A Bow high school senior, Elin Warwick, chose a unique subject for her senior project – one that will help New Hampshire families keep track of the graves of their veteran loved ones for years to come. Warwick used advanced technology to assist NH families in tracking veteran’s markers at the New Hampshire Veteran’s cemetery, which is located in Boscawen.
Warwick’s father works for a geographic information system (GIS) company, Esri, whose GIS app is used to teach geography at Bow High School. When Warwick learned through her father that many families in her community were having trouble finding the graves of their veteran loved ones, she decided to spend her spare time helping them. With access to the right technology, she knew she could make a difference.
Mapping the Graves
Permission was obtained from Mike Horne, the cemetery’s director, and the New Hampshire National Guard before setting out to begin the project. In order to create a database that could be easily searched, Warwick first had to go out and mark the locations of each grave. Marking the exact location was made possible with the use of the GIS app.
With approximately 9,000 graves to map, Warwick had her work cut out for her. Luckily, she received assistance from many volunteers, which included the New Hampshire chapter of Rolling Thunder Inc., a nonprofit veterans group that advocates for veterans’ issues.
Creating the Database
Once the locations are mapped, they will then be uploaded to a computer within the cemetery’s welcome center, where they will be accessible on a live website. The database will also provide images of the graves, as well as additional information about the person buried in each one.
Warwick hopes that this new system will be much more accessible to guests, and aims to mirror the system used at Arlington National cemetery. The goal of the project is to provide an easily-searchable database where visitors can find the specific location of a grave on a map, and information about how to get there.
Helping the Community
According to Warwick, due to weather conditions, efforts have been placed on hold, but there are only a few hundred graves left to map at this time. The project is currently two years in the making. Although it started as a simple senior project, and has become extremely important to her. When asked how and when she made time to work on the project, Warwick stated, “When other kids were going to the beach during the summer, I would go to the cemetery and set aside time for that.”