As Singapore develops after its independence, a number of former cemeteries in Singapore were cleared of graves with the land redeveloped in the recent decades. Most of these cemeteries had closed when they were either full or were relocated.

Due to the scarcity of land in Singapore, land use is often prioritised for urban development and public housing. As the demand of such land use increased, many former cemeteries and burial sites were gradually cleared to make way for redevelopment. According to Wikipedia, by 1985, a total of 21 cemeteries had been cleared, and an approximate 120,000 graves had been exhumed by the Housing Development Board.

Extending from a MOE Tier 2 research collaboration between Chinese Studies and Geography where we map out temples in Singapore (visit demo) and their respective relocations across the years, one dataset that interests us was the historic locations of burial grounds in Singapore and the impact that urban development had on the pattern of its clearing across the years.

Cemetery Mapping Efforts

Under the project, we engaged a team of passionate part-time research assistants consisting of both Bachelor, Master and PhD candidates to assist with visual inspection, locating and outlining of all burial grounds that are legible on a set of historical maps of Singapore ranging from 1846 to 2010, an output of the GIS Strategic Initiative from the Department of Geography.


cemeteries estimated in total


step data verification process


years worth of maps


research assistants

Location of Cemeteries in Singapore

We relied on the historical paper maps, that were always georeferenced through the effort from the GIS-Strategic Initiative of Department of Geography, as a source of both the name and location of historic cemeteries in Singapore. As this mapping effort requires massive amount of labour to visually inspect the historical maps for cemeteries, we put in place a basic web-GIS app that allows our team of student research assistants to easily collaborative environment.

Our mapping process is currently on-going, view the interactive map below to see the number of cemeteries that have been currently mapped out by our team of research assistants.

If the above map doesn't display properly, please kindly notify us.

Staff Team

This nature of this research project is an inter-disciplinary and collaborative one involving members across different departments and entities. The following is a preliminary list of members who participated in the making of this demo at this early stage. Full details of the team will be updated here soon!

Kenneth DEAN


Professor & Head of the Department of Chinese Studies

Research interests include Daoist studies, Chinese popular religion, popular culture and Chinese literature

WANG Yi-Chen


Associate Professor & Vice-Chair of Undergraduate Studies Committee

Research interests include Biogeography, Landscape ecology, Spatial epidemiology, GIS and remote sensing applications

FENG Chen-Chieh


Associate Professor & Director of MSc in Applied GIS

Research interests include GIScience, Data modeling, Ontology and Spatial epidemiology

William CHONG

Research Assistant

Project Manager & MA Candidate

Research interests include Buddhist Studies

KIM Ick-Hoi (Rick)

Research Fellow


Research interests include geospatial cyberinfrastructure, high-performance computing (HPC), Internet GIS (Web GIS and Mobile GIS), simulation modeling (cellular automata and agent-based modeling), and spatial demography

HUE Guan Thye

Research Fellow

Lecturer & Specialist on Traditional Chinese Religion in Singapore

Research interests include the Philosophy of Buddhism, Chinese folk religion, Singapore Chinese temples, Chinese Culture, and the Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia

Our RAs

Due to the laborious nature of this exercise, we are deeply grateful to the following passionate part-time research assistants who painstakingly helped to visually inspect every historical map in our collection to locate every burial ground that can be seen. Without their help, this effort will not be possible!

(Note: This page will be updated once we are done collating profile info of our RAs.)

Chen Siyu

MA Candidate

Grace Chong Si En

BA Candidate

Hu Shiqi

MA Candidate

J'Me Ong Jia Min

BA Candidate

Liu Qi

MA Candidate

Ng Xin Yi

BA Candidate

Shen Yeh-Ying

PhD Candidate

Siah Jin Kim

BA Candidate

Sun Pingyu

BA Candidate

Tang Liyun

MA Candidate

Wan Lingxiao

MA Candidate

Wang Chen

MA Candidate

Wei Bixia

MA Candidate

Wei Qianqian

MA Candidate

Xue Yiran

MA Candidate

Yin Yao

MA Candidate

Deng Lan

BA Candidate

Collaborative Cemetery Mapping Initiative

To make the mapping process easy, we put together a web-based GIS tool with a simple and focused UI to allow our team of part-time research assistants to work using their own laptops/devices at their own convenience.
The latest result of their mapping effort can be viewed from the map above.

Part-time Research Assistants please kindly Log-In below

If the above app isn't working or you are unable to authenticate, please kindly notify us.