Chesham cemetery opened in 1858, long before the era of digital mapping. Since then, the council relied on inaccurate hand-drawn maps, which meant the council often found the situation on the ground very different to that in its records.
This led to inaccuracies in the number of plots believed to be available and made planning difficult. Another challenge for the council was to help the public locate the graves of their loved ones.
Pear Technology employees worked with the town council to create a bespoke cemetery map, based on OS MasterMap Topography Layer.
The geographical information system (GIS) enabled the council’s GIS Officer to plot and number the grave spaces within the cemetery. The council indicated on the map whether the plots had been reserved, had remains interred within them, or were available.
The council is now in the process of digitising its burial records and creating a photographic record of the headstones. This will benefit members of the public, as searching through the burial register books is currently time-consuming, slowing down the rate at which the council can respond to enquiries.
- Chesham Town Council can now easily establish how many plots it has remaining and can better plan for the future, as well as identify when new burial sites are needed.
- Throughout the cemetery, 58 new spaces have been identified. With the exclusive right of burial for a grave costing £217, this will generate new income for the council.
- Considerable time is saved by the Parks Department when locating graves, providing a better