Section 2 Accounts

2.1 How Accounts Work

Access to VCRIS is structured by organization. An organization can hold one or more VCRIS licenses and can be made up of one or more users.

The person who registers an organization in VCRIS is an Organization Administrator, with the ability to add and manage users, as well as to the request new and renewal licenses

Every person who accesses VCRIS should be set up as a user with a unique username and password. This does not affect the cost of VCRIS licenses.

An organization may have one license and many active users. The logged in user “checks out” the license, similar to borrowing a library book.

2.2 Creating a new Organization account

Access to VCRIS is available to

  1. Cultural resource professionals using V-CRIS to facilitate federal and state environmental review processes (such as those required by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966) or a State and/or National Register nomination;

  2. Government officials at the local, state, tribal, or federal level who require information on historic properties within their respective jurisdictions;

  3. Scholars at schools and universities who need answers to research questions;

  4. Preservation professionals in non-profit organizations interested in preserving Virginia’s diverse history, and

  5. Members of the Archeological Society of Virginia (ASV) who participate in the ASV/COVA/DHR Archaeological Technician Certification Program.

To register a new organization, click the blue Register button on the VCRIS login page.

After reading and agreeing to the Terms of Service, complete the required fields.

2.2.1 Choosing a License Type, Fees and Payment

Throughout VCRIS, AH is an abbreviation for architecture and AE is an abbreviation for archaeology. You’ll see several options for different types of licenses:

Fees effective 1 October, 2019

License Name Includes 30 days 1 year
AH & AE Editor/Viewer architecture and archaeology map, research, and data entry $250 $800
AH Editor/Viewer architecture map, research, and data entry $175 $575
Data Entry data entry only no charge

Once you have decided on the type of license you would like, select it as well as your preferred license duration and click the Add button to drop it down into the box below.

Most organizations are well-served by one license seat, but if you anticipate many users needing access to VCRIS at the same time, consider requesting more seats at additional cost.

Once the DHR Accounts Manager reviews your request, you’ll receive an invoice by email and have immediate access with 30 days to remit payment by check. Currently DHR cannot accept payment by credit card. If your organization is a state or federal agency and you would like to arrange for electronic funds transfer, please contact the DHR Accounts Manager.

Late payments may result in the suspension of VCRIS access. Renewals will not be processed for organizations with unpaid VCRIS invoices. Complimentary Access

DHR may grant complimentary licenses on a case-by-case basis when requests for complimentary access meet one or more of the following conditions:

Certified Local Government (CLG) Access

One complimentary AH/AE license along with access to the GIS feature service will be assigned to the DHR CLG contact for each locality. No expiration period, provided Certified Local Government status is maintained. Additional licenses may be purchased at the standard rate.

Archaeological Society of Virginia Certified Access

Data Entry Only licenses will be provided free to ASV members who are working on a purely voluntary basis. These accounts must be renewed annually. If work is being done for any type of profit, a license must be purchased at the regular rate. ASV members who have graduated from the Certification Program are eligible for one complimentary full AH/AE license on a short-term project specific basis, provided that the project is not for profit.

Educational Access

DHR will consider waiving fees for one V-CRIS license at the appropriate access level for work completed purely for research purposes with a signed data exchange agreement between an individual or university department. This license will be issued on a short-term, project specific basis. For-profit projects are not eligible for this fee waiver.

Programmatic Agreement/Memorandum of Agreement Access/Strategic Partner Access

Complimentary V-CRIS licenses may be authorized as per conditions of a Programmatic Agreement (PA) or Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between DHR and an outside organization. PA or MOA will be kept on file with V-CRIS account materials. Expiration date of V-CRIS license will be established upon account registration.

Cost Share Partner Access

Localities in a current and active Survey and Planning Cost Share Agreement will receive one complimentary V-CRIS license at the appropriate access level. Expiration date of V-CRIS license will be established upon account registration, according to Cost Share contract. This complimentary license is for use exclusively by the locality’s planning office.  Any individual or organization awarded the cost share project will be responsible for purchasing the appropriate V-CRIS license in order to complete the project.

Tribal Government Access

State or federally recognized tribes are entitled to receive one complimentary AH & AE Editor/Viewer license along with access to the GIS feature service. No expiration period. Additional licenses may be purchased at the standard rate.

Special Approval Access

Individuals or organizations not working for profit or income who submit a significant amount of information of value to DHR may request a Special Approval Complimentary V-CRIS license at the appropriate access level with a signed data exchange agreement. This license will be issued on a short-term, project specific basis. Income-generating projects are not eligible for this fee waiver.

Any exceptions to the above guidelines are at the discretion of the agency director.

Users of Complimentary Accounts will be required to agree to the following conditions of use:

  • Complimentary accounts will be revoked if access is shared.

  • Complimentary accounts will be revoked if used for projects outside the scope of what is initially approved.

  • Commercial subcontractors hired by organizations eligible for complimentary access are not eligible to use a complimentary license.

  • Any for-profit use of V-CRIS is impermissible with a complimentary account. Use of a complimentary account for profit will result in revocation of license.

2.2.2 Adding Users

Each person who uses an organization’s VCRIS license should be set up with a unique password. To add users, log in and choose the Organization Administrator role if given the option.

Click Users

Then, click Request New User and fill out the relevant information. Click Make Request to submit to DHR for review. Make sure to select the license levels that correspond to licenses your organization has requested. A mismatch here can cause problems with access.

Upon approval, the user will receive a temporary password via email. This temporary password is only valid for 1 hour and may be expired when the user attempts to log in for the first time. If this is the case, the user can go to the VCRIS login screen and click the “Forgot your password?” link to generate another.

2.2.3 Managing Users

Organization Administrators can manage users at any time. While passwords do reset every 90 days, it is the Organization Administrator’s responsibility to “archive” users who have left the organization or who no longer need access.

Log on to VCRIS as Organization Administrator

Click on “Users” to be directed to your user management dashboard.


Select the user you would like to edit

If the user has left the organization or no longer needs access, choose “Archive User.” “Revoke Licenses” allows for additional adjustment of license levels, but should rarely be used.

If you would like to add privileges, use the Request Additional License Levels button. For example, you may want to make one or more additional users Organization Administrators with the power to manage the account.

2.3 GIS Feature Service

An external GIS feature service subscription is also available to organizations who subscribe to a 1 year AH or AH & AE Editor/Viewer license for an additional $500/year. The feature service allows users to view DHR’s live geospatial data in external GIS applications such as ArcMap and ArcGIS. The feature service includes architecture, archaeology, easements held by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources, and Phase I archaeological survey areas. The data can be selected, exported, and otherwise interacted with just as any other data source in GIS.

Requesting a feature service subscription

Requesting a feature service subscription

You can request the feature service with a new or renewed license. All users of the feature service must be registered in VCRIS with unique usernames and passwords. Do not share usernames and passwords to give colleagues access.

After you’ve requested the feature service, VCRIS staff will respond with a Feature Service Geospatial Agreement to sign, as well as a layer file that can be loaded directly into your GIS application.

2.3.1 Feature Service Capabilities and Limitations

  1. Feature Service provides live data from VCRIS servers for Architecture (primary and tertiary), Archaeology, easements held by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources, and Archaeology Phase I Surveys.
  2. Feature Service layer file may be shared with anyone within the organization that also has a VCRIS login. This data agreement is to be shared with and also pertains to those individuals.
  3. Features can be selected, exported, and otherwise interacted with just as any other data source in GIS. Data produced by the user from this data set is subject to the same regulations as defined in this agreement.
  4. Feature Service will only display/select up to 10000 features per layer at any given scale. Data limit is in place to insure adequate data speeds for all users. If a project’s scope exceeds this limit please contact DHR GIS staff for an export of static shapefiles. NOTE: The data in VCRIS changes on a regular basis and static shapefiles should neither be relied upon nor used for any purpose other than the project for which they were requested.

2.3.2 Feature Service Conditions for Use of Spatial Data

From the Code of Virginia, the following Freedom of Information Act exemption applies to data distributed by the Department of Historic Resources:

Code of Virginia
§2.2-3705.7 (10)

Information on the site-specific location of rare, threatened, endangered, or otherwise imperiled plant and animal species, natural communities, caves, and significant historic and archaeological sites if, in the opinion of the public body that has the responsibility for such information, disclosure of the information would jeopardize the continued existence or the integrity of the resource. This exclusion shall not apply to requests from the owner of the land upon which the resource is located.

Use of DHR’s spatial data is subject to the following:

  1. User understands and acknowledges that release of precise locations may threaten archaeological and historical resources. User shall take reasonable precautions to ensure the security of site locations. Data is not to be published to any public facing maps or displays.
  2. User shall only use the data for purposes cited in the accompanying “Application to Obtain VCRIS Feature Service” unless given written permission to do so by DHR.
  3. User will reference associated metadata for citation purposes.
  4. User will provide DHR with a list of any reports or printed materials prepared using Historic Resources data and will provide a sample copy of such material if requested by DHR.
  5. Although DHR maintains high standards of data quality control, DHR makes no warranty that the data are necessarily accurate or complete. Data is supplied as is. User understands and acknowledges that these data are provided for planning and assessment purposes only. The absence of historic resources in DHR’s inventory does not necessarily mean that no historic properties are present. It is possible that the area in question has not been systematically surveyed for resources.
  6. Obtaining information on previously recorded historic properties does not constitute review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. If a project is federally funded, licensed, or assisted, the federal agency may require you to obtain DHR comment under Section 106.
  7. User will indemnify and hold DHR and its officers and employees harmless against any claims by third parties arising out of the use by User of the data provided hereunder.
  8. This Agreement is the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the subject matter hereof. It shall be construed in accordance with the law of the Commonwealth of Virginia and may be amended only in writing signed by both parties.

2.4 Renewals and Additional Licenses

Licenses expire exactly 30 or 365 days from issuance. While the VCRIS system does not send automatic reminders about license expiration, DHR staff members do our best to make sure your license does not expire without warning.

To check your license expiration or to renew, log in as Organization Administrator, click on Licenses, and then select one from the list, ensuring that the duration and number of seats is correct. Click Renew to send the request to DHR.

Note: the DHR Accounts Manager does not receive alerts when renewals are requested in the system, although we do our best to respond in a timely manner. Don’t hesitate to reach out if your renewal seems to be delayed.

Once approved, you’ll receive an emailed invoice with 30 days to submit payment by check. You’ll have access to the license immediately.

For accounts troubleshooting See our FAQ and Troubleshooting section.