The Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) has added a website feature and mobile application allowing family members and the public to easily locate gravesites and other points of historical interest throughout the sprawling 624 acre cemetery.
Along with locating individual burial plots among the cemetery's more than 400,000 gravesites, users of the new ANC Explorer feature can create front-and-back photos of a headstone or monument on their computers or smart phones, and get detailed driving and walking directions to gravesites and other cemetery features.
The application also highlights many of the notable gravesites most often viewed by the roughly 4 million visitors annually that the cemetery draws.
The online gravesite locator is easily the most visible result of Arlington National's two year long accountability effort undertaken in respond to widespread complaints of misidentified graves.
As part of the cemetery's accountability project, the U.S. Army photographed 259,978 gravesites, niches and markers, and meticulously compared them to almost 150 years of cemetery records and other historical documents.
"ANC Explorer is another milestone in our transformation," said Kathryn A. Condon, director of the Army National Military Cemeteries in a press release. "There isn't another national cemetery that is as technologically advanced as Arlington -- both in day-to-day operations and how it connects to its families and visitors."
The ANC Explorer feature is available on Arlington National's website and can be downloaded to smart phones and tablets from the iTunes store, and Google Play. In addition, the application is available for use on kiosks in the in Arlington National Cemetery's Visitors Center.
"This is just the beginning," said Maj. Nicholas R. Miller, Arlington National Cemetery chief information officer. "In the future, ANC Explorer will offer features such as emergency and event notifications, restroom and water fountain locations, shuttle stops, and self-guided tours."
According to officials of the Army National Cemeteries Program, Arlington National Cemetery performs an average of 27 to 30 funeral services each day of the year to honor those who have honorably served their country.