BURIAL GROUND MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
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NATIONAL BURIAL GROUNDS SURVEY
In January 2021 Atlantic Geomatics signed an agreement with the Church of England to survey and map all their churchyards in England – the National Burial Grounds Survey or NBGS.
The project is described on the Church of England website.
As well as mapping all 19,000 churchyards we will photograph all the memorials, scan all the parish registers and create a digital index of the records in the registers – baptisms, marriages and burials.
Beginning October 2021 in the Diocese of Carlisle we will work systematically across the country, diocese by diocese. Each churchyard will be added to the Burial Ground Management System (BGMS) to create a unique database of church records. Each church or parish will be able to maintain their records quickly and easily and also record the rich biodiversity in our churchyards.
Atlantic Geomatics are proud that this is the first time such a project has been tackled anywhere in the world and will become a unique resource for people around the globe.
More ‘About’ the project can be found here and information about the Burial Ground Management System follows below.
For a flavour of the press and public reaction to the launch of the project, Sky News, ITV News, iNews.
PRESERVING THE PAST, EMBRACING THE FUTURE
The maintenance of burial records has, for centuries been confined to written registers and books, together with hand-drawn maps and plans. Within these unique documents hides a wealth of culture, history and funerary art. The value of this, our heritage, cannot be underestimated, but exactly where are these wonderful artifacts and how can we find them?
Technology enables us to research our past with greater ease than ever before. With navigational tools in our cars and on our phones we are able to find our way from A to B with relative ease.
What if we take this technology a stage further? What if we use it to create and deliver cultural and educational routes to and through our cemeteries?
INTRODUCING THE BURIAL GROUND MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
...an interactive, up-to-date, web-based, map which uses the latest technologies to hold and protect your records.
By gathering experiences and knowledge from cemetery managers we have created a solution which facilitates complete burial ground management, protects the heritage this information contains and brings to life the potential it has to offer.
The Burial Ground Management System (BGMS) provides an accurate, interactive map showing not just the location of graves, memorials and art but also trees, ecology, paths and buildings, and offers a whole range of other uses that add value to any cemetery or burial ground.
This comprehensive and innovative solution is:
• Easy to use
• Suitable for all burial ground types
View burial record details
Add new burial records
Upload memorial images
Search for a person
View and manage reserved and available plots
Maintain grave ownership records
Measure lengths and areas
Export and analyse reports and data. For example, the number of burials between 2005 and 2010.
Generate an individual Burial Record fact sheet showing person information, memorial image, burial register extract and location map.
Allows users to draw on information contained in historical records for community, heritage and cultural projects
Is a potential source of revenue
Hosts all your maps and records in one secure online location, eliminating the risk of loss or damage through theft, fire or flood
Has a user-friendly database which is easy to access, search, update and manage, reducing the time taken to locate graves, reservations and vacant spaces
Assists with the forward planning of burial ground management, such as reserving of plots, health and safety, memorial inspections and planned maintenance of grassed areas and pathways
Can be easily enhanced with memorial inscriptions, eulogies or anything else users may find helpful or interesting
Maps and records the biodiversity of a burial ground to help with conservation management and tree preservation. For example, recording tree species
Provides an audit of existing records and highlights gaps in data which can form the basis of further research and requests for information
Is safe, secure and easy to access
Will integrate with other systems
Preserves and protects our heritage for the future.
Using BGMS to navigate around cemeteries also helps more people to connect and engage with these important places, and answers questions around:
History: who is where and what is the pattern of burials over time?
Art & Culture: where is a specific funerary artefact or specific graves?
Biodiversity: what trees are where and how has the cemetery evolved?
Initially each BGMS is a private database open only to those with permitted access. In due course there will be a publicly accessible website, allowing users to search for burial records from anywhere in the world. This will become the go to online resource and will allow burial ground managers to utilise the information contained in their records for cultural projects, to attract visitors and generate income.
The first sites went live in Yorkshire earlier in 2020. Click on the names and take a look at Kirkburton or Shelley burial grounds to see for yourself.
Setting up the Burial Ground Management Project involves a four-stage process for each site:
Creating an accurate map of the burial ground using state-of-the-art technology
Scanning and transcribing the burial registers
Photographing every visible headstone, plaque and memorial
Linking registers, maps and photographs together on the system
The BGMS team at Atlantic Geomatics then provide ongoing support to clients with the help of an online user guide and video tutorials
Our clients include The Church of England, The Church in Wales, Local Authorities, Parish Councils, Caring for God’s Acre and more.
Atlantic Geomatics is a member of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM) and a registered Quality Assured company, accredited under ISO9001:2008.
We are regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and are full members of The Survey Association. As such we comply with their comprehensive insurance requirements.
Highgate Cemetry, London
One of London’s Magnificent Seven, Highgate Cemetery opened in 1839, covers 15 hectares, and has approximately 170,000 persons buried in around 53,000 graves. It is still open for burials today. The numbers are staggering, the site is amazing.
The cemetery’s grounds are full of mature trees, shrubbery and wildflowers. With its remarkable catacombs, Circle of Lebanon, Egyptian Avenue and Colonnade, the West Cemetery is designated Grade II on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. The size, variety and sheer number of memorials is both fascinating and staggering.
The list of famous internments is equally impressive – Karl Marx, Douglas Adams of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Henry Gray, author of Gray’s Anatomy, Jeremy Beadle, George Michael, Alexander Litvinenko, Bob Hoskins, Jean Simmons, Michael Faraday, Charles Dicken’s wife, parents and brother.
Atlantic Geomatics have completed a full ground survey, scanned the burial registers, and each of the 120 grave plans which cover the site. These are available for the client to view within their BGMS, rotated and located correctly on the map. Fortunate to already have a database of burials, transferring each of the 53000 grave numbers has been a monumental task, but fantastic to see the whole project come together. Additionally, a 3D scan inside the catacombs was commissioned to create a fly through model.
SEE FOR YOURSELF!
The first live publicly available BGMS sites are Kirkburton and Shelley burial grounds.
If you have any questions, would like to view our demonstration site or want to give us your feedback contact us at the Atlantic Geomatics office or by email to: email@example.com