Featured in PASCO’s College Environmental Science Instructor Guide

College Environmental Science Instructor Guide


College Instructor edition with experiments covering introductory and general environmental science topics.

Mortality Curves

Lab Summary

Use a GPS position sensor to analyze data, obtained from a cemetery, for historical survivorship trends, including determining the life spans of people in the area and how these have changed over time.

**Requires My World GIS License.


Cemeteries in long-established communities can give meaningful information regarding the life spans of people in the area and how these have changed over time. In this lab, students:

  • Collect data as a team using a standardized protocol.
  • Analyze data for historical survivorship trends.
  • Find out how survivorship has changed in their community over the years.
  • Differentiate between a survivorship curve and a mortality curve.


Students gain experience in geospatial analysis by conducting the following activities:

  • Taking a "snapshot" of local life-span data using a standardized protocol to examine and record information from headstones in a cemetery.
  • Importing this data into My World GIS™, and analyzing it for historical survivorship trends.
  • Comparing survivorship and mortality curves.

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT GPS Position Sensor


Collects GPS data simultaneously with other sensor measurements, automatically syncing the data to your latitude, longitude, altitude, and velocity. For use with PASPORT Interfaces.

Materials Used:

Blank data tables - Several
Map of the cemetery 

The Associated Bundle:

College Environmental Science Sensor Bundle


Contains the probeware needed to perform all 26 experiments in the College Environmental Science instructor guide.

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.