NEW TNMCorps Mapping Challenge for Cemeteries in Western Tennessee

Release Date:

With school schedules settling in and the Colorado Schools challenge now complete, we are launching a “spooktacular” challenge to kick off the fall season. This challenge will focus on cemeteries in Western Tennessee.  

The labels on the map below indicate which counties are included. As you can see, there are plenty of unedited (red) cemeteries that need to be verified. Don’t forget to check for missing cemeteries, too!

TNMCorps Mapping Challenge: Cemeteries in Western TN

TNMCorps Mapping Challenge: Cemeteries in Western TN (public domain).

What does each point color mean?   

These colors are part of our tiered editing process and signal to other editors that a point has passed through the upper tiers and does not need to be edited again. Our November 2018 newsletter has an article titled Editor Roles and Point Colors that describes this process further. 

TNMCorps Point Border Colors

(Public domain)

Tips and Tricks for Editing Cemeteries 

The primary changes that we ask our volunteers to look for when editing cemeteries are:  

  1. Does the cemetery have the correct name? 
  2. Is the point in the correct location? 

Confirm Names with Authoritative Sources 

  • Remember to find an authoritative source for each feature. 
  • Common authoritative sources for cemeteries include local genealogy sites, Find A Grave, church websites, and the Historical Topo Layer in the web editor. 
    • Note that the Historical Topo Layer may not always include the name of the cemetery. If it does include a name, it may not be the most recent. See the Closer Look at the Layers List article in our July 2019 newsletter for more on the Historical Topo Layer.  
  • Do not add points for unnamed cemeteries. Before adding points, make sure the cemetery has a distinct name as documented by roadside signage or an authoritative source. Any points added with generic names (e.g., “Unnamed Cemetery” or “Cemetery”, etc.) will be removed.  
  • The newsletter articles titled Cemeteries with Multiple Names: Which One to Use? (January 2021) and Misspellings in Road Signs: What to Do (May 2021) have more on naming conventions.  

Proper Point Placement 

  • When editing cemeteries, be sure to zoom in all the way and, if necessary, click-and-drag to center the point on the cemetery.   
  • Check out the newsletter articles titled Aerial Imagery Interpretation Part 1: Cemeteries (September 2017) and Cemetery Research and Guidance (September 2019) for tips on how to identify cemeteries in aerial photography. 
  • The Historical Topo Layer is another helpful resource for cemetery placement.

What if I can’t locate an existing cemetery?  

  • Can’t locate an existing cemetery? Think twice before deleting it!  Many times, older cemeteries exist in forests or overgrown brush and are difficult to spot in aerial photography.   
  • Only delete a cemetery if you have documentation that it has been relocated or destroyed.  
  • See the Cemetery Research and Guidance article (September 2019) for tips on how to confirm these hard-to-locate cemeteries.   
  • This Q&A post about Deleting Cemeteries provides additional insight. 

What about Addresses? 

Addresses are an optional field for cemeteries.  If a complete street address (e.g., street number and street name) exists, we encourage volunteers to add this information.  However, many cemeteries do not have a complete address.  In these scenarios, entering cross streets or the closest street is also acceptable.   

  • Do not use addresses from commercial mapping services (e.g., GoogleTM. Only enter complete addresses that come from genealogy websites, Find A Grave, church websites, or other authoritative sources. 
  • See Table 1 in our Name and Address Formatting Guide for more on how to format cemetery addresses.   
  • These Q&A posts discuss cemetery addresses further:   

Additional Tips and Tricks 

Reach out to us at nationalmapcorps@usgs.gov with questions. Thanks for all that you do, and happy mapping!