that so we can share that information with others.

How do you envision this website developing and growing in the future? 

One of the greatest advantages to this type of website is the GIS technology behind it. It's really where the field of cultural resources management is going. We're always looking at historical places. They all have a location, and so it makes sense to GIS to help the public understand them. 

We also have a photo sharing campaign going on right now called My New Hampshire and that also uses GIS technology. We're asking people across the Granite State to take a photo of some of their favorite historical places and they can use the "Locate Me" technology on their smartphone to add it to the My New Hampshire website or they can manually use a map if they're not using a smartphone. It's been very popular so far, with more than 100 photos posted to the website.