8 Best Cemetery Management Software Compared 2020

Having the right tools at your disposal to perform your job efficiently is priceless. For cemetery management, we’re becoming increasingly aware of the need to progress from using paper ledgers and Excel spreadsheets to cemetery management software that addresses the specific mapping problems faced in this industry.

What is Cemetery Software?

As a cemetery administrator, you’re all too aware that not many outside of the industry really understands the very specific challenges that you face every day. Forgive the pun, but cemetery management is quite niche!

Good cemetery software digitises your cemetery management processes and record-keeping. Great cemetery software transforms and simplifies the way your cemetery is mapped and how you manage your cemetery’s data, affordably, while contributing positively to the legacy of your community.

 

What Features Should Exist on Cemetery Software?

When looking for the right software to help your cemetery’s management, keep in mind that you’re looking for tools that will provide consistency for your cemetery’s maps, eliminate the need for paper records, and offer instant visualisation of the status of each of your cemetery’s plots. Excel is a thing of the past – you’re looking for software tailored to your needs, not a clumsy, catch-all program.

Don’t forget, the cemetery is at the heart of the community’s history, so software that makes it simple for you and others to share those memories is essential in today’s social world.

Equally as important is the need for cemetery software to be affordable with transparent pricing, depending on what your cemetery can afford – big or small. That being said, let’s compare 8 of the best cemetery software platforms out there today so that you can make an informed choice moving forward.

The Contenders – A Cemetery Mapping Software Comparison

 

CemSites

CemSites has become fairly popular in the US, being implemented in more than 40 states since its establishment in 2012, by Founders Scott McAfee and Sean Johnson. “Cloud Software for Cemeteries”, this cloud-based platform specialises in cemetery record management software (CRM), obituaries and stories, and report management, aimed at saving cemeteries time and money.

simple cemetery software | comparison | cemsites | chronicle
CemSites Example Cemetery Map: Round Hill Cemetery

CemSites is for cemeteries of all sizes. Features like grave mapping are only available as an add-on, not as a standard feature. It doesn’t offer a quick indication of plots that are available or occupied, but CemSites offers substantial information through their burial search, including photographs and obituaries. They also offer a handy flower service at the click of a button.

Pricing works on a module and subscription module, so cemeteries pay for what they need. However, it’s not clear what the price tier is like, as you can only view this after you use CemSites’ demo.

Example cemetery map: Round Hill Cemetery

What we like: CemSites offers various plans, depending on your cemetery. This includes pet cemeteries, Jewish cemeteries, and crematoria, among others.

CIMS

CIMS is focused on its GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and has provided mapping and customised software solutions for 1,000 cemeteries in the US since 1992. CIMS’s expertise lies in plot management, but their desktop and cloud platform offers accounting and document management, grave search, image storage, and lot management. It’s a great tool for large and small cemeteries, yet pricing is currently non-transparent – you’ll have to request a free quote. You have the option of opting for the lite version if your budget doesn’t allow for their pricing – a premium price for their longtime presence in the market.

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CIMS Example Cemetery Map: Belle Fourche Cemetery

CIMS users tend to learn how to use the platform themselves, making use of their commendable customer service portal. Map plots include detailed burial information but don’t offer quick identification of plot status through colour-coding – being in the market since 1992 seems to have made the platform resistant to change, to some degree.

Example cemetery map: Belle Fourche Cemetery

What we like: CIMS support is quick to answer queries and deal with issues, and their many reviews are a testament to their dedication to clients.

OpusXenta

OpusXenta is a global tech company that offers complete solutions for funeral homes, cemeteries, and crematoria. They’ve been around since 2016, and offer two main products: byondcloud and byondpro. 

It’s important to know how each product can help you differently. byondcloud is a digital presence tool, giving you everything you need to expand your presence online, connect with customers and expand your market. byondcloud, on the other hand, is focussed on managing your cemetery business efficiently to help you generate incremental revenue. For cemetery records management, the latter would be the more suitable choice.

Small and medium cemeteries will benefit most from their service – starting from $20 a month if you’re satisfied after their free 14-day trial. Subscriptions-based pricing is modular, allowing you to purchase more features. For detailed information on pricing, you’ll have to contact them directly.

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OpusXenta Example Database Dashboard

OpusXenta doesn’t offer a very interactive mapping system as information doesn’t appear when an individual plot is clicked. Without an API (Application Programming Interface), OpusXenta doesn’t enable two applications to exchange data among each other.

Example cemetery map: Not available.

What we like: Their high-quality GIS images are great to behold, and their focus extends to death care, not just cemeteries themselves.

PlotBox

PlotBox is cemetery management reimagined. Founded in 2011, this platform is a one-stop hub for death care management. PlotBox fully integrates two previously separate functions – cemetery management software and cemetery mapping. It also offers iPad and iPhone support for their wide range of features, including API integration, risk assessment, and verified mapping – ideal for large cemeteries which offer complete death care services.

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Plotbox Example Cemetery Map: Rookwood Cemetery

It’s a comprehensive platform but can also be too complex for many, so a step-by-step chat with their experts would be necessary.

Pricing for PlotBox’s main product depends on the number of users and cemeteries. They offer 3 main products, while also providing mapping services if that’s all you need, as well as standalone products like remote booking and contract management, CRM for sales, and work orders.

Example cemetery map: Roockwood Cemetery

What we like: Everything you need in one place, offering integration with your current software.

Central Square (formally Stone Orchard)

Founded in 1995, Central Square (known as Stone Orchard until 2018), still uses many of the same core software components from their early development days. In addition to having your own workstation, this cemetery management platform’s primary management module needs a privately hosted server to function. Both the server and software is set up and maintained by you, the customer, and you’re required to hire your own IT team to do so. Important to note: Central Square’s software does not run natively in the cloud and has very limited mapping functionality. Although Central Square support does their best, their reach is limited due to restrictive company policy.

digital cemetery software | comparison | stoneorchard | chronicle
Central Square Example Database Management

Highly customisable, comprehensive records management software allows for a myriad of possibilities. It’s highly unlikely that customers would be left without options, even if they’re looking to enter more obscure bits of interment data.

This is utilitarian software, best suited to those already running a local private server. No bells and whistles here, but with their 25 years of experience they know how cemeteries work and have adapted their original software into a highly competent records management tool.

Although you can purchase just what your cemetery needs, you’d have to contact them directly for pricing. Their software also has minimum hardware requirements to run, so make sure of that beforehand!

Example cemetery map: Not available

What we like: They also include point of sales functionality, helping to maintain complete sales records.

webCemeteries

Helping to manage your records and improve your process while creating a great customer experience, webCemeteries provides cloud-based software solutions for cemetery management. They also help to digitise your existing paper records with scanning and data entry, offer mapping solutions (although public viewers are not able to view vacant or reserved plots), and even website design to generate sales.

simple cemetery software | comparison | webcemeteries | chronicle
webCemeteries Example Cemetery Map: Hope Cemetery

Whether you’re managing a small or large cemetery, this is a very useful platform, but you’d have to contact them directly for any information regarding pricing.

Example cemetery map: Hope Cemetery

What we like: Their incredibly immersive Cemetery360 ground-level views of over 300 cemeteries across 38 states in the US and Canada, as well as having your own branded cemetery app available on mobile app stores.

Grave Discover Software

For reliable cemetery software, Grave Discover Software focuses on record management and grave search – great for small to medium cemeteries. Their product offers highly-detailed features when it comes to record management with a useful cemetery statistics dashboard, grave search and sorting, grave mapping, and a host of others! All cemetery data is also search engine friendly, allowing your cemetery burial information to show up on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others, but there’s no API available.

simple cemetery software | comparison | grave discover | chronicle
Grave Discover Example Cemetery Map: Rosewood Cemetery

Pricing is fixed and subscription-based – send specific details about your cemetery to Grave Discover to find out what their software will cost you.

Example cemetery map: Rosewood Cemetery

What we like: An interactive cemetery map with an option of various views (satellite, map, detail, and list data) that allows members of the public to search burials and find which plots are for sale.

Chronicle

Innovative, easy-to-use cemetery management software that’s ideal for small and medium cemeteries, Chronicle’s cloud-based platform is working to simplify the way cemeteries are managed since 2016 in Australia and the USA. Its founder, Matthew Borowski, brings his passion and expertise of clever solutions and GIS mapping to the cemetery management industry with a comprehensive, secure platform. Chronicle offers a built-in database with reporting and statistic functionality, although it’s got a closed API.

Chronicle boasts automatic backup, too, so you won’t have to worry about losing your progress. Their fixed, subscription-based pricing system allows you to easily choose a plan for the size of your cemetery. It’s worth noting that they offer a free basic plan for small cemeteries of up to 2,000 plots.

Example cemetery map: Beechworth Cemetery (or browse all the cemetery world map)

What we like: The crisp, clean interface, using high-quality GIS imaging, is really user-friendly and allows for unlimited users.

Our Pick: Chronicle and Their Crisp, User-Friendly Cemetery Management Platform

Simple, comprehensive record management and informative data and geographical mapping make this our top choice for an all-round, affordable, and easy-to-use cemetery mapping software.

Chronicle strives to solve all the major problems with cemetery management today – both those inherited from a pre-digital era and allows for sharing memories instantly in our fast-paced, social world of today. Give it a whirl and manage your cemetery in Chronicle now.

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