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World News

Every grave to be digitally mapped in Church of England's 19,000 churchyards

by Chantalle Edmunds

Each headstone, grave and memorial at the Church of England's cemeteries are to be mapped.

Researchers will use backpacks containing cameras and the latest GPS technology to scan burial sites in what's predicted to be a seven-year-project.

It's hoped the scheme, due to launch next spring, will help people find where their ancestors have been laid to rest more easily.

Once mapped, the online resource will allow users to see the exact location of a burial plot, along with digitised burial record from the church's archives and photographs of the headstone is available.

The scheme is funded by Historic England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and two genealogy websites, including Caring for God’s Acre, a charity which helps care for burial grounds.

Atlantic Geomatics is conducting the survey using bespoke software. It's been trialled at St Michael's Church in Penrith and work started on Friday.

The online interactive map will also detail biodiversity in churchyards.

If you know the person you're looking for you will be able to search by name and be pointed to the right graveyard.

Owner of Atlantic Geomatics Tim Viney told The Times that permission has been granted by each for scanners to walk through the the graveyards, adding that staff get "asked all sorts of questions as we go round".

The survey takes four teams a few hours to record each inch of a site.

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