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Funerals, Tombs to Start Automated Location Systems

Posted December. 11, 2009 08:53,   


Preparing for his father’s funeral, Kim Yeong-cheol (not his real name) accessed “e-Haneul,” an online system for funeral information, to report his father’s death rather than going to a government office.

He then searched for a crematory available on the last day of the funeral. After making a reservation at one in Byeokje, Gyeonggi Province, he got detailed information on post-funeral procedures and etiquette.

“Ahn Seong-ho,” who is working overseas with his family, gets on the geographic information system and checks the condition of his mother’s grave online. Because he is abroad, he cannot visit the grave and prepare for the memorial rite. Instead, he and his family observe a cyber ritual in memory of his mother.

These online services remain imaginary but could become available in Korea in the second half of next year.

The Health, Welfare and Family Affairs Ministry announced yesterday that an online funeral information system will be established before the end of June. A grave information-based system will start operations after onsite surveys of all graves across the country.

e-Haneul, meaning “sky,” will enable users to create reservations or change schedules with just a click of their mouse. The system will also provide information on the location of crematories, expenses and facilities.

User convenience is also expected to rise by allowing consumers to compare crematories. Certain funeral agencies often occupy many crematories in advance for their own clients, forcing individuals to travel a long distance to get to one available.

The ministry also plans to establish a GIS-based grave management system by linking grave data with maps. To this end, the ministry is preparing a large-scale grave survey.

Users of the system can check the location and state of the graves of deceased relatives and observe online memorial services. Once the computer system is established, the temporary burial system, which requires graves to be removed up to 60 years after they are made, will likely become more effective.

The ministry will also provide information on the deceased obtained through the e-Haneul system for social welfare and pension networks to prevent leaks of welfare benefits.