A Cool New Genealogy Tool by RestingSpot!

I was approached via email by Brett Atlas, co-founder of Resting Spot, about the new smartphone application he and his friend Scott Kroeger have developed. I've invited him for a Q&A to tell us more about this new tool. and website.

Give us some background on how Resting Spot came to be:

 Last fall I was getting dizzy in the backseat of my dad’s car in Chicago, driving around and around the cemetery looking for my grandfather’s Resting Spot. We had a cemetery map and the assistance of cemetery staff (which frequently aren’t even around for some cemeteries).  It was during that 45 minute search that I texted my friend Scott Kroeger (he’s been involved in developing multiple online projects) and said “There should be an app for this.”  We started out to make a tool to solve the single problem of locating RestingSpots, but really fell in love with the idea of connecting people together through this permanent location.  So RestingSpot is really 2 pieces: An incredible useful navigation tool and an online community that allows people to interact and share in the life of that loved one.

What exactly is Resting Spot?
 RestingSpot is a service that uses the GPS technology in smartphones to help people locate RestingSpots in cemeteries.  Once a spot is marked for the first time, it is instantly linked to RestingSpot.com online memorials for users to share memories, pay respects, post photos, etc.  We’re really going to focus on improving and expanding the community aspect of the platform and we think people are going to love spending time there.

How does it work?
We’ve worked extremely hard to simplify the mobile app so that anyone can use it.  There are essentially 2 options: Add and Search.  If you take your smartphone to a cemetery and launch the RestingSpot mobile app, you can search for nearby spots or add a new one.  To add, simply stand at the spot and enter the person’s name and relevant dates.  That’s it.  The app does the rest.  Searching is the real key to the app.  Once you select a spot to find, the app uses an overhead view, a pin marker, and a blinking dot (you) that guides you right to the RestingSpot.

What kind of devices does the app work for?
Right now, the app is available for download in the iTunes App Store.  A key update came out today, which will provide a few design improvements and some bug fixes that users have reported.  The first Android version should be available very soon, perhaps even as early as next week.

How does it benefit the genealogy community?
We think this is a natural fit for genealogists.  It’s a tool that can help you locate RestingSpots not only for yourself, but for future generations.  In addition, the online profiles linked to those RestingSpots will serve as a “home base” to link to for friends and family members.  We’ve sought out the genealogy community right away because who is more interested or more passionate about honoring and remembering those who have come before? We want you to help us shape this entire platform. Tell us what can be done better, what is not necessary, what should be added.  We’ve already changed the website and the upcoming app build based on feedback we’ve received from genealogists.   We want this to be a regular and useful tool in genealogy research.  

What kind of feedback are you looking for from users?
We want to know what needs improving, what can be eliminated, what should be added.  Do you find it useful?  How is the accuracy?  Anything that can help us deliver an update that makes it easier or more productive to use.

Where can people go to get the app as well as find more information about RestingSpot?
The iPhone app is available right now in the iTunes App Store. The link is: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/restingspot/id455237705?mt=8

The Android build should be out very soon. It’s a lot trickier to build an app for the Android platform so it takes longer.

We’d love people to follow us on Twitter or join our Facebook page.  We provide regular updates on new features added, news articles, new app releases, etc.  Plus, they’re great places to share feedback and photos.

Website:  http://www.RestingSpot.com
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/RestingSpot/217684168263834
Twitter page: http://twitter.com/restingspot
Blog: http://www.RestingSpot.com/blog

What if I don’t have a smartphone?  How will RestingSpot benefit me?           
Even without a smartphone, you can still use the RestingSpot.com website, and all the upcoming interactive features.  Also, it would be fun to grab a friend or relative with a smartphone so you can share an afternoon marking the RestingSpots of loved ones together.  A few group events have already been planned here in Omaha where groups of people get together to completely map a cemetery.  Even without a smartphone, you can help organize those events in your area using your local church, synagogue, boy scouts or whatever organization you are close to.

So there you have it: the skinny on the newest genealogical tool to hit the Net..and your smartphone! This seems like it will be a great tool for Graveyard Rabbits and others who do cemetery research.

If you have more questions about RestingSpot, check out the above weblinks.

Thank you Brett for answering my questions.

Happy tree climbing!

*disclaimer: I was not compensated in anyway by Brett Atlas, Scott Kroeger, or RestingSpot for this post. As of now, RestingSpot is a genealogy tool available to the public for free.