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Grave location program will soon be ready to use at City Cemetery

Locating the burial place of a departed friend or loved one in Nevada Municipal Cemetery is about to become much easier.

On May 1, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department will go live with a new “grave location program” that has been two years in the making.

Mike Liska, GIS Group Leader with HR Green, the City’s engineering services firm, took the lead on this project and was recently in Nevada to show City employees more about how the GIS-based program works and how it will help everyone who wants to utilize it.

These images show how this program will look when pages are opened on a computer screen or mobile device.

One obvious use for the program is research and genealogy and helping those just wanting to know where someone is buried.

The program will also help City staff and the public by showing them all of the space information, including spaces still available for purchase. And, in the case of severe storm damage, pictures saved on this program can help show City workers where and how headstones were initially placed.

Liska said the process to get all the information ready for this new program has been done in phases. “We started by mapping all the headstones and putting in their physical GIS location that maps it to the world,” he said. While doing this, workers also took photos of each headstone and space that would go with that physical location.

In the next phase, workers took the actual information from headstones and recorded it in the program to make it “searchable.” One of the nice things about the program is that partial name searches work. If you know just a first name, for example, you can put that first name in the search, and it will bring up everyone with that name for you to review.

The third phase of the project included taking photos of the cemetery’s blocks, lots, and spaces. Liska said the most challenging part of working with the Nevada Cemetery was the many “odd-shaped” areas and spaces with so many different dimensions. “That made it more complicated, but also made it more interesting,” he said.

The Nevada Municipal Cemetery covers approximately 28 acres and has over 5,500 headstones. The program also includes information on those whose ashes are in the City’s first 96-unit columbarium. This summer, the City plans to add another columbarium to the cemetery.

Cemetery Sexton Gene Fritz wants the public to know that this program’s information will be “fluid,” meaning it will constantly be added to and updated as needed. He believes having the program go live on May 1 is good timing because May is one of the busiest months at the cemetery, which concludes with well-attended Memorial Day services each year.

Fritz said he will have a printed cemetery map outside of the cemetery office (the little “house” in the cemetery) and that printout will include a QR code to link people to the new location program. The program will be available to link to through a laptop or desktop computer. The City will soon have a link to the program on the City website’s cemetery page. The program also has a mobile-friendly version and an app for those who want to utilize it on their phones.

–Written by Marlys Barker, City of Nevada

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