AHIMS site recording

The Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS) contains records of Aboriginal objects and other features that are likely to be of significance to Aboriginal people, such as ceremonial and spiritual sites. These objects and features are collectively referred to as 'Aboriginal sites'.

Recording of Aboriginal sites for the purpose of reporting to the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) must be completed using one of the following:

The iPhone app and the forms have been designed to fit the structure of data held in the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System in accordance with the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. The app and forms meet professional standards for archaeological recording of sites as well as respecting the rights of Aboriginal people to control their information within AHIMS. Other recording forms and formats will not be accepted by OEH.

Currently Aboriginal sites are recorded by heritage professionals in collaboration with local Aboriginal communities and/or staff from OEH. The Senior Heritage Information Officer can provide further details on who can record sites and how to record them. Users can also contact ahims@environment.nsw.gov.au for additional support.

AHIMS Aboriginal site recording mobile app (iPhone and Android)

The AHIMS site recording mobile app is a free download and that has been developed by OEH to make site recording easier and more consistent. The app generates site cards automatically for the users who record sites (identified as 'recorders' in AHIMS) and allows them to export data to be used in desktop mapping systems. The site recording mobile app will ensure that site information is included in the AHIMS database more quickly and improve the accuracy of the data that AHIMS holds.

The mobile app can be used by cultural heritage professionals, Aboriginal communities and staff from OEH.

App features

  • Records new sites, updates existing sites and records authorised impacts to sites.
  • Manages recordings online to obtain site recording forms, and export and import site information.
  • Faster site recording by automating some tasks such as gathering GPS coordinates and creating maps.
  • Easier site recording by prompting users to complete only relevant information rather than navigating through complicated forms.
  • Reduces the amount of heavy equipment required in the field by taking photos with the inbuilt camera.
  • Eliminates the need to complete separate Aboriginal site recording forms.
  • Submits data to OEH directly from the field.
  • Improves the quality of information recorded in the field due to the mandatory fields to be completed.
  • Reduces the number of errors created when transcribing forms onto the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS).

App user registration

Users of the AHIMS site recording mobile app are required to obtain registration details from ahims@environment.nsw.gov.au prior to using the app to ensure the recorded information submitted matches the information currently held in the AHIMS database.

AHIMS sites quarantine station

All sites submitted via the mobile app are quarantined in the AHIMS sites quarantine station prior to accession and upload onto AHIMS. There is no direct connection between the app and the AHIMS database for security reasons.

Users are able to access the AHIMS sites quarantine station to view and download the site cards they have recorded in the field.

It is also possible to import extensive searches obtained in AHIMS web services. These imported records can be viewed in the mobile app and used in the field to locate sites previously recorded in AHIMS.

User support and app help

The mobile app has been designed with user friendly and intuitive menus to allow for easy navigation. Selected fields contain a '?' button that users can tap for guidance. Where information is missing or incorrect, the mobile app validates and prompts the user to make the necessary corrections. Additionally, there is a help menu option to source frequently asked questions.

Users can also contact ahims@environment.nsw.gov.au for additional support.

Download the app

Aboriginal site recording form

The Aboriginal site recording form allows for primary site recording including the description of the five most common site features found in NSW. Pages for describing another 13 site features less commonly encountered are available by contacting the Senior Heritage Information Officer.

Download the form and a guide to completing it

Aboriginal site impact recording form

The Aboriginal site impact recording form has been developed to ensure that current information about the status of AHIMS sites is maintained and an accurate picture of the condition of all registered Aboriginal sites across NSW is always available.

The form must be completed after authorised impacts to AHIMS sites occur. Once completed, the form must be sent to the Senior Heritage Information Officer.

Authorised impacts are those:

  • which occur as a result of test excavation carried out in accordance with the Code of Practice for Archaeological Investigation of Aboriginal Objects in NSW
  • allowed by an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit (AHIP) issued by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH)
  • undertaken for the purpose of complying with Director General requirements issued by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure for State Significant Development (SSD – Part 4), State Significant Infrastructure (SSI – Part 5.1) or a Major Project (Part 3A – now repealed) under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act)
  • allowed by an SSD/SSI/Part 3A consent/approval under the EP&A Act.

In all other circumstances, completion and submission of the form is voluntary.

Note that:

  • The site impact form is intended to complement (not replace) the AHIMS site recording form – where there is a need to provide detailed information about the nature of a site, the site recording form should be used.
  • Use of the site impact form does not replace the need to submit reports to OEH as required by the Code of Practice for Archaeological Investigation of Aboriginal Objects in NSW; by a condition of an AHIP; or by SSD/SSI/Part 3A Director General’s Requirements and/or consent/approval conditions) – this form must be submitted in addition to any of these reports.

OEH's AHIMS Unit uploads all site impact forms it receives onto AHIMS as addendums to the original AHIMS site recording forms.

Download form

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Page last updated: 21 March 2019