Photos wanted for 3D cemetery search project.


Mon 9 Apr 18.

Ruapehu pioneers use of drone to technology to improve cemetery search experience

Ruapehu Council is asking for photos of people buried in their cemeteries as part of an innovative project that makes use of 3D mapping integrated with online cemetery records.

Ruapehu Mayor Don Cameron said that in what we believe to be a first for any NZ council we have been trailing the use of drone technology to create 3D maps of our cemeteries and provide an on-line ‘walk through’ experience that will allow people to locate and virtually visit a grave site.

“We are wanting to provide the ability for people to visit any Ruapehu cemetery online, view it in 3D, and select a grave site that will then display the relevant records for that grave including a picture of the buried person,” said Mayor Cameron.

“With ten cemeteries around our district many dating back to early European settlement Council has been working with a local historian to locate photos of the buried people that will display with records for that grave.

We are also hoping that family members alive today will be able to help supply photos of their relatives that we can use to help populate the database.”

The project has been designed and led by Council’s IT Manager Stuart Campbell who has pioneered the use of drone technology at Council which has previously been used for aerial mapping of the landfill and in support of civil defence recovery work.

Mr Campbell said that this latest project came about from Council wanting to improve the level of service it could offer to people looking for relatives or researching their whakapapa and ancestry.

“As more and more people research their family history we are seeing increasing demands on our customer services staff to assist with cemetery searches.

By putting our cemetery records online and linking it with 3D mapping we are hoping to make searching for Ruapehu cemetery information a more tangible experience while taking some work pressure off our front counter staff.

Having a picture of the buried person alongside the cemetery record and combined with a 3D ‘walk through’ experience adds a new visual element that should allow people from outside the district searching for relatives to ‘feel’ more connected with their ancestors and personal history.

At this stage we just concentrating on getting Manunui Cemetery fully mapped in 3D and tied in with our cemetery records online before moving on to our other cemeteries.”

Mr Campbell said that anyone who would like to support the project by providing a photo of their relative is asked to call Council on 07 895 8188 or alternatively they can email or post a photo to us.

Email should be sent to including the name of the person, and cemetery Plot Number (if known).

If posting please send to: GIS Cemetery Project, Ruapehu District Council, Free Post 492, Private Bag 1001, Taumarunui 3946. Please include a return address for the photo.


Ruapehu District Council IT Manager Stuart Campbell pilots a drone above Manunui Cemetery as part of the process for mapping it in 3D.

People with relative buried in Ruapehu cemeteries are being asked to supply a photo of them that can form part of the online cemetery records.

Page reviewed: 09 Apr 2018 8:56am