Technology at the cemetery: Haines City offers mourners GPS-enabled grave tracker

Polk County

HAINES CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – A trip to the cemetery is emotional enough without having to search for a loved one’s gravesite.

That is why the city of Haines City launched a GPS-enabled gravesite finder this month at two of its cemeteries.

“They don’t have to spend a lot of time walking around the cemetery guessing where they think their loved one is buried out there, especially if you were traveling from a different state and you haven’t been here in 10, 15 years,” said Haines City Mayor Morris West.

Mayor West scans QR code

Users scan a QR code located in a kiosk at the entrance to the cemetery, which brings up the city’s cemetery online database, type in the name of their loved one, and follow directions from a compass to find the gravesite.

The program provides the block, lot, space number, and GPS coordinates to find the gravesite.

The digital system replaces a booklet that was provided on-site.

They are then given the block, lot, space number and GPS coordinates to find the gravesite.

“One of the great things about this technology is even if there is not a headstone, you can still come out and find exactly where that person is buried,” said Haines City city clerk Erica Anderson.

The service is free to use. The program was part of the existing software the city used for the cemeteries, so little to no additional costs were involved, Anderson said.

The program is active at Oakland and Forest Hill Cemeteries. It is still in the works at the city’s older cemetery, Old Hill.

“This is the first system that we are aware of in Polk County. There is no other system of this magnitude,” said Mayor West.

Rutha Burns visited her beloved mother’s grave Wednesday at Oakland Cemetery.

She does not need help finding that site but she has other loved ones buried at the cemetery she cannot find.

“I think it’s excellent because a lot of people come from out of town and they want to visit and they don’t know where the graves are, so they can use their phone and technology to find it right quick,” she said.

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