Virtual Cemeteries

Gregory Vogel has just put up an interesting web application on our Project Past site–he calls it Evergreen Virtual Cemetery, the Preliminary Version.

What Dr. Vogel has done is to make available to a wide public as much information as possible concerning Evergreen Cemetery–a historical cemetery in Fayetteville that he has been using as a teaching laboratory for his Approaches to the Archaeology (ANTH 3023) class for years.

Most of the information was gathered by the over 200 students and about 50 volunteers in the Evergreen Cemetery Recording Project who mapped and recorded, in detail, all permanent features of the cemetery. The mapping and recording are nearly complete, and much of the data has been integrated into a GIS relational database. This information includes a database of all permanent features of the cemetery, including gravestones, footstones, family markers, plot walls and corner markers, benches, permanent flower vases, and unmarked stones. Along with the descriptions, digital photos of most features will soon be available as well.

The GIS-derived map and database are interfaced using MapViewSVG, which is a software package for publishing GIS data on-line in a searchable, interactive format.

You can see a similar project at St. Michael’s Cemetery–an eight-acre cemetery in the heart of Pensacola, Florida. This on-line GIS database was constructed by archaeologists and geographers at the University of West Florida.

These are great first steps to making easily usable databases available to the general public…I’m thinking about attempting this on a larger scale…say, with regional site data (with appropriate safe-guards to insure that locational data will not get into the wrong hands, of course).

I’ll keep you posted.

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