Genealogy just keeps getting better and better. I just found out that a Utah-based firm is going to be releasing an APP they say will change the face of genealogy research. At a trade show in Cincinnati, Ohioon February 10, 2013, Otter Creek Holdings, the subject company, introduced a genealogy gathering tool that it states “could render QR codes almost obsolete”! The tool is an APP designed for smart-phones called LegacyTec, and allows you to photograph headstones to access online information about the person in the grave.
Many gravestone manufacturers now attach matrix barcodes to their headstones so that relatives or genealogical researchers can scan the code with their smart-phones, and then access an interactive online memorial page. These monument pages are extremely valuable genealogy resources, and obviously have a place in the future of genealogy. They allow families to personalize their memorial pages and update their information. The LegacyTec APP however will allow anyone to pull up a genealogical webpage on any gravestone in a cemetery. You simply need to point your smart-phone, shoot, and Voila, instant information.
The APP doesn’t need the marker to have a matrix barcode, that’s the really great thing. All it takes to connect a researcher to an online genealogical profile of the deceased person is a relatively good photo of the gravestone. At least that is the goal of the developers. The company’s vice-president, Hudson Gunn, admits that building such a custom platform for such a task is a bit of a logistics nightmare. They seem to have overcome those complications however. Rather than searching millions of records at a time, this APP uses GPS metadata from uploaded photographs to filter the search by location, usually by city or cemetery.
It’s really interesting how it works. The APP first narrows the search to a couple of hundred locations in the area using image recognition technology. The APP then compares the uploaded image of the headstone to an existing gallery of gravesite monument photographs. The company uses the huge database from around the internet, including their own website BillionGraves.com, which continues to grow in leaps and bounds. But the technology used is only half of the applications recipe for success.
The other element that could make this APP so useful is the number of contacts in the genealogy world that the company’s CEO, Devin Taylor, has appropriated over the years. The APP would be useless without having access to a genealogical mega-database, andTaylorhas convinced FamilySearch.org, and Ancestry.com to partner with him. This is exciting news for the genealogy world, especially those who like the new technological advances and gadgets that are being produced.
The APP is also designed to increase its own genealogical databases as individuals use it. When someone photographs a headstone somewhere, they are asked if they want to create a record for that person. As each user does this, the database will continue to expand, by as many as seven million people by the end of this year according to Mr. Gunn.
As an added benefit, the APP doesn’t include advertisements, so kudos to Otter Creek Holdings. The APP is expected to be ready for download in the coming week, so stay tuned for news at the News Feed at BillionGraves.com.