Generating the Florida Master Site File

As I’m sure you know by now, RuskinARC™ generates important state survey forms automatically from the information you put in. One of the more unique forms we’ve had to deal with was the Florida Master Site File. It wasn’t so much the information on it that was unique, but the format it had to be in.

The Florida Master Site File

Page 1 of the Florida Master Site File
The Florida Master Site File

The Florida Master Site File is an electronic form, more specifically a PDF that the user needs to fill in on their computer. Once filled in, they can be sent to the Florida Division of Historical Resources where they are loaded into their database by directly pulling the information from the PDFs.

After Miami Beach joined us as a client, we felt a moral imperative to get this form into RuskinARC™. They had told us pretty early on that their process for surveying at that point was to fill in the Florida Master Site File and then put the same information into RuskinARC™. This was the exact thing we were trying to avoid in making RuskinARC™ and we knew we had to do something. Getting rid of this kind of duplication is what the application is for!

The Method to Our Madness

Needless to say, when we started looking at integrating the Florida Master Site File, specifically the  Historical Structure form, into RuskinARC™, we saw immediately that it was going to be a problem. It’s not just that the form is a PDF, but a specially formatted PDF with embedded custom programming. We couldn’t just recreate it or make it a static form, we had to use the exact file issued by the Florida Division of Historical Resources. That meant figuring out how to get RuskinARC™ to fill in the PDF for us.

Lucky for us Adobe, the makers of the PDF technology, has already thought of this issue. It boils down to us generating a mapping between our information and the information that the Florida Master Site File expects (which we’re getting very, very good at now). We then merge the PDF and the information file together and get a finished PDF out the other end, fully mapped and ready for the Florida Division of Historical Resources.

The Results

Now with RuskinARC™, you can export a whole district’s Florida Master Site Files and get a zip file with hundreds of PDFs all ready for submission. This has saved Miami Beach countless hours of work and it’s now fully integrated with RuskinARC™ to save the next Florida community that uses it even more time and money.

Maybe our tagline should be “RuskinARC™: doing the painful work so you don’t have to.”

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