Mapping a cemetery...

I’m working on a mapping project for a cemetery where individual features will be located with GNSS-RTK (high res GPS) and placed on a digital map. A lot of the leg-work will be done by volunteers through a number of Eagle Scout projects. I was considering using Google Maps but it seems it is limited to 6 decimal places on GPS coordinates and I need 7 decimal places for 1 cm level resolution. Now I’m looking at OSM to see if this can be done. I’m fairly new to OSM but have done a few edits in the past.

Can OSM be used in this way to draw on a map? Can GPS nodes be imported. Is it possible to use layering? Can items that are drawn be kept private and/or stored locally. I’m not opposed to setting up a server for… custom tiles or whatever it is called, or writing custom software from the GPS interface to get it into whatever format is needed. I’m guessing that OSM would not want this level of detail on the public map, although I’m not opposed to making it public. I wouldn’t want people to be able to edit the data. Are there third party apps that would be better for this?

Thanks for any advice.

Hi and welcome to OSM and the forum

You should take a look at

I don’t have any additional insight on how to use the OSM tools other than the uMap suggestion above.

I was curious about cemeteries in general: as RTK GPS becomes more widely used, it would seem that individual markers could be mapped in publicly accessible cemeteries. However the Wiki explicitly discourages this except for notable graves.

I’ve been toying with the idea to map a cemetary to the individual grave. It can certainly have a use-case. Searchable index of graves with occupants and their data and a photo.
But it is the question if you want that in OSM or not.

I see no reason at all why individual graves should not be marked on OSM. We already do this for famous people. There is a discussion on this topic on the wiki: You will see I am a proponent of doing so.

There are quite a number of existing tags which can help:

  • Cemetery sectors. Where cemeteries are divided into zones adding this can help people locate graves.
  • cemetery=grave, for individual graves.

Extensive mapping of a cemetery is a good approach. There is a danger when an individual adds graves relevant to them that they inadvertently expose personal information (not least things like mother’s maiden name.

My personal use case would be to find the graves of my uncle & great-grandmother buried in a rural churchyard. On my last visit I failed (mainly because it was raining too hard to check very long in the right area). Major cemeteries such as Arlington National Cemetery and those run by the Imperial War Graves Commission would certainly benefit from this approach (although perhaps Arlington has such information available) Scholarly & ancestry uses of such are significant and definitely benefit from being shared as open data.

OSM actually internally stores data as integers, so lat/lon generally get stored to 7 decimal places (see this help question). At various times people have stored lat/lon data as tags (usually inappropriately from imported data), but the additional precision may merit this.

As has been commented, I do not think it is of interest to map the graves of individual people in OSM. But it’s a great idea for other uses like genealogy. There is currently an index of grave photographs at [

met.]( Geneanet )

Thanks everyone for the advice. I agree that this is more detail than OSM would want. After chatting with someone on OSM IRC I will probably end up using QGIS due to it’s flexibility and almost unlimited level of detail.