Cemetery Burial Ground Mapping Solutions
While we call cemeteries the final resting places of our dearly departed, they do not always remain in once place. There are a number of reasons we have to move them and the bodies stored in them.
The five most common reasons for moving cemeteries are:
- A lost and forgotten cemetery was found during a construction project.
- A cemetery needs to move to create room for a construction project.
- Expansions and modifications to an existing cemetery
- A natural disaster renders the location unusable
- Relocating the cemetery to a better locations
In all these cases, a cemetery needs a good burial ground mapping solution to make use of their real estate available. This is because the rising costs of real estate makes buying new land difficult if impossible.
An ever-aging population also puts more demand for burial sites, creating even more challenges for cemetery operators faced with limited space. Cemeteries need a good, detailed, well-documented map of your burial sites to know exactly where you can bury the dead.
Cemeteries rely on new plot sales to fund their operations, but without land to sell these cemeteries start to buckle under the stress. The upkeep costs begin taxing the local taxpayers or leave the cemeteries abandoned, pushing the problem to other cemeteries in the area.
Regardless of why you need to expand or move, your cemetery needs to maximize the use of its burial spaces. You need to know the locations of your existing grave sites and where you can place new ones without disturbing the existing plots.
Most people would just believe they can just walk through their cemetery and mark off each grave site as they go. Unfortunately, physical erosion degrades headstones quickly. Then, you have to deal with vandalism, nearby land development, and other anthropogenic activities. These problems may leave you with a number of unmarked graves that you cannot overlook in any expansion or move.
In any case, you need detailed maps and databases of all burial plots in your cemetery. These documents are the keys to successfully managing a cemetery. However, there is no reliable and systematic guide for grave site mapping and planning.
This is especially true for historical cemeteries. These burial grounds rarely have any of their grave site locations mapped. These cemeteries have long histories before burial site maps became useful, and thus rarely have any grave site mapping documentation.
Fortunately, there are many burial ground mapping tools and software out there to help you manage the land. Ground penetrating radar is the most used tool we have. People used ground penetrating radar to map cemeteries since the 1980s. Today, it is your first screening tool for finding unmarked grave sites. You can even use ground penetrating radar to mark off the edges of every known and unknown plot in your cemetery.
Electrical resistivity is another mapping tool at our disposal. While not as effective as ground penetrating radar, electrical resistivity identifies subsurface features that may mark burial sites. We can also use ground penetrating radar, aerial imagery, and high-resolution pictures to document the locations of your graves.
Finally, land management software collects the data from these two mapping methods and others to create detailed documentation and maps of every burial plot and potential burial plot you have in a number of CAD formats, allow you to update your burial ground maps and database as needed, putting you in control of your cemetery management and logistics.
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