Penrith and The Border MP Rory Stewart paid a visit to Penrith business Atlantic Geomatics on Friday to take a look at an exciting and innovative new project – to map every burial ground in England, and eventually the UK.
Research carried out by Atlantic Geomatics shows that more than 90% of burial grounds in England and Wales do not have an up to date or accurate map, and the project aims to identify the needs of the many organisations with an interest in knowing who is buried where, or whose remains are where, including the Church of England, local authorities, natural burial grounds and local history groups. The project aims to accurately map each grave or memorial and link the information contained in scanned burial registers to photographs. The maps will then enable users to find information easily, and they will also help to protect heritage currently at great risk of being lost, such as weathered memorials or old registers.
Managing Director, Tim Viney said: “There has been much debate in the past few years about a shortage of burial space but no-one, not even the Office of National Statistics, really knows how much there is and where. With the system we have developed it will be easy to answer questions such as this or even determine how many graves can be re-used after a certain period of time. Furthermore, the project will provide employment opportunities for local people as well as attract volunteer groups and schools from across the country. “Atlantic Geomatics, which started out as a traditional surveying and mapping service, operates from the Penrith 40 Business Park and currently employs 21 members of staff, but they are looking for more people to join their team as the business continues to grow.
Following the visit Rory Stewart said: “I was thrilled to discover that such a fascinating and technologically advanced project is being developed right here in Penrith, bringing trade to the area and providing new and interesting local jobs. It demonstrates just how rich and diverse our rural economy really is and proves exactly why good broadband infrastructure is essential in order for it to flourish. The vast majority of businesses operating in Cumbria are small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs) such as Atlantic Geomatics, and together they employ over half of all workers in the County. The success of these individual SMEs dictates the strength of our economy, and this increasingly depends on these businesses being able to access reliable, superfast broadband in order to compete with their larger, urban rivals. Ultimately, our economy cannot thrive without good broadband infrastructure, and I will continue to push for 100 per cent coverage with the additional funding the government has made available.”