Defining Your Project Area

When embarking on a project, one of the crucial steps is defining the project area and its boundaries. Project areas/project boundaries are generally defined as the area where work will be performed. The boundaries should capture the maximum area impacted. This includes any areas adjacent to the project that will be impacted by construction or other ground distributing activities such as staging, access areas, slope modifications, etc.

Why is an accurate project area important?
  • Sets clear expectations for all parties.
  • Helps determine scope and scale of research and analysis.
  • Reduces the risk of additional out-of-scope work, extra costs, and project delays.
  • Increases report accuracy.
  • Enables us to get our work started faster.
  • If your project requires Section 106 compliance, a clear project area enables us to prepare the area of potential effects (APE), a foundational document in that review process.
  • Construction limits are clear
  • Includes corresponding map key
  • Includes aerial imagery and street names
  • No clear construction limits or access points
  • No corresponding key/layer definitions
  • No map layer or other locational identifiers

How can I provide a useful project area?

Think big:

If you are in the planning or concept phase, it is best to capture a wide area to help avoid additional work. Boundaries can more easily be reduced than expanded.

Communicate & Collaborate:

Let us know if the file provided is accurate, subject to slight modification, or subject to change as the project progresses. Changes to project plans and boundaries can impact our work and create costly delays.

Filetype matters:

In order for our in-house GIS team to complete their work most effectively, a Shapefile is preferred. Other digital or spatial data may be acceptable.

Ask for help:

If a Shapefile or digital/spatial data cannot be provided, consult with our GIS team. They can help find a solution with existing files or work with you to determine the cost associated with digitizing boundary for your project.

Questions? Contact us!

Tisha Allen

Tisha is a cultural heritage planner with a masters in historic preservation and background in architecture. She is skilled at forging productive relationships with community stakeholders, as well as managing and implementing a broad range of planning strategies.

Molly McDonald

Molly is a GIS analyst who efficiently provides original spatial data solutions. Molly uses her expertise at an award-winning level for planning, interpretive, and cultural resource projects.