I have been given the task of creating some kind of graphical database to log the position of graves in a local graveyard. The existing (paper) system has a drawn map with grids of plots with numbers and colour codes. (The ones shown in the image below are all empty, hence no colours). I need to recreate this digitally, so someone can click on a plot and find out details about it, or add details.

Ideally I'd redraw the image without any numbers, paste it into the background, then create a very simple database with a few fields such as: Area (labelled A to F), plot number, is it occupied?, name of deceased. I'd then create a layout with loads of these records put into place in a grid over the image. I know it's simple to position fields anywhere in FileMaker, but I'm looking for a solution to position entire records in custom locations on screen.

But going anywhere near a database these days involves all kinds of weird complexities. I tried putting something together in Libre Office database, but that just seemed nigh on impossible to even put a field where I wanted it.

So if anyone has any suggestions on how I might be able to achieve something like this, I'd be very happy to hear your ideas! I don't have much budget - it's for my local village. Filemaker is £432+VAT - I could probably just about get them to spring for that if really needed, but I'm not sure if it'd be the ideal solution. And something cheaper - and simpler - would be preferred. It's a very simple database!

(I'm currently trying to create something using a free trial of Filemaker, but I'm not sure it'll achieve what I need). graveyard plot numbers

1 Answer 1


As an alternative, consider SpatiaLite, Postgres with PostGIS, or QGIS. These can be used to provide a geographic view of your data, instead of just using a fixed graphic image.

  • Thank you very much for the suggestions. I looked at SpatiaLite and Postgres - again, way beyond my comprehension, then gave QGIS a try. It looked promising, but then just turned out to be awful and so unintuitive that I've given up. I'm going to give them a nicely drawn vector illustration that they can scribble on.
    – Paul
    Oct 10, 2019 at 14:29
  • I thought achieving this would not involve a huge amount of effort, but evidently there is no simple way of achieving it. I don't mind doing a bit of JavaScript, PHP, tweaking MySQL databases to talk nicely to WordPress, complex motion graphics and vfx, but the world of databases is so unnecessarily complex it baffles me. Surely there is a market for a SIMPLE database with a decent GUI?
    – Paul
    Oct 10, 2019 at 14:34
  • The subset of features that you would consider to define simplicity is different from the subset that somebody else would choose, and both of those are different from someone else's, and on and on. A lot of software strives for generality and flexibility, and therefore to encompass all possible subsets of features.
    – rd_nielsen
    Oct 10, 2019 at 14:48

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