Pastfinder Project Highlights
- Independence Church is the oldest church in Jasper county, and its founders included the first settlers of the county. It was established in 1836, 175 years ago, and the cemetery began shortly thereafter.
- The cemetery is still active, and has approximately 1700 burials.
- The primary product is a complete updated reading which includes every known grave in the cemetery.
- Previous reading documents were done in the 1940s by Margaret Paulus, and in 1979 by Zera Hansell Howe.
- A previous unsuccessful attempt to update the reading was done in 2009, when the church was cleaned and renovated as part of an SJC athletic department community service project, in conjunction with the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Jasper County. Computer Science and Core education classes at Saint Joe participated as well.
- Project funding was made possible by gifts from SJC alumni Mike and Blake VanEekeren, father and son.
- Cemetery reading is part of a generalized system to track many types of assets of local historical interest
- Sound and video clips
- Genealogical information
- Legal records of land ownership
- Biographies, obituaries, stories
- 100% Open Source software, free for anyone to use without cost.
- A primary project focus was geolocation of the asset base
- PostGIS, a geospatially enabled enterprise-grade database management system, runs underneath
- All team members used Android mobile devices with built-in GPS, carrier-provided Internet
- We worked with developers of several GPS-tagged Android camera apps as early adopters
- Over 4000 grave marker images were captured and analyzed
- Approximately 1400 images were tagged and cataloged, and are available online
- Tags in images fetched from online repository trigger project application software
- Serendipitous association with online Open Source GeoCam project
- Viewers based on virtual reality (VR) technology and Google Earth run on multiple platforms
- Work product
- Updated paper book in format similar to its predecessors, printable on demand
- Everything is available online, NO NEED FOR PAPER
- We added new features: life timelines, marker condition and military service information
- QR barcode can be generated for any asset, including a grave marker
- Reworked, optimized physical navigation system for those without Internet access
- Next phase of the project is underway, aiming towards a spring completion
- Goal is to update biographical and demographic information since 1979 reading
- Potential involvement of local churches, civic groups, elder centers, nursing homes, and historical societies
- Toll-free hotline for recording memories about people in Independence: 866-278-8166
- firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
- "Reminiscing Sessions" prototyped
We hope that upon completion of this project Independence Cemetery will be the most well-researched and documented pioneer cemetery in the United States. We appreciate the chance to be of service to our community.