GPS on Find A Grave

Why are GPS coordinates important for graves? 

It’s a great question. Have you ever visited a cemetery, wandered around for an hour looking for the grave, then finally left the flowers with someone else? I have! When GPS coordinates are added to a memorial it allows anyone to easily find and walk to the headstone or grave. In addition, that grave is also verified and recorded by a volunteer. This is important as the verified location of a grave can be a vital piece of the puzzle for your research. It’s probable that other family members are buried in neighboring plots or nearby. It’s also possible that a person’s burial location is near the location where they were living. This information can help in closing connections for those you’re researching. With GPS added, there’s no need to wander the cemetery or hope for your childhood memory to find the grave. Anyone will be able to visit the grave by walking directly to it.

What is GPS?

Any location in the world can be found through GPS coordinates. The Global Positioning System consists of over 30 navigation satellites orbiting the earth. This system makes it possible for people to receive their location from these satellites through hand held receivers. These receivers can be a smartphone or standalone GPS receivers. For the purposes of Find A Grave we use the decimal degrees format in latitude and longitude (+-dd.dddd, +-dd.dddd). If you use a smartphone then you can photograph headstones and upload GPS coordinates at the same time while using the free Find A Grave app, which you can download here.

How do I add GPS to a memorial through the Find A Grave app?

iOS – Be sure you have “Location Services” enabled in Settings, then GPS will automatically upload with the headstone photo. Go to the memorial page in the app. Add the headstone photo/GPS by tapping the camera icon. If the memorial already has a headstone photo and only needs GPS, tap the Pin icon in the upper right while standing at the grave. If the memorial page is not found, you can add it using the + plus button in the upper right corner. There is also a setting for “Upload photos over WiFi.” When you select this setting, the correct GPS coordinates that were pinned when the grave was photographed will still upload with the photo.

Android – Be sure you have “Location Services” enabled in Settings, then GPS will automatically upload with the headstone photo. Go to the memorial page in the app. Add the headstone photo/GPS by tapping the camera icon. If the memorial already has a headstone photo and only needs GPS, tap the Pin icon in the upper right while standing at the grave. If the memorial page is not found, you can add it. Search for the cemetery in the app and then add the memorial through the cemetery page. “Upload photos over WiFi” is available as a setting. When selected, the correct GPS coordinates that were pinned when the grave was photographed will still upload with the photo.


In this Find A Grave app video below (iOS), it details adding a photo with GPS and adding GPS only. It also shows the memorial in list view, where you can see if the memorial needs a headstone photo and/or GPS. 

How do I add GPS to a memorial page on the website?

The easiest way to add GPS to memorials is to add headstone photos that include GPS, learn more here. Another way to add the GPS location is from the memorial page. Click on Suggest Edits or Edit. Scroll down to burial coordinates. There you can add GPS in decimal degrees (+-dd.dddd, +-dd.dddd) or Pin the location on a map.

Thank you for contributing your time, efforts, and energy to Find A Grave!

4 comments

  1. If the memorial already has photos, you can use the IOS app at the gravesite to add only the GPS coordinates. Be sure you have location services enabled in your iPhone settings. While standing at the headstone, click on “More” in the top right corner, of the memorial, then scroll down and click “Add GPS.” Voila! The correct GPS coordinates are automatically added.

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    • It is a great option cuz when you looking for someone or if you looking to fix a mistake it’s a lot easier with the GPS still the GPS it’s not hundred percent accurate
      sometime whos taking the picture
      will put the GPS there, sometime you have to wait a few seconds to get the right GPS coordinate before taking the picture.

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  2. Thanks. This is my first time doing this and I didn’t realize there was an app for this. (learning curve) I was at a funeral and took some photos of other relatives’ plaques. I failed to get the GPS coordinates. I’ll have to get the app and go back. Not a problem. I also had a problem finding the record that I added to Find a Grave in Ancestry. Would that be because there are no coordinates attached?

    Like

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