Online Cemetery Makes Tough Visits Easier

February 13, 2012 -- One of Adelaide’s largest cemeteries – famous as the site of Sir Donald Bradman’s funeral – can add another unique story to the pages of its history: becoming the nation’s first cemetery to use world-leading technology to take their graveyard online.

Centennial Park Cemetery has used Esri Australia’s Geographic Information System technology to create a website that maps the location of graves so visitors can easily find information about their loved one’s final resting place.

The website will be joined by a mobile phone application to be released later this year, meaning visitors will be able to navigate their way around 40.5 hectare cemetery from the palm of their hands.

Centennial Park IT manager Matthew Morgan said the technology enables visitors to the cemetery to go online and access directions to sites and information about a loved one, including their age, when they died and where they last lived.

“Attempting to locate a deceased loved one may seem like a daunting task when you first visit Centennial Park,” Mr Morgan said.

“We’ve made that difficult process a little easier to deal with by providing visitors with everything they need to know at their fingertips.

“People can access records of their ancestors and view detailed maps so that they know exactly where to visit before they leave the house.

“With GIS technology, all the information and maps are there at the click of a button, hopefully making potentially difficult visits a little easier.

“It is especially beneficial to new or interstate visitors and people who haven’t visited for a long time – as well as those in mourning who want the experience to be as private as possible.”

Centennial Park, which contains 134,000 burial and memorial sites, is the nation’s first cemetery to implement Esri Australia’s world-leading GIS technology in this way.

 Esri Australia Adelaide Business Manager David Trengove said Centennial Park’s creative use of GIS reflects a broader trend of organisations looking to leverage the location component of their information.

“GIS technology maps the geographic elements in an organisation’s data and translates it into a universal and easy-to-understand language that transcends culture, education and language,” Mr Trengove said.

“A growing number of businesses around the country are realising that representing data in the visual format of a map is a valuable way to manage information and strengthen decision-making.

“In the past year alone, GIS has underpinned the response efforts during the Queensland floods, formed the basis of the nation’s first bushfire simulation tool and been used in conservation efforts for koala, Loggerhead turtle and Little Penguin research.

“But Centennial Park is the first organisation to use the technology to take a cemetery online.”

 Centennial Park also plan to provide people with the ability to purchase burial and memorial sites using the map search function on the website, and view memorial walls in 3D.

“People will be able to take a heritage tour on the cemetery’s website,” Mr Morgan said.

“The Cemetery’s rich history spans more than 75 years and GIS technology means for the first time, we will be able to convey this heritage to people easily and accurately.”

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