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.

digital cemetery software | comparison | opusxenta opusxi | chronicle
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.

Preserving Maple Hill Cemetery’s Heritage with Simple Cemetery Software

Scandinavian Haven – Preserving Maple Hill Cemetery’s Heritage with simple cemetery software

Size of Cemetery: Small

Map and records search: Maple Hill 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

Located in Minnesota, USA, about 5 miles away from Grand Marais, one will find the sanctuary that is Maple Hill Cemetery. Closer to the Canadian border than it is to the nearest large American city, Duluth, Maple Hill Cemetery overlooks the spectacular, sparkling next to the cemetery’s picturesque, white church.

The former Lutheran Church, now a historic building is the cemetery’s landmark, and the two were established around the same time as each other near the turn of the twentieth century. 

While it is the largest local cemetery, Maple Hill Cemetery can be categorised as a small cemetery, relatively. Its history is tied to the family of the institution’s current chairman, Howard. 

It was Howard’s grandparents who donated land with the intention of establishing both the cemetery and its spiritual centre, the church. As is fitting, Howard’s late grandparents rest in the founders’ plot of Maple Hill Cemetery. Today, Maple Hill Cemetery is run by volunteers as a non-profit organisation, is open to all denominations, and does both burials and cremations.

As can be seen from the aesthetic of the church, Maple Hill Cemetery exhibits a distinctly Scandinavian heritage. Immigrants from Sweden, in particular, are honoured at Maple Hill Cemetery. On the headstones of those interred on the grounds are names that boast this Swedish heritage – Ericsson, Haglund, Ellquist, Berglund, Bjornlund, and Hedlund are but a few. The region’s Native American history is also revered here, with those from the land’s original inhabitants also interred at Maple Hill cemetery.

As winter gives way to spring, the pinks and violets of phlox petals adorn the cemetery grounds, accenting the green tones of the grass and foliage.

Gaps in Time – Inaccuracies in Maple Hill Cemetery’s Records

The earliest interment record for Maple Hill Cemetery is dated December, 1898, making this cemetery well over a century old. A cemetery that has been around for over 120 years brings with it numerous paper records and ledgers that are ageing and need to be handled with care. Chairman of Maple Hill Cemetery, Howard, confirms that the age of the records are not the only issue that has created problems for the cemetery’s records management. Over the years, negligence has added to the cemetery’s woes in keeping accurate cemetery records.

For Howard, inaccurate cemetery records can be attributed to two contextual causes – concerns regarding funding for upkeep (due to the cemetery being small in both size and number of burials a year) and the cemetery’s operation reliant on volunteers. In terms of volunteer operation, this brings a unique set of issues.

Maintaining records, laying out graves and markers, and general upkeep present challenges. The volunteer demographic is an ageing one – finding new volunteers with the time to help with cemetery’s management work is difficult, and is exacerbated by the fact that it takes time to train new people on how to keep the books and how the layout of burial lots works. This had left Maple Hill Cemetery with numerous mistakes and gaps in their paper records that created further problems when Howard and the other volunteers sought to sell plots to clients with accurate information that he could rely on.

cemetery database software | maple hill cemetery | chronicle

They realised that a solution was required, sooner rather than later! It was imperative that he found simple cemetery software that could assist Maple Hill Cemetery in maintaining accurate records – both to gain new clients and to dutifully honour and preserve the memory of the region’s rich history. While great cemetery database software helps with the day-to-day operations of an institution like Maple Hill Cemetery, it was also a lifeline for the community’s heritage and legacy, saving it from being lost to time and consequence.

Together with the Chronicle team, Howard embarked on a journey of digitising the cemetery’s records – paper, ledgers, and Excel spreadsheets. It was a difficult start for Chronicle, as the years of record keeping that relied on various volunteers resulted in inconsistencies. These inconsistencies included misalignment between the spreadsheet data and the scanned map plans. It proved complex, but we worked with Howard to clarify which individual was interred in a particular plot by separating plot IDs (ID, section, and block) from the personal details of the interred individual so as to rectify these misalignments.

Another challenge that was to be considered was the date system. Australia employs the DD/MM/YYYY date format, while the USA uses the MM/DD/YYYY format. This had to be noted, as it could significantly impact the data in Maple Hill Cemetery’s cemetery database. Fortunately, the software allows for this variance in format and Howard has encountered no format problems when moving his records to Chronicle.

How Did Chronicle Fix Maple Hill Cemetery’s Management and Mapping Problems?

Maple Hill Cemetery’s records management problems were not unique. Many cemeteries around the globe are suffering from inaccuracies between their maps and records, caused in part by negligence over the years and a lack of training or understanding of the operations process by new volunteers. People want to help and do the best that they can, but working with disjointed and non-uniform record-keeping has created confusion and further inaccuracies with time.

Easy-to-understand, simple cemetery software was the solution to these issues. Chronicle delivered, along with an interface that promotes easy record keeping that is aligned with a visual map of the cemetery. The user experience that Maple Hill Cemetery gained from our software offers Howard and his prospective clients a beautiful map of the cemetery with easily-identifiable visuals to indicate plots that are occupied, reserved, or available.

We cleaned up the cemetery’s records, digitised them, and they’re now stored in one place – the cloud. Whether Howard makes changes to records, or volunteers do, all changes are tracked and can be easily reached from any device, whether they’re physically at the cemetery or not.

cemetery records software | maple hill | chronicle

Moving Forward with User-Friendly Cemetery Database Software

It took at least a month and half to digitise Maple Hill Cemetery’s records, working to unify data across Excel spreadsheets, ledgers, and paper documents, making efforts to fill in the gaps and inconsistencies between the scanned maps and records.

When the maps were initially drawn, it turned out that they were somewhat off-scale. It was a hiccup that Chronicle worked through, with advice from Howard and Maple Hill Cemetery, and we endeavoured to improve scaling by making the necessary adjustments.

Since our last conversation with Howard, Maple Hill Cemetery’s management is running smoothly. No major challenges have been reported, and Howard appears to be more than satisfied with the app’s performance and our after-sale assistance. For him and his volunteers, the map feature helps to easily visualise the location of the plots, enhanced by the colour-coded feature to indicate reserved, available, or occupied plots. Making edits and inputting be information is an easy, straightforward process, too. 

Howard sees that the transition to a digital platform of cemetery management is required all across the United States. Taking those first steps in digitising your cemetery records is simple – sign up and try Chronicle’s cemetery management software to see the potential to preserve the heritage of your community.

“I did a lot of research before selection Chronicle. The features, value, and the great personal
attention were what sold me. The software has taken us from poorly maintained paper records to the digital age. The best thing is the visual aspect, being able to see our cemetery, and have all the lots color coded, so that we can see at a glance what is occupied or vacant. The search featureis great, it take you right to the grave!” – Howard, Maple Hill Cemetery
 

Photo source: all credits belong to Ted Tiboni