Their goal is to get a billion graves (or more) put online.
The most successful venture in uploading headstone photos to date is Find A Grave with 66 million graves while BillionGraves only had about 50,000 graves two months past their launch.1
Find A Grave has been around for more than a decade. What makes BillionGraves think they can surpass 66 million? I don't know what makes each person think that, but I know why I think so. I've uploaded hundreds of grave images to Find A Grave so I am prepared to compare the services. I think BillionGraves has 2 keys to success.
- Smart Phones
- Crowd-sourcing transcriptions
- Increased Speed of Photography - With the Motorola Atrix 4G smart phone I was able to photograph images more quickly than I could with either my DSLR or my 14 megapixel Kodak.
- The Phone's GPS Organizes Everything - It will put them in the correct cemetery and will GPS tag every photo's location exaclty. This feature is exciting for many reasons, such as keeping track of which headstones have been photographed already and helping descendents find the headstone should they want to visit in person. On Find A Grave you had to select which cemetery to upload your photos to after you took your camera home and transferred the photos to your computer.
- Instant Uploading - If you have a good data plan, upload images while you are taking more pictures. The phone does it for you, just set it up under the settings tab of the app. If your data plan is an issue you can simply wait until you get to WiFi, start the process, and the phone does the rest. You can even save more time by having your phone auto-delete images that have been uploaded.
Crowd-sourcing means that anyone can help with transcription. All you have to do is go to BillionGraves.com and click Transcribe. The online transcribing form is easy to use. With Find A Grave you could transcribe them yourself or... oh, that is the only option. Personally, I am good at taking lots of pictures, but I can only transcribe a little at a time. This feature lets people help how they want to. You can even choose to only transcribe or to only photograph graves. It is kind of like a FamilySearch Indexing for graves.
BillionGraves is in its infancy, but it is growing fast. This month all users who upload 1,000 or more grave images will receive a free BillionGraves t-shirt. I finished the challenge this morning. Hurry. There are only ten days left.
Which phones does BillionGraves work with? - iPhones and select Android phones
We hope to provide an expansive family history database for records and images from the world’s cemeteries—but it’s not something we can do alone. We need you to help us by collecting images from your local cemeteries and transcribing the information those headstone images provide.
Help us make family history research more accessible to everyone. Take the BillionGraves.com iPhone/Android app with you when you go to the cemetery and contribute to the grave image database. Even if you don’t have the gadgets required to collect images for BillionGraves, you can still help build the database by transcribing the images so anyone, anywhere, can find ancestors’ graves with just a few clicks of the mouse.