Most National Cemeteries have some form of grave finder, or grave locator that can be used by families and friends to find the grave location of veterans and their family members. While Andersonville National Historic Site has a computer located in the National Prisoner of War Museum for this purpose, there are two major deficiencies with this system. The first is; the grave finder is not physically located in the National Cemetery. Many visitors to the National Cemetery, especially on weekends or while the Cemetery Administrator is away from their office, are not aware that this computer exists at the museum and may not be able to obtain their loved one’s grave location. The second deficiency is; the database for the computer is a manually updated Access database, which requires updating every time there is a change to any of the data maintained by the Cemetery Administrator’s office.
This proposal would provide funding to purchase a grave finder kiosk that will be located just outside the Cemetery Administrator’s office. The kiosk will be purchased from the vendor that provides the kiosks for the VA’s National Cemetery Administration. The kiosk will be connected to the park’s internet service so that it can receive automated updates directly from the National Cemetery Administration, Burial Operation Support System (BOSS). This will allow for more real-time data availability for visitors to the National Cemetery and will ensure that the data available is that which is maintained by the BOSS system, not data that is required to be maintained by the park in a separate database. This kiosk can also be used to show services that are scheduled for the day, providing this information to both funeral attendees and to the vault and casket crews. Other information can be displayed on the kiosk, such as Andersonville National Cemetery interpretive data and information on special events that will be held in the National Cemetery (The Avenue of Flags, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, and Wreaths Across America)
A grave finder kiosk is something that is provided in almost all National, State and Tribal cemeteries, including those operated by the National Park Service. This project will address a deficiency that has been noted numerous times in assessments of the cemetery operations. Providing real-time data to our visitors will ensure that they are receiving the most accurate and most timely information that is a part of the official, and permanent, interment records.
Charles Barr, Cemetery Administrator
Jody Mays, Chief of Interpretation and Resources Management