Arlington National Cemetery is leveraging technology to enhance visitors’ experiences and help staff improve operations. The new ANC Explorer technology application, provides visitors with information about grave sites, memorials and special events. It helps visitors plan their visits, maps routes from their current location in the cemetery to another grave site, identifies points of interest near visitors’ locations and allows them to provide feedback about their visits. Visitors can also search the grave sites by name, date of birth or date of death and get graves’ locations, interment dates, branches of service and pictures of the front and back of headstones.
ANC Explorer, which is available online, on smartphones and on kiosks in the cemetery’s visitor center, uses images and photographs, maps and digital records of the cemetery’s grave sites. The app was developed by Geographic Information Services Inc. and is powered by software and technology from Esri.
“Having access to all this information provides two distinct advantages,” said Ryan Heitz, GISi federal program manager for the Army. “First, it helps those in the cemetery really increase their understanding of the history and be more aware of the memorials around them. Second, if you’re not able to visit the cemetery in person, you can actually experience some of it through the website.”
ANC Explorer is also designed to improve operations at the national cemetery by interfacing with its business systems and providing a source of data that operations staff can access and update. By putting all that up-to-date data in one place, cemetery staff can avoid planning maintenance tasks on the same days and in the same locations as funerals and other events.
ANC Explorer was named one of 10 winners of the 2012 GCN Awards for IT achievement for its “ingenuity in connecting citizens with government as well as creative ways of meeting the growing demand for information-sharing tactics and tools.”