The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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October 21, 2013

Google cameras capture a walk through Arlington National Cemetery

(Continued)

ARLINGTON, Va. —

Its global picture-snapping frenzy has brought charges of privacy violations in some countries. Google said it will edit out or blur the faces of people captured in photos at the cemetery.

The images will be available to the public in May for the cemetery's 150th anniversary, honoring the day when Pvt. William Christman became the first soldier buried there, in Section 27.

"This is a tool to explore the cemetery from your home. It's not the same as being here, of course, but for so many who can't afford or are physically incapable of visiting, this is a great tool to get a feel for Arlington and explore its rich history," said Jennifer Lynch, a spokeswoman for the cemetery.

Arlington National Cemetery provides online access to photos of its 400,000 above- and below-ground burial sites. Google's images will be less granular and will capture only the gravestones close to where its Trekker passes, the company said. With 27 to 30 burials a day at the cemetery, Google won't be able to display new burials and seasonal changes. Lynch said cemetery officials will work with Google on updates.

But combined with the images already used in its Street View software and those from a car that snapped photos along with the Trekker carried by Patrick Fennie on Sunday, users will eventually be able to feel as if they are walking to the Tomb of the Unknowns and up the stairs to the grave site of President John F. Kennedy.

"We want it to be a consistent and immersive experience so that it feels like you are there," said Deanna Yick, a Google spokeswoman.

For relatives and friends of service members buried there, visiting the cemetery can be an important part of grieving, experts say.

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