The American Fork City Cemetery is nestled on a hillside near the center of American Fork, Utah (population 29,000). The cemetery sits on about 23 acres. The dedicated staff manages nearly 24,000 burial plots. Prior to 2004, the cemetery maps were hand-drawn. Although heavily used and relied upon, the maps were cumbersome and difficult to update. Cemetery records resided on both ledger books and in a digital format stored on the City’s mainframe computer. Neither source contained all of the burial or grave ownership information, but together they provided a complete picture.
The City hired Gateway Mapping, Inc. (GMI) to create a digital map of the cemetery showing each section, block, lot, and grave. Each grave was assigned a unique address that corresponded to the cemetery records. GMI data specialists were able to bring information from the City’s mainframe into a database and connect it to the newly created digital map using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. This valuable information—maps and records—was now in a digital format and could easily be duplicated and preserved.
The City selected Spatial GENERATIONS®, a cemetery records management software to help cemetery staff manage their ever-growing cemetery. Spatial GENERATIONS allows staff to search for a grave by address, owner, or occupant, and quickly see the exact location of the grave within the cemetery. Spatial GENERATIONS also allows staff to easily update the map, enter owner or burial information, and generate reports with ease. Transitioning from a disconnected data system to an integrated records management system has been a tremendous benefit to the cemetery staff. They now have more confidence in the accuracy of the cemetery data and in their ability to respond quickly to public inquiries. In the past, searching for a grave would have taken several minutes, even hours, but now it only takes seconds.