From Data to Records: Preserving the Geographic Information System of the City of Vancouver

  • Glenn Dingwall
  • Richard Marciano
  • Reagan Moore
  • Evelyn Peters McLellan


VanMap is a geographic information system used by the municipal government of the City of Vancouver, British Columbia. It provides city staff access to a wide variety of continuously changing spatial information about the city, drawn from internal and external sources, which is used in support of both formal and informal business processes. In the first part of the article, the authors address issues related to the long-term preservation of VanMap encountered in the course of the InterPARES 2 case study conducted in 2004–2005. VanMap is examined within the context of InterPARES concepts of the record in dynamic and interactive environments, and subsequent implications in terms of establishing the essential elements of the system that must be preserved and how to relate the preserved system to the activities it supported are discussed. The second part of the article explores the how the Storage Resource Broker data-grid technology developed at the San Diego Supercomputer Center might be used as a component in the overall preservation strategy. This technology would support maintaining the integrity and authenticity of the preserved system, and contribute to its infrastructure independence through features such as persistent namespaces.


VanMap est un système d’information géographique utilisé par le gouvernement municipal de la ville de Vancouver, en Colombie-Britannique. Il permet au personnel municipal en quête de données sur la ville, d’accéder à une grande variété d’information spatiale en constante évolution, puisée de sources internes et externes, qui servent à appuyer les procédés administratifs officiels et non-officiels. Dans la première partie de cet article, les auteurs examinent des questions relatives à la préservation à long-terme de VanMap, questions soulevées lors de l’étude de cas faite dans le cadre du projet InterPARES 2 en 2004-2005. Ils examinent VanMap dans le contexte des concepts élaborés par InterPARES sur les documents dans des milieux dynamiques et interactifs, puis ils se penchent sur les questions qui en découlent, à savoir comment établir les éléments essentiels du système qui doivent être préservés, et comment lier le système préservé aux activités qu’il supportait. La deuxième partie de l’article explore comment la technologie Storage Resource Broker, développée au San Diego Supercomputer Center, pourrait servir comme composante d’une stratégie de préservation complète. Cette technologie pourrait appuyer le maintien de l’intégrité et de l’authenticité du système préservé, et contribuer à l’indépendance de son infrastructure grâce à des caractéristiques comme l’espace de nommage fixe.

Author Biographies

Glenn Dingwall
Glenn Dingwall has a Master of Archival Studies degree from the University of British Columbia (2003). Since graduating, he has worked for the City of Vancouver as both an archivist and records manager. He participated in InterPARES 2 as a graduate research assistant and later as a researcher. Glenn has been head of the Digital Archives Program at the City of Vancouver Archives since 2005.
Richard Marciano
Richard Marciano is director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center’s Sustainable Archives and Library Technologies (SALT) Laboratory (an interdisciplinary unit focused on developing information technology strategies and conducting research in the area of digital materials and records collection and preservation), lead scientist in the Data Intensive Computing Environments group, and an affiliate professor in the Urban Studies and Planning Program in the Division of Social Sciences at the University of California San Diego. His interests are data management, digital archiving, and long-term preservation. Current research projects include eLegacy (preservation of geospatial data), T-RACES (cyberinfrastructure for the humanities), WRAP (preservation workflows for digital video), informatics for urban planning environments, and conducting research with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). He holds degrees in avionics and electrical engineering from the National School of Civil Aviation in Toulouse, France, and an MS and PhD in Computer Science from the University of Iowa.
Reagan Moore
Reagan Moore is director of Data and Knowledge Systems at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC). He coordinates research efforts in development of data grids, digital libraries, and preservation environments. Developed software systems include the Storage Resource Broker data grid and the integrated Rule-Oriented Data Grid. Supported projects include the National Archives and Records Administration Transcontinental Persistent Archive Prototype, the National Science Foundation National Science Digital Library persistent archive, the California Digital Library Digital Preservation Repository, and the Worldwide Universities Network data grid. An ongoing research interest is the use of data-grid technology to automate execution of management policies and validate trustworthiness of repositories. Moore has been at SDSC since its inception in 1986, initially being responsible for operating-system development. Prior to that he worked as a computational plasma physicist at General Atomics on equilibrium and stability of toroidal fusion devices. He has a PhD in plasma physics from the University of California, San Diego (1978), and a BSc in physics from the California Institute of Technology (1967).
Evelyn Peters McLellan
Evelyn Peters McLellan has an MA (history) from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Master of Archival Studies from the University of British Columbia. She is currently a records manager and digital records archivist at the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, and was previously an archivist at the City of Vancouver Archives. She has also been an adjunct professor at the School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies since 2004, teaching courses in local government records, and access and privacy legislation. In 2004, she became a co-investigator with InterPARES 2, leading both the VanMap case study and a study on selecting digital-file formats for long-term preservation.
How to Cite
Dingwall, Glenn, Richard Marciano, Reagan Moore, and Evelyn Peters McLellan. 1. “From Data to Records: Preserving the Geographic Information System of the City of Vancouver”. Archivaria 64 (1), 181-98.
Reflections on InterPARES