Thursday, May 26, 2011

BillionGraves.com

Hi everyone, it is summer again here in the deep South. Almost 100 degrees the last couple days so I decided to stay inside and get some work done. That includes trying out some new websites.

I ran across a cool new site on the discussion boards today. It is BillionGraves.com. This site is meant to be an online searchable database of gravesites. You might be saying, "FindAGrave.com, Interment.net, and half a dozen other sites already do that. What's the big deal with this site?" You would be right about the first part, but there is something new on this site. The site is based on an iPhone app (sorry, no Android app yet but they say they are working on it). This allows the individual pictures to have GPS data associated with them so they can be mapped in Google Maps. You are able to see right where the grave is located in relation to the hundreds or thousands of other markers in the cemetery.

Being a new site, they have only a couple thousand pictures loaded in so far and it looks like most of the cemeteries are in Utah. But at least that is a start. Once the photos have been loaded to the website, you or another transcriber are able to fill in the names and dates on a form that appears with the photo. This is really simple to do and anyone who registers can act as a transcriber. There are about 2500 graves that need transcribing at the time I am writing this blog. I was able to transcribe about 50 in an hour (but I only use 2 fingers to type - imagine what I could do if I could use all 10 fingers typing).

This site has great potential and goes that extra step beyond the other grave indexing databases. As more and more people use their iPhones and, in the future, their Androids to photograph cemeteries the number of cemeteries in the database will increase. However, I do hope that those who take the pictures will consider adding them to the other sites also.

As the weather starts to get nicer around the country I hope more of you will get out there with your iPhones and iPads and start adding more cemeteries to this and other websites. Have fun, get some exercise, and enjoy the time outdoors.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I noticed from the timestamp on the images, they were able to take photos every 15 seconds. That's a lot of pictures of graves in a very short amount of time.

This also opens up the potential to extend into other apps. I suspect this will eventually integrate into FamilySearch and the FamilySearch Development Community. Imagine standing over a grave with pictures and genealogical information showing up on an iPhone about the person who is buried in that grave. Then the app shows you other close relatives buried nearby.

Kristy said...

Miles -

I work at BillionGraves, and I wanted to thank you for your optimism. We're working hard to make adding and accessing large batches of information fast and easy, and it's good to hear that you see that goal. Thanks!