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Geospatial Mapping Enhances Arlington Cemetery Management
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Officials at Arlington National Cemetery will use an Army-designed geospatial mapping system to manage cemetery operations, the executive director of the Army National Cemeteries Program said Thursday.

Kathryn A. Condon testified before the House Veterans Affairs Committee's disability assistance and memorial affairs subcommitee to provide an update on the progress made in rectifying long-standing management problems at Arlington National Cemetery.

"Arlington is no longer a paper-based operation. By producing a single electronic map of Arlington, the staff will assign, manage and track gravesites with an authoritative digital map," Condon said. "It will allow us to synchronize in real time our burial operations at Arlington."

The geospatial mapping system allows officials to synchronize burial operations with other daily operations, such as public ceremonies, infrastructure repair, grounds upkeep and public safety activities, Condon explained. The system is linked to Arlington's interment scheduling system, which allows schedulers to assign gravesites and assign procession routes. It also alerts Arlington staff of other activities in the area, she said.

Arlington is the first national cemetery to use this technology, Condon told the panel.

The geospatial mapping system will use the information collected and validated as part of the Army's gravesite accountability study. The gravesite accountability effort resulted in the first review, analysis and coordination of records kept in various ways at Arlington over the cemetery's history, Condon said.

The Gravesite Accountability Task Force physically examined and photographed 259,978 gravesites, niches and markers using a custom-built smartphone application and matched each photo with records in a database. Arlington officials are 84 percent complete in validating records, officials said, and are on track to finish this summer.

Once complete, Arlington's accountability effort will create a single, verifiable and authoritative database of all those laid to rest at Arlington, officials added, and it will be linked with Arlington's geospatial mapping system.

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