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Authors: Kelly Streeter and Kent Diebolt, Vertical Access LLC, William Barry and Natalie Wampler Mount Auburn Cemetery

Presenters: Kelly Streeter and Natalie Wampler


Founded in 1831, Mount Auburn was the first large‐scale designed landscape open to the public. Currently juggling its existence as a public destination, National Landmark site and active cemetery, Mount Auburns’ 175 acres boast a wealth of fences, fountains, chapels, ornamental plantings and approximately 44,000 monuments. Tracking conditions and prioritizing upkeep and repairs on these various assets is a daunting task. Currently a survey of the monuments is being completed using a Microsoft Access forms‐based system, and carrying standard laptop computers into the field. Sometimes equipment limitations or failure requiresa traditional two‐step process of inspection taking paper notes in the field followed by data logging back in the office. Currently, there are no photo‐linking features of the system.

Vertical Access developed the Tablet PC Annotation System (TPAS) to allow on‐site documentation of existing building conditions using tablet computers and digital cameras. TPAS combines the utility of the AutoCAD program commonly used by architects and engineers for the annotation of elevation, plan and section drawings with customized programming to streamline quantity measurements and photographic documentations. With the system existing conditions are noted in graphic and numeric formats in AutoCAD using pre‐defined block libraries of material conditions.

TPAS was developed primarily for the inspection of building elevations and has been used extensively for this purpose over the past five years. In reality, the technology can be applied to plan surveys as well, and cemetery assessment is a natural application of the technology. Mount Auburn Cemetery was an ideal partner for a TPAS pilot project. They are already engaged in and committed to completing a thorough multi‐year survey of all of their monuments and the content and structure of the data for their survey has been carefully planned, yet their professional staff and available resources for the effort are very limited.

This pilot project involves the creation of a cemetery‐specific conditions attribute tag library and the training of Mount Auburn personnel in the use of TPAS on a limited survey project. The ease‐of‐use and functionality of TPAS will be compared with their current tracking system. The relative advantages of the two systems will be discussed and cemetery‐specific improvements to each system suggested. This session will explore the potential that TPAS has for Mount Auburn as well as other cemeteries large, small, public and private.

Additional information: Vertical Access LLC and TPAS: http://www.vertical‐access.com/tpas.html

Mount Auburn Cemetery: http://www.mountauburn.org/contact/

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4 Responses to Nationwide Cemetery Preservation Summit Abstracts and Video

  1. […] View Current Schedule and Abstracts […]

  2. Robert Wrigley says:

    My wife’s gr-gr-grandfather is a Union soldier buried there. When we visited this grave site last October we were quite dismayed at the condition and damage done to the stones by lawn mowers running over and chipping it. At the time we did not know the full history of the markers being altered in the 1930s. We would fully support the efforts to restore them.
    Would it be possible for a private citizen to be able to contribute to the restoration of their family’s marker or replacement? Perhaps a volunteer effort of those with relatives there could help accomplish some of this initiative to restore to their original condition.

    • Jason Church says:

      Dear Robert,
      The best person to talk with will be Betsy Dinger Elizabeth_Dinger@nps.gov who is a historian for Petersburg National Battlefield and Cemetery.

    • Bryan Cheeseboro says:

      Mr. Wrigley,
      I don’t know if you’ll get this message but I would be very interested to know which of the men buried at Battleground Cemetery is your wife’s gr-gr-grandfather. I am a historian and I have spent the last several years researcing the battle of Fort Stevens and Battleground National Cemetery. Does your wife have a photograph of her ancestor? That would be a goldmine. I have never seen any picture of any of the men killed at the battle.

      If you can be of help to me, my e-mail address is bryanac625@yahoo.com. Thank you.

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