The Ministry of Religious Services is mapping all the graves in the country to provide smartphone users with turn-by-turn GPS-based navigation to the burial plot that they're looking for, the director of the ministry's cyber-information systems department told Ynet on Wednesday.
Lior Ashkenazi, the director, said that those without smartphones will be able to approach the guard booths to make use of stands that will be positioned there that can print out the directions for the visitors.
"Every headstone will be photographed," said Ashkenazi."We ran a pilot in the Tel Regev Cemetery in the North together with Yael Software and Systems. We ran a big pilot there, and we mapped all the areas in Tel Regev."
He expanded that the ministry identified that there was a demand for such a program in locating older graves: "We believe that the grandchildren, or the great-grandchildren for that matter, are less aware of how to reach the grave of the deceased."
The project is to cover about 50% of the cemeteries in Israel by the end of 2017. Ashkenazi explained that in addition to helping visitors to cemeteries, the project would serve as a kind of census of the total number of graves in the country.
The director explained, "We computerized 132 sites, we'll computerize 600 buried bodies, and in the end we'll map over a thousand cemeteries, which is a very big thing."
The next stage for the ministry is mapping the massive Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem. "There are approximately 400,000 graves that we'll map, including graves from before the establishment of the state," said Ashkenazi.
The program was initially announced by the ministry's director general, Oded Plus, in a meeting with the Knesset's Economic Affairs Committee.