Obtaining and Preparing Map Images for Use with Pontem's Standard Mapping Option


Pontem offers two different options for maps that can be integrated with your cemetery's grave records - Standard and GIS Mapping.   The purpose of this article is to provide guidance for organizations wanting to implement Pontem's image-based Standard Mapping feature.  

When you opt to purchase Pontem's Standard Mapping feature, what you are buying is the technology which enables your data to be linked with existing images that illustrate the layout of your cemetery.

In turn, these associations are easily viewed from within Pontem's Cemetery Software with no need to use a third-party program.  

To facilitate the creation of this integrated mapping feature, clients must furnish a map of their cemetery in either a .png or jpg file format to Pontem Software. 

Most clients already possess some type of map of their cemetery and these maps can be used as source material for drawing a fresh map illustration, or can sometimes be scanned and used as-is with only minor cosmetic corrections.


Pontem offers map drawing and enhancement services for those seeking a professional-looking illustration for use with their Pontem software.  This fee-based service can include not only a complete re-draw, but may also include minor Photoshop®-style touch-ups and cosmetic enhancements to remove smudges, darken lines, and erase writing or errant marks on customer-supplied scanned images.  

Using Pontem's drawing services is a particularly convenient option.  We will handle the drawing for you, asking questions, and working collaboratively during the process.  We will remedy resolution, image dimensions, file format, and file size issues while you sit back and relax, knowing your project is in good hands.  

If you would like to receive a no-cost quote for Pontem's Map Creation Services, you can send pictures via e-mail of ALL your source maps for review by the Pontem Product Service Team.   The service fees quoted will be based on your project's complexity and the actual amount of time that will be spent by Pontem on your drawing project. 


You're not required to hire Pontem to create or correct your maps.  You can enlist the assistance of a local graphic designer to re-draw your maps using your existing maps as source material.  If your maps are in good condition and are accurate, you can also elect to have them scanned for use in Pontem's software. Finally, if you question the accuracy of your existing maps, you may wish to hire a firm to survey your cemetery. The resulting Computer Assisted Design (CAD) maps drawn by your surveyor can be converted for use in Pontem's Cemetery Software. 


1. One Map per Cemetery in Good Condition - You possess a "clean" original of your cemetery map.  The original has not been written on and is not tattered or yellowed.  Grave or lot layouts are illustrated accurately and the map is easy to read and understand.  

Maps like this can usually be scanned and the resulting image can be used in Pontem's software with only minor enhancements such as brightening, scaling, and cropping.  If necessary, you can hire Pontem to do minor fit-and-finish work at a cost of $150/hr.  

2. One Map per Cemetery in Poor Condition - You have one large map of your cemetery which has been used to record data over the years.   The map has been written on, (usually with the names of owners or decedents), or is stained or deteriorating because of age.   You may even be afraid to use your map because of its fragile condition.  The map may be on paper, newsprint, or vellum. We've even seen maps drawn on window shades and sheepskins! 

If this sounds like your map, we recommend you have your maps re-drawn from scratch. You may send scans or photographs to Pontem for a service quote.  Be sure to include the whole map, or we will not be able to provide an accurate quotation.

3. Many Small Maps Showing Various Sections, Additions, or Lots  - Many cemeteries have a book of maps that illustrate their cemetery.  These maps may be drawn all to the same scale, or they may be drawn using a variety of scales.  Often, these maps have notes written directly on them.

We recommend you have your maps re-drawn from scratch, combining your small maps to create a more unified image showing as much information on a single page as possible.  You may send scans or photographs to Pontem for a service quote.  Be sure to include all of your maps, or we will not be able to provide an accurate quotation. 

4. Your Map Has Been "Digitized" Already - If you have an electronic image of your map already, it may be perfect just the way it is.  To be sure, send a copy of the file via email to us and we'll tell you if the image will work well and what, if any, changes we recommend. Pontem's software accommodates .jpg or .png file formats, but you can supply nearly any type of image file you may have.  Please note the best type of image to send is one which has been saved in the native file format of the program that created the image originally. 

5. What Map?! Ha! Ha! - If you have no map of your cemetery or question the accuracy the map you do have, it may be advisable to hire a firm to survey your cemetery.  The CAD maps drawn by your surveyor can typically be converted for use in Pontem's software.  


For many, working with image files can be like learning a foreign language.  Trying to understand the relationship between dpi, pixel dimensions, file size, and image type can be challenging and unfamiliar.  Here are some general rules and things to consider that will help you understand you map goals more clearly.

  1. Aesthetics - You and your customers will view the map two different ways - on the computer screen, and on a printed page (most typically an 8.5 x 11" sheet of paper).  Therefore your cemetery map (or maps) ought to look good when printed on a standard sheet of paper.   Our experience is if an image looks good when printed, it will also look nice on your computer screen. As far as image resolution is concerned, most desktop printers output at 300 dpi or less, so a super-high resolution image is not necessary. 

Here is a useful chart to help you understand the maximum dimensions for the width and height of your map image:

If your cemetery is somewhat rectangular, fitting the map on to a standard piece of paper is pretty easy.  If your cemetery is elongated, "L" shaped, or something different, you may choose to break your cemetery into two or more map sections, so the printout will look nice regardless of what map you print.

2. Cemetery Size and Shape - One Map or Many?  Pontem's software allows you to have multiple maps for a single cemetery.  However, it's most ideal to have a single map. This is a good option if your cemetery is small - less than eight acres - because you can fit eight acres on one sheet of paper and it still looks good.  If your map exceeds eight acres, you may want to consider splitting it up into smaller maps or even section maps. The choice is up to you.  We are happy to talk through options and provide our opinion related to your specific situation.  Just give us a call toll-free at 888.742.2378.

3.  Scan away!  If you choose to scan your paper map using a large format scanner, indicate to the technician making the scan you would like the largest, highest-resolution scan possible. Request the file be saved in a .png file format.  If .png is not an option a .jpg file format is also acceptable.

Most likely you will need to scale and crop your scanned image so that it looks good on an 8.5 x 11" sheet of paper.  If you need help with this task, you can send your images to Pontem and we can make minor edits for a modest fee.  


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