Cemetery mapping services: Groundbreaking technology to serve the future 

 March 11, 2022

By their nature, cemeteries are focused on the past. But the art and science of managing cemeteries has evolved over time.  What will the cemeteries of the future look like? How will we be honoring and remembering the dead over the next several decades? Just as the traditions and rituals around death change, so will cemetery management practices need to change.

Advances in cemetery mapping technology has unlocked a world of opportunity when it comes to managing cemetery records and planning your cemetery grounds. Not only can you accurately capture all the graves and details of the past in one digital map, but you can also plan and design for future needs – no matter what those needs might be.  Here are some key considerations when it comes to evaluating cemetery mapping technologies.

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1. Cemetery mapping and the typical state of cemetery records

In many communities, cemetery data is documented in spreadsheets, handwritten and typed books, coffee-stained maps, and even only known by one individual. Managing a cemetery with this kind of disjointed data can cause headaches for those running the cemetery and even frustration in the public.

Digital cemetery mapping is all about going from generalization to precision. Whether your cemetery is old or new, it’s essential to keep track of all details accurately, for both compliance and stakeholders. Modern cemetery mapping tools have made it easier than ever to build up a rich picture of cemetery grounds – particularly those with fascinating or important histories. Visitors can search deceased records online to find their loved ones and ancestors, using their computer, mobile phone, or an onsite kiosk.

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2. Why choose Cemetery Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) with GPS Cemetery Mapping services

Requests coming in for burial space may conflict with unmarked burials that are not identified.  How sure are you that the open spaces in your cemetery are actually unoccupied?  Unfortunately, due to missing or incorrect records, most cemetery burial plot maps were created without accurate records. This can cause some major issues ranging from wasted space to double sold plots.

Accurate burial plot maps allow cemetery managers to better predict the number of graves a certain area can hold. They also protect against unfortunate mistakes due to unintentional errors in recordkeeping from past caretakers. Double sold plots have been occurring more and more in recent years. However, this is a problem that can be prevented with a GPR cemetery mapping scan of cemetery grounds that determines the exact location of each burial and by creating a map with identified locations that are available for purchase.

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Decision making using inaccurate and inconsistent records leads to errors, and those errors lead to more errors.  GPS cemetery mapping service incorporates high-accuracy GPS collection of detailed cemetery features that generates new, authoritative documentation that can be easily updated as needed.  When creating a cemetery plot map, it is critically important to have an accurate understanding of the exact placement of each grave and cemetery feature. Use of GPS data collection devices generates the necessary data for creating cemetery plot maps. These burial plot maps are intentionally designed to break down the overall cemetery layout into more easily digestible information.

3. High-accuracy GPS Cemetery Mapping:  It is precise

A GPS data collection company makes use of the Global Positioning System to survey and navigate places with the help of signals emanating from an array of satellites. It is a non-destructive and safe system that is used by many industries for numerous purposes.

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When it comes to cemeteries, GPS helps in recording locations of graves and cemetery features with extreme accuracy, and the data is transferred into a GIS platform for development into a searchable burial plot map. 

Skilled GPS technicians document each and every headstone capturing detailed attribute information for each grave along with an image of the headstone. This GPS data collection is used to generate a precise cemetery plot map that is interactive and helps increase engagement with stakeholders.

4. Providing the right data

Cemeteries contain information on the area’s social, cultural, and historic heritage while providing genealogical data and information on the history of a particular place, religious practice, and lifestyle.  However, they are vulnerable to neglect, development, erosion, and destruction.  Grave mapping is a critical element of historic cemetery preservation. 

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Detailed burial plot maps provide insight into those interred at the cemetery so that visitors and staff can easily find the graves of specific individuals. Cemetery mapping services provides data that help identify unmarked graves and generate accurate burial plot maps, cemeteries can be maintained, operations can be streamlined, and even expansion can be planned.

5. Improving accessibility of cemetery data

Improving accessibility to cemetery data is on the rise when it comes to cemetery management.  It’s now possible to provide digital cemetery maps or 360° tours on your website, allowing families to choose a plot or visit a grave without leaving home. These cemetery mapping capabilities can be a wonderful tool for those with limited mobility. Digital maps can also transform accessibility and efficiency within the cemetery office, with the ability to measure plots and plan inventory right there on the screen. Gravediggers and grounds workers can access the information they need on their own devices, too. 

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Providing optimal connectivity, interactivity, and accessibility, developing your comprehensive digital map on a GIS cemetery mapping platform will only become more important. It allows the community and your team to find information quickly and easily. It also allows you to create a full picture of your cemetery’s history.

6. Improving space utilization in the cemetery

Creating accurate documentation of your cemetery through GPR cemetery mapping, GPS data collection, and utilization of a GIS cemetery mapping platform provides you with an excellent understanding of the current state of your cemetery.  But what about planning for the future?  Space is a limited commodity, and cemetery mapping solutions should also enable you to plan for the future of your cemetery.

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Another important goal of cemetery mapping is to help improve the day-to-day operations of the cemetery and also provide a process for keeping the cemetery information up to date.  Cemetery mapping providers can add substantial value and provide cemetery managers with the information and documentation needed to enable growth, plan for the future, and maximize the value of investment dollars.  These value-added services can include digitizing existing plot ownership information, optimizing available space for additional burial plots, designing newly available space, and periodic updates of cemetery data.

Summing It Up

Having a current and accurate cemetery map is a key tool for cemetery managers, but budgets for most cemeteries are not an unlimited resource.  For cemeteries that are actively adding new burials, it becomes more of a challenge to keep the cemetery map up to date.  When contracting with a cemetery mapping company, it’s important to address your current needs, future plans, and also enable ongoing updates to the cemetery map in order to optimize the money spent on mapping the cemetery.  If cemeteries want to keep up with expectations, demand, and compliance, then a GIS cemetery mapping platform is essential.

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