Hassle Free GIS Applications in Wo Hop Shek Cemetery

The recent opening of the award-winning Kiu Tau Road Columbarium facility at Wo Hop Shek Public Cemetery unveiled a creative online GIS application.

In enhancing the facilities and services of public cemeteries and crematoria, the Food and Environment Hygiene Department (FEHD) has successfully transformed and brought the GIS in front of the public with added convenience and efficiency.

The new location guiding service using GIS technology in Wo Hop Shek Public Cemetery can tremendously reduce the time and hassle for visitors to locate the graves or niches of their deceased beloved during or prior to their visits with ease.

The Location Guiding System (LGS) is designed as part of the means to improve experience of the visitors of local cemeteries. The system is a GIS based system and built on Esri’s ArcGIS for Server, ArcGIS for Desktop and ArcGIS Network Analyst. Its data sources are the basemap data from Lands Department and the deceased information from FEHD.

Visitors can easily find the new columbarium inside of the Cemetery by using more than 10 touch-screen kiosks which have access to the LGS. The kiosks are located at the Customer Electronic Information Centre of the cemetery and the system covers all graves and niches in the area of Wo Hop Shek Public Cemetery.

Customer Electronic Information Centre of the cemetery is located in the new Columbarium at Wo Hop Shek Public Cemetery.

Customer Electronic Information Centre of the cemetery is located in the new Columbarium at Wo Hop Shek Public Cemetery.

At the kiosks, visitors can search through various parameters including names, date of death, grave burial or niche check-in date, and burial grave or niche number. The guiding information of the graves or niches of their deceased beloved will pop up on the screen in the format of an interactive map with graphical instructions in seconds.

Kiosks installed in Customer Electronic Information Centre for visitors to locate the graves or niches of ancestors.

Kiosks installed in Customer Electronic Information Centre for visitors to locate the graves or niches of ancestors.

The guiding information includes exact path from the kiosks to the grave/niche or grave/niche section. On top of that, the system provides zoom-in, zoom-out and panning functions so that visitors can navigate the map and adjust it to their desired position. In addition, the user interface supports interchangeable language choice between Traditional Chinese / English / Simplified Chinese and various input methods, meeting the needs of visitors with different language capabilities.

There are big flat-panel displays on the wall in some of the partitions of the Customer Electronic Information Centre. In these partitions, visitors can view the location of the graves or niches, the path on screens of kiosks and the big displays simultaneously. Therefore, visitors can have an even clearer idea of how to get to their destination. Visitors can also print a handy guiding map with the printers connected to the kiosks.

Large flat-panel displays are installed in partitions for clearer viewing of the paths to graves and niches.

Large flat-panel displays are installed in partitions for clearer viewing of the paths to graves and niches.

In addition to the LGS, FEHD also have some available urn grave spaces in Wo Hop Shek from time to time open for application. FEHD employs Esri’s GIS technology to facilitate searching services of the available urn grave spaces on web, a significant enhancement to the entire application process. Citizens can now click through different locations on the map, view and select the niches they desire, then submit their applications to FEHD in accordance with established procedures. Readers who are interested in this service can click here and give it a try.

Citizens can search desired urn grave space over the internet through the online map of the browsing service.

Citizens can search desired urn grave space over the internet through the online map of the browsing service.

The above innovative and useful services launched recently have received very positive feedbacks from the public. They are based on the ideas of GIS users and well echoing the famous statement by Esri President Jack Dangermond: “The application of GIS is limited only by the imagination of those who use it”.

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