Philadelphia Area Cemetery First to Map and Memorialize with Android Cemetery App

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Historic West Laurel Hill is the first cemetery to make its business mobile with a cemetery app on the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Use the app to see nearby graves, search by name, or view tours.

Use the app to see nearby graves, search by name, or view tours.

The entire cemetery can be searched from a Galaxy Tab and the user can be directed from where they are standing to the exact location of a grave in the 187 acre cemetery.

In an industry in which more than 80% of businesses still rely on their nineteenth century paper record-keeping systems, one business has defined the future by going mobile on the Android platform. Historic West Laurel Hill is the first cemetery to make its business mobile with a cemetery app on the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

The cemetery is inviting the public to a launch event on Thursday, June 2nd at 5pm. For more information about how to try the app, contact West Laurel Hill.

“Following our tradition of embracing new trends and technology, West Laurel Hill is helping to revolutionize the way families memorialize and rediscover their heritage with the development of an app for cemeteries,” says Alexander L. “Pete” Hoskins, President & CEO.

At most cemeteries in America, the only way to determine whether a person is interred at the cemetery is by searching through old record books or card files. For over 130 years, this was also true at West Laurel Hill Cemetery. Today, the entire cemetery can be searched from a Galaxy Tab and the user can be directed from where they are standing to the exact location of a grave in the 187 acre cemetery.

At the grave-site, the app delivers a truly timeless memorial to the deceased. “Families can create a digital memorial with their loved one's life story, pictures and videos,” says Eric Robuck, President of webCemeteries.com, the company that programmed the app. “This memorial is electronically linked to the longitude and latitude of the grave and can be viewed from a mobile device. The life will be remembered and the grave can be found even in the absence of a physical headstone or paper map.”

Visitors can also use the app to be guided on tours of the graves of renowned residents interred at West Laurel Hill Cemetery. Alternatively, visitors can create their own tours and direct the app to alert them if they approach graves meeting their search criteria as they walk or drive through the cemetery. For example, the app can flag all individuals with the surname Armstrong who served in the Army for the Union during the Civil War.

For most of the 95,000 people interred at the cemetery, the app simply shows the names and dates recorded on the headstone. To capture and tell the rich history of those interred at West Laurel Hill, the Cemetery is inviting the public to visit the Cemetery’s website and submit stories of their loved ones. At http://www.forever-care.com a visitor can search all of West Laurel Hill’s burial records and submit memories, stories and photos of those interred at West Laurel Hill. This community history project has already generated hundreds of submissions.

The app has also revolutionized daily operations at historic West Laurel Hill. Rather than being lost in the traditional paperwork for work orders and inspections, grounds crew can use a Galaxy Tab to take a photo of a site requiring maintenance and complete the work order form. The photo and task is automatically emailed to the staff member who can complete the task and record it on their own Tab. The completed task is archived in the work order database.

West Laurel Hill is creating a trend in the cemetery industry with cemeteries across the country already lining up to use the new Android application. West Laurel Hill and webCemeteries.com plan to expand the functionality of the app to help cemetery staff with other responsibilities and to offer guided tours of the cemetery's arboretum.

Incorporated in 1869, Historic West Laurel Hill Cemetery is a family-owned, non-profit, non-denominational cemetery, a 187 acre arboretum and an outdoor sculpture garden rich in cultural and social history. We offer one location for all your funeral and cemetery needs including an onsite crematory, chapels, reception areas and Jewish and green burial and funeral services. Bringhurst and Turner Funeral Homes are located on the grounds of West Laurel Hill Cemetery, 225 Belmont Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA.

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Sarah J. Bonnice
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