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Develop the Survey and Illustrated User's Manual

When the goal of your project is to survey the grave markers in a cemetery, it is important to document all defining features of the individual tombs, markers, and landscape elements using a descriptive survey form and illustrated survey manual with all survey items clearly defined. An example used on a variety of historic cemeteries is available. 

> Cemetery General Survey form (DOC) (For registration with the BHP of historic cemeteries. See Cemetery Location Survey for more information.)
> Instructions for General Survey form (PDF)

>Historic Cemetery plot and marker survey (PDF) (Sample form for recordation of historic cemeteries)
>Instructions for Historic Cemetery plot and marker survey (PDF)

When developing the site survey, adapt it to the specific site and conditions. But keep in mind that the goal is to capture the majority of the information digitally, even if the physical survey is originally done with paper and pen. The computer and database can be very unforgiving. For the database to work and the data to be easily mapped, the data must be exact, must match, fields that expect data must have data, and the data must be "clean." The computer will not do extra research, nor correct fuzzy facts the way a historical researcher might who reads the old survey documents in a file folder.

To avoid problems, limit the answers to each survey question and design the survey to maximize accuracy and consistency. Consider how the information will be sorted or calculated, how the answers will map on the digital map, and how the survey could be adapted to a hand-held computer in the future.

Surveyor reviewing headstone
Surveyor

Survey tools
Survey tools