Cemetery Mapping

I am looking to get high-resolution imagery of a local cemetery and am looking for the tool for the job. My hope is to use drone footage to stitch together a detailed map and then add details for all of the headstones. Is this feasible with OpenDroneMap? And how is OpenAerialMap different?

Sorry for the noob questions.

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Hi @KennyStier61,

Great questions. The purpose of the OpenDroneMap toolset is to help people process imagery into map products, in your use case drone images --> orthophoto of the cemetery.

OpenAerialMap is complementary: it is intended as a platform for sharing imagery, from drone imagery to satellite imagery.

I hope this helps. This is a very interesting use case!

Welcome! Yes, OpenDroneMap would be a good tool for creating your final image. You’ll also want to look into flight planning software such as MapsMadeEasy or DroneDeploy to plan and execute the actual flight and capture images (there are many options for this). Do you have a specific type of drone in mind?

I’ll likely be using the DJI Mavic Pro.

Once I have the map layer created on OpenDroneMap, I am hoping to import the footage into my own custom OpenStreetMap/Mapbox and mark all of the headstones that way. Are there any good resources for this, or does anyone have any experience trying this?

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WebODM has an OSM Digitize button once you have an orthophoto:


Hi Kenny,

I’m working on a similar project (coding a web interface to a map and helping to organize fellow volunteers). I haven’t bought a drone yet or settled on what software I’d use. The resolution from publicly available “satellite” maps is almost good enough for my purposes when used alongside photos taken on the ground, and I haven’t found a drone+software solution I’m sold on yet. How has this worked out for you?



I have made a few maps of the cemetery. They are of a much higher resolution than offered by most satellite imagery providers here in rural America. I bought a DJI Phantom 4 Pro and collected imagery using the DroneDeploy app (free), then used OpenDroneMap to stitch it all together.

Cemetery maps

I have yet to find a good solution to layer cemetery data on top of my map (aside from pricey commercial options). I may try and develop one when I find the time.

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Looking good! Nice to see it in OAM too!

What are you looking for WRT layering cemetery data on time?

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Thanks! This is very helpful. I got a drone today (an Anafi) and I hope to scan the cemetery in the next week or two. I’ve run WebODM on my local machine using sample data and I flew the drone today to learn how to use it. I wrote a PHP/mySQL/Javascript/OpenLayers program which uses a Bing satellite maps base layer and lets me place marks and add data to them (the name of the person buried there and a link to their findagrave page, or else a link to another URL with info on those which aren’t ready for findagrave yet). You (KennyStier61) mentioned the possibility of developing something yourself. Do you know PHP/mySQL/Javascript/OpenLayers (or some of those)? If so, I’d be glad to consider releasing my code on GitHub when it’s mature enough … but if you don’t speak some of those languages anyway, it might not be useful enough to you compared to some other option you might find (there would be non-zero but perhaps low effort on my side to get the code to the point of someone else being able to use it, once it’s mature enough, but that would be moot if you don’t know or like those languages anyway)

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I’m certainly no expert in any of those languages, but I have dabbled in them all.
Would love to see the code and contribute when it gets to that point, sounds like a great learning opportunity!

Definitely a great idea to store/link to FindAGrave IDs

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Great! I’m glad my work on the code might be useful beyond my own local projects. I’ll bear this in mind as I continue to develop it.

By the way, what altitude did you use for the maps you made? I’m new to drones and map making, and I expect lower is better for smaller objects like gravestones (vs images of buildings) but I expect there might also be challenges with having too much parallax due to being too close to 3D objects when creating a composite 2D image. Did you experiment much with altitude options?

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Some, yes. My biggest battle was making sure that the drone wouldn’t crash into the surrounding trees, but also had good visibility of the headstones near the woods (some of which are directly below overhanging limbs). My strategy was to fly above the trees (was around 120-150 ft maybe), but try to keep the map plan tight around the edges so that the drone wasn’t directly above the overhanging limbs when capturing the edges.