How Macedon Transformed Its Documentation with Cemetery Software

Macedon Cemetery Case Study Header 3 | Cemetery Software | Cemetery Mapping & Management Software | Chronicle

Achieving Impeccable Data – How Macedon Transformed Its Documentation with Cemetery Mapping Software

Size of Cemetery: Small-Medium

Map and Records Search: Macedon Cemetery Online Digital Map

  • Digitalised cemetery records
  • Physical survey of the cemetery grounds
  • Interactive online cemetery map
  • 24/7 online access to plot/cemetery information
  • Customised database management solutions delivered at a highly affordable price

Macedon Cemetery holds a special place in the hearts of the residents of the Macedon Ranges in Victoria, Australia. The historical significance of its past lives on through Macedon’s monuments and headstones, creating an enduring, living history which contributes positively to the social and cultural heritage of its surroundings. The past permeates into the present at Macedon Cemetery, where stone and exquisite flora come together to bring an experience to visitors of this cemetery.

Among its many sights, the Laurence Matheson tomb brings a distinctive charm to Macedon. Laurence “Laurie” Matheson, “Australia’s James Bond”, was a self-made millionaire, known for his role in the Ivanov scandal, passed away in 1987. His tomb is ornamented with a creation from Peter Schipperheyn, at the behest of Laurence’s widow, Christina Matheson, and is just one of the sights in the tranquil visions to behold at Macedon Cemetery. It’s idyllic, but managing an institution like this traditionally comes with a host of issues that can be overcome with versatile cemetery management software.

The Macedon Cemetery Challenge

Macedon Cemetery presented a host of challenges to Chronicle as they began their cemetery mapping software journey with us – one of our first clients, we might add.

In fact, Macedon Cemetery approached Matthew Borowski, soon to be Founder of Chronicle, to assist in surveying the cemetery – they were not looking for anything specific or specialised for cemetery management. Their initial requirements simply included a traditional survey with an accompanying standard map of the cemetery in PDF format. Macedon Cemetery was the catalyst that produced a shift in the cemetery industry – Matthew quickly saw the existing, intriguing problems within the industry, regarding mapping, managing data, and sharing cemetery records.

Macedon Cemetery | Cemetery Mapping Software | Chronicle
Link: Visit Macedon Cemetery in Chronicle

When looking at the traditional, or “conventional” (we prefer using the term “outdated”) methods of documentation that Macedon Cemetery was using, the issues quickly came to the surface.

Nick, Macedon Cemetery’s Secretary, relied on Excel sheets,  together with old ledgers, paper diagrams and files to organise the data of this old cemetery. This was all before Chronicle – this quiet bastion of Victoria’s heritage and history deserved better. Chronicle soon realized that we needed to combine these two conventional methods of mapping plots and organising cemetery data and transform them.

The goal? Macedon Cemetery’s records and plot mapping needed sophisticated, clutter-free cemetery mapping software using a geographic information system (GIS), while also being simple enough for anyone who uses the system.

Macedon Cemetery - Common Difficulties

Remember, while management of the system performed by cemetery administrators, the maps and tables must also be accessible and easily understood by members of the public – those who come to visit their loved ones, or passers-by who want to appreciate the legacy of the area.

With this in mind, the map and table have to be perfectly in-sync. A visitor’s experience is important, as is the user experience for cemetery administrators.

Before Chronicle, like many cemeteries, Macedon Cemetery had inaccurate documentation and a mismatch between its maps and tables. It was sometimes found that a deceased individual may have been recorded to be resting in a particular plot, but when their family visits, it was found that the person is interred elsewhere – or that a completely different person is interred in that particular grave. Distressing for the family, frustrating and embarrassing for the cemetery administrator.

Disconnected – Solving the Illusion of Accuracy in a Modern World

Old, often indecipherable, ledgers are a cause of tension headaches for cemetery management. They can be difficult to read, add clutter, and it takes the time of going through a big book to find the info that you’re looking for.

In an effort to digitise old ledgers, Nick – like many cemetery managers – had previously hired someone to sort through the information in those ledgers and port it all to an Excel spreadsheet. This sounds well and good on the surface, but we’ve often found, like Nick did, that missing names, data, addresses, and numbers get carried through to Excel and are not synonymous with accurate, synchronised cemetery mapping software. This, in conjunction with incorrect mapping in the first place, created a compounded problem for Macedon Cemetery – the illusion of accurate data can be even worse than visibly inaccurate data.

How Chronicle Fixed Macedon’s Cemetery Management and Mapping

How did Chronicle achieve the goal that we set out to achieve, transforming Macedon Cemetery’s documentation from inaccurate to impeccable?

First, we acquired an extremely detailed overview (quite literally) of the entire cemetery, using high-quality satellite imaging and later completing a drone survey. To capture every nook and cranny of Macedon Cemetery, making sure that no spot is missed.

Once a visual representation of the cemetery was complete, we need to incorporate this with Macedon Cemetery’s existing records so the full capacity of the cemetery management software could be utilised. The connection between the physical plots and data from the old ledgers and spreadsheets needed to be made more accurate and complete. Chronicle consolidated the data between the old ledgers and online records, ensuring that the locations of the plots were accurate. In time, Nick was able to find the details associated with a specific plot with a click of a button (or a tap on the screen – whichever is more convenient at any given time).

Nick got the hang of this simple cemetery software quickly and was soon confident to publish records and update data on the platform himself. For him and the Macedon Cemetery Trustees, Chronicle’s cemetery management software allows for a journey of continuous improvement. This is an institution which needs to manage thousands of records, spanning more than a century of human efforts to accurately (or, often hastily) record interment details.

macedon cemetery | cemetery mapping & management software | Chronicle

Nick, and visitors alike, can now easily access the data that they’re looking for. There’s no longer a need to cross-reference three different spreadsheets, look through paper ledgers, and peruse PDFs – all while surveying the cemetery’s map. For Macedon Cemetery, it’s important to recognise that with Chronicle, they have begun an optimistic journey of steady and continual iteration towards impeccable records.

A New Age for Macedon with Cemetery Management Software

Once the work was done on our side, Nick’s job became a lot easier. Chronicle put in the intense work, going back and forth over several months to ensure that the data was compiled and consolidated accurately, synced with the physical plot locations.

Now, for visitors to Macedon Cemetery, finding the headstone of their loved ones is just that much easier. Chronicle’s process of digitising the cemetery’s old records means that at Macedon Cemetery, 98% of data and records are processed and available to access at any time. Chronicle’s interface is integrated with Macedon Cemetery’s website, allowing online visitors to directly view records of anyone interred at the cemetery.

macedoncentercemetery 1 | Cemetery Mapping Software | Cemetery Management Modern | Chronicle.rip
macedoncentercemetery 2 | Cemetery Mapping Software | Cemetery Management | Chronicle.rip

On the visual side, Chronicle used GIS to provide data-driven, beautiful visuals to Macedon Cemetery. It makes the experience of finding plots simpler and more intuitive – for both Macedon Cemetery’s administrators and visitors. Easily and accurately locating burial plots is combined with the software’s ability to seamlessly display information, stories, and headstone photos for each burial plot.

We’re proud about being able to help Nick solve his frustrations that came with conventional methods of sorting data and plot details with Chronicle. To experience it for yourself, sign up and try Chronicle’s cemetery management software now!

I’m increasingly using Chronicle to follow up and find the place I’m looking for. It’s really working well. I’m pleased with it. When there’s a question from people I just ask them to open the Chronicle website and they can get the information that they need.” – Nick, Secretary, Macedon Cemetery

Cemetery Mapping Problems and How to Organize it

Cemeteries mean different things for different people. For many, they’re sombre resting places which we don’t like to think about. For others, they’re contemplative spaces that hold the memories of their loved ones. There are also those who are fascinated with cemeteries, their atmosphere and lore. However, there are those for whom cemeteries are their everyday life – cemetery administrators and staff. For them, cemeteries mapping problems can be an everyday challenge. The truth is, it can become frustrating and painful to deal with a very unique set of problems for a work environment that most other people have no idea about!

For cemetery administrators, your “workplace” can be a century old, or more, and this comes with a set of problems that you may know too well – cemetery mapping challenges. Often, you just can’t get your head around the records that exist, and at other times, you just try your best to work with what you have. Let’s take a look at some of these issues that cemetery staff are familiar with (and possibly not even realise it).

Why Are Cemetery Maps So Inconsistent?

Quite simply, here’s the reason: most cemetery mapping problems stem from the existing diagrams and records being so old! Look, age isn’t a bad thing. It’s just that as the years have passed, different cemetery administrators and record-keepers just did things their way. Often, they just winged it.

This led to inaccuracies in the diagrams which exist today, some that are even outright incorrect! We’re sure that you’re familiar with it. You’re looking for a specific plot and logic dictates that it should be in a particular spot. You’re frustrated when you learn it’s not where the diagram says it should be, and that’s because some plots have been numbered sequentially by location and others by the time order of their purchase. 

For cemetery admin, your local cemetery association, and visitors alike, these old, inaccurate diagrams need accuracy and consistency. This is why accurate cemetery surveying is vital – it creates consistency, making your job simple and efficient. Grave plots are mapped accurately so your cemetery map shows you exactly where to find them.

Paper Records Add to Cemetery Mapping Problems

A major reason that those old cemetery records and diagrams are such a mess is because they’re all on paper. Making sense of scribbles and scratchy shapes on old paper records and diagrams is a nightmare. Administrators over the years have made annotations on top of the edits made by the previous administrator. You see the problem here, right?

As if bad handwriting isn’t enough of an obstacle to quickly identify who’s buried in the grave you’re looking at, you’ve got to deal with old, delicate paper that requires a very light touch. We’re in the digital age for a reason. There’s no need for paper when you can make clean edits and find the plot you’re looking for without learning how to decipher cuneiform first.

The issue of consistency and longevity is something we’ve solved, too. With seamless cemetery management software, every administrator works with the same mapping and record system. Everyone’s on the same page. Oh, and less paper is more sustainable!

The Tragedy of Compounding Errors

This is no comedy of errors, especially when you consider that inconsistent cemetery mapping records are made more confusing by hoping you’ve deciphered the scribbles correctly. Incorrectly identifying a grave leads to a new burial being mapped incorrectly, too. No one wants a cluster headache in the future when you find out later that a row of new burials are all referenced incorrectly.

Easily identifiable markers definitely make life simpler – using tailored cemetery management software enables you to receive instant visual indications of the plots you’ve selected.

Eclipse Excel with Great Cemetery Management Software

Spreadsheets are not made to solve cemetery mapping problems. Using Excel is great for crunching numbers and statistics, but it’s just not built to solve the issues that you’re facing when you need to know how to make a cemetery plot map accurately.

Excel is a challenge, especially when you’re trying to figure out how to organise data like headstone text and photos, correct interment details, and, of course, physical plot location. There’s no easy way to map your plots in both the real world and in real-time, as well as to get a visual representation of your cemetery’s monuments in the program. It’s inaccurate, and because it appears organised at first, we tend to feel that it really is.

Using Excel, you could fall into a false sense of security, so looking out for a more reliable solution would be a wiser move, especially when you’re made aware of mistakes as soon as they happen. What’s more, unlike Excel, by choosing to use an interactive map of your cemetery, specialised cemetery mapping software allows for team collaboration and provides a safe platform to secure your data on its cloud-based cemetery records software.

Share Memories Instantly

With the prevalence of social media, sharing our lives and memories is part and parcel of our lives today. Yet, how do we share the information on where our relatives are buried so others can identify their headstones and visit their graves? Sharing a PDF is not going to cut it when sharing information is made so easy these days – especially in cases where a family member enquires about which plot is available for purchase at your local cemetery.

This is solved with an online cemetery portal offering public access. It’s easier to share the legacy of your community over a digital platform where you can get instant access to detailed information on who is buried where, and which plots are vacant in your town’s cemetery.

Affordable Cemetery Mapping Software

These solutions sound costly and you’re probably thinking that it’s inaccessible to solve those problems with your budget. Most dedicated software solutions for cemetery mapping problems cost thousands per year. Your cemetery is already spending money to maintain the grounds, so how can you possibly hire a surveyor to walk between the plots and draw a static diagram? 

Look for cemetery mapping software that matches your budget and fulfils your community cemetery’s requirements. Transparent pricing lets you know exactly where you stand. It’s what we pride ourselves on – scalable license fees and cost for us to draw your cemetery, as well as clean and analyse the records of your cemetery of 500 to 10,000 plots.

Cemetery Mapping Problems | Infographic Cemetery Mapping Software | Chronicle.rip

How to Map a Cemetery Easily? Try It For Yourself

As a cemetery administrator, you need to know how to map a cemetery and keep up with the times. To make your job simpler and revive the legacy of your community, there’s no better time than now. You, probably better than anyone, know how fleeting life can be.

Create your cemetery, digitally, with Chronicle’s free cemetery software and see just how easily all these problems can be solved.