GIS connecting soul to soul

GIS connecting soul to soul

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Fawkner, the largest single site cemetery in Australia, is providing a better service to staff and visitors by improving the management of mapping information


Fawkner Crematorium and Memorial Park (Fawkner), Victoria, receives 40,000 visitors each week, with those numbers increasing to 80,000 in the week prior to Mothers Day. Andrew Russell, Manager of Information Technology at Fawkner said, “Visitors unfamiliar with Fawkner often have difficulty locating graves – which creates a problem for cemetery facility managers. Like many other facilities, Fawkner provided paper maps showing the location of each grave and cremated remain memorials, however, these paper maps often caused problems of their own due to their age (sections of Fawkner are 100 years old) and over recording of information – e.g where there is more than one deceased in a grave, recording and providing details becomes increasingly complicated.”

To alleviate these problems Fawkner commenced, in 2001, the conversion of all paper plans into CAD format. Fawkner engaged AEC Systems, a Australian AutoCAD Solution Centre to implement a web-based mapping system, using Autodesk technology, to complement their existing Cemetery Management System (CMS). The web-based mapping system based on Autodesk’s MapGuide solution, provides staff and the public with accurate and reliable information. AEC Systems’ Brian McDonald stated, “That using the web based mapping system, the cemetery is able to provide the public with the ability to research the location of deceased relatives or friends via the internet, in the comfort of their own homes, giving them access to a detailed location map and sufficient information to easily locate the grave or cremated remains within the cemetery prior to making the visit.” For Fawkner one of the benefits of the system is in the service it enables them to provide. Andrew Russell said, “At Fawkner value is measured in terms of being able to provide information in a timely and efficient manner to the public. The solutions are of immense value to the public, providing them with correct information quickly and easily.”

Planning and development made easier

Managing a facility the size of Fawkner requires significant levels of planning and organisation. Planning and development at Fawkner includes: the building of mausoleums with up to 3,500 crypt spaces; cremated remains memorials with thousands of spaces; and burial sites for between 600-1000 locations, each covering a space of approximately one acre within various areas. In addition, there are approximately four new projected areas planned for 2004.