Covington cemeteries to be mapped and put online

COVINGTON -- Maps of the city of Covington's Westview and Southview cemeteries will soon be available in a searchable database online.

The Covington City Council agreed Monday night to pay $35,240 to Omega Mapping Services of Woodbury to create the online database.

"We will give the city of Covington a permanent handle on their cemeteries," explained Len Strozier of Omega Mapping. "Everyone knows the cemeteries are there and are a wonderful asset to the community. To date, no one knew exactly how to put their hands on the data."

But by early 2013, anyone will be able to go on the city's website and do a search to find the exact location of a loved one's burial spot.

"They can see precisely where they're buried; every single marker in the cemetery will be collected," into the database, Strozier said, adding that it will be a handy tool for genealogists.

Omega Mapping will use survey-grade equipment to capture GIS data, specifically the location of markers in the cemeteries. Those include ones installed by the city to mark previously unmarked graves that were found by Strozier last year using ground-penetrating radar. So far, Strozier has found about 400 unmarked graves in Southview and about 150 in Westview, and he said there's more to be located. That locating of additional unmarked graves will be done concurrently with the mapping process.

The GIS data will be shared with the local GIS department to link to other GIS maps, Strozier said.

Eventually, the management of the website will be turned over to the city and GIS. The city can in the future approve an optional management service at a cost of $1,800 a year for Omega Mapping to collect and upload new burial data as needed.