What is an Ambulance Service?
An ambulance service facility is a building that houses a service to transport emergency patients and administer emergency medical treatment but does not include ambulances operated by fire departments.
It is common for non-profit ambulance services to operate out of fire department stations and to be considered as part of the fire department operations -- these facilities are not included as ambulance service facilities (only as Fire Department facilities); generally you can refer to the fire department website to determine the relationship between the two entities. However, non-profit ambulance services may also operate out of their own facilities seperate from fire departments -- these are included as ambulance service facilities.
For-profit ambulance services generally have their own facilities, which should be captured as ambulance service structure points.
Where can I find authoritative lists of Ambulance Services?
Refer to the State Data Sources pages on this website for state and local lists of ambulance services. Ambulance services generally are licensed by counties, so you may find lists at county websites. State Health Departments also may maintain lists of Ambulance Services.
Do we include air ambulance (helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft) locations as Ambulance Service locations?
Air ambulances are included as Ambulance Service locations; however it may be difficult to determine where helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft are stationed. Most hospitals have helipads, but these are not home stations for air ambulances. The home stations for air ambulances generally are at airports. State Health Departments may maintain lists of air ambulance services operated within their State.
What is a Cemetery?
The Guidelines definition of a cemetery is straightforward -- it includes places where the dead are buried. The human dead anyway -- pet cemeteries are not included. It addition to the types of features mentioned in the Guidelines, columbariums (a place for the storage of urns containing cremated remains) are also included.
Some small family cemeteries (usually historical) are included in the database, but in general more recent family cemeteries are not included. Single graves also are generally not included, unless they are the graves of famous historical figures.
Where does our Cemetery database originate?
There are two principal sources of cemetery data in the TNMC Structures database: US Geological Survey Topographic maps, and the USGenWeb project.
US Geological Survey topographic maps were produced from about 1879 to 1992 using a combination of aerial photographs and on-the-ground surveys and inventories. In addition to large more-modern cemeteries, many small cemeteries of historical significance were mapped, and these are included in our database. If you are viewing a listed cemetery location in the Aerial Imagery view of the Potlatch editor, and there doesn't seem to be anything visible there, try switching over from aerial imagery to USGS Topos, and then you often will see the notation of a cemetery on the topographic map.
Additional cemetery locations were submitted to the database by the USGenWeb Project. This volunteer project, started in 1996, fosters Internet resources for genealogical research in every county and every state of the United States.
Because many historical cemeteries have been carefully documented and included in the database, please do not remove cemeteries from the database simply because they are not visible in aerial imagery. Only remove cemeteries if the imagery shows without a doubt that the landscape has been altered (for example, a shopping center now exists where the cemetery used to be), or if you have local or on-the-ground knowledge that the cemetery has been moved or destroyed.
Where should I place a cemetery structure point?
The general rule is to locate the cemetery structure point at the centroid of the cemetery area. A single point should be placed even if a cemetery has a combination of facilities (graves, mauseleums, columbariums).
Some columbarium-only facilities are located in church buildings, although their presence may be difficult to ascertain or validate; they should be represented by a point at the center of the church structure.
What are authoritative sources of information about cemetery locations?
There are no single complete authoritative sources of information about cemeteries, but there are many internet resources that together can provide a fairly complete list of cemeteries:
What Address should be given for rural cemeteries?
Many cemeteries are located in rural areas where county and state roads do not have precise mailing addresses. You can attempt to find an address through reverse geocoding in Google Maps Classic:
Why do we collect information about cemeteries?
Perhaps the original reason we started collecting information about cemeteries is that they were prominent feature types shown on USGS topographic maps. But another reason is that there are many people that are interested in history and genealogy and find this information useful. One of our volunteers says:
"...as a lifelong genealogist, I have been frustrated with the gap between local information about cemeteries and what is easily available in a consistent, reliable, national format. I have benefited from hundreds of thousands of hours of work by others and this is the way I am giving back."