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Hello Android users!

I am the new BillionGraves Android developer.  Before submitting my first update to the Android app, I wanted to get a feel for the most painful problems you are facing.

So, without further ado, 

What would you like to have fixed/updated in the Android app?

Which is the most important feature that iOS has that you wish Android had?

Are there any of you that currently can't take pictures with your Android device?  Which device do you have?

I can't promise that all of your feature requests will make it into the next update because I'm tackling things one piece at a time, but I want to make sure that we know about all of the problems that people are experiencing so that I can start to address them as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your contribution to the cause!

asked in Using the Android Application by CaseyMonc BG Master (101k points)
I think it would be helpful to be able to use the zoom feature of the Android camera.  When photographing in mausoleums, it is not possible for me to photograph the tombs that are as much as 10 feet above me with the current Android app.

Will the Android app automatically update when you release it?


Click the link to the BillionGraves Android Beta Application: 

Follow the steps through the URL and you will be able to have an UPDATED version of the Android application before its OUT!


BG Support

fix the problem of uploading sideway pictures asap   it wasnt doing it last week and previous chat agent said its easy to turn the picture . It may well be  but after 20000 times its server borelake

I fee sorry for the transcribers   so much so that I will help by not uploading any more picture

It is no problem for me to click a rotation button to transcribe a headstone.  Please don't stop uploading just because it comes up sideways.  A clear picture of a clean headstone without flowers, markers, shoes, dirt or other plant/animals covering essential information is much more important that if the picture pops in upside down or sideways.
Some of the ones mentioned would be great for me.  But that being said, the feature I would love to fix is the upload feature.  I just went to a cemetery and took pictures of a section that had not been touched.  Been trying to upload them for several days now.  The circle is just spinning and spinning.

Android 5.0

Samsung SM-G900AZ

Security patch 2017-03-1

Baseband version G900AZTUS3B0GI

Kernel ver. 3.4.0-4837836
Thank you for asking how to improve the app.  It's a lonely world out here for all of us trying to get good help from BG.  My problems are mostly with the transcription side.  But anyway, as far as the app:

1)  I had a bulb set off in my head about making photo taking a little more ergonomic, so I thought maybe using a selfie stick would allow me to point it down or up to either head stones or others and prevent some bending, stooping, or stretching when taking photos.  Alas, it didn't work because I guess I have to actually touch the screen.  BTW, can you make it so just touching the screen, and not necessarily the green button, take the photo?  That would help a lot.

btw2:  Can you get the software enhancers to care what improvements are made and to please provide more personal support for transcribers?  They could make life a lot easier for us transcribers who are helping for this cause.  After all, we all have the same goal.
Add me to zoom camp. It is an option for iOS devices last time I used an iOS device to take photos with the app and I was disappointed it's not an option for Android devices. I was in a mausoleum last year and I couldn't get the app to work before I went in the mausoleum so I took a bunch of photos using the Android's camera and zoom came in handy as some of the vaults were 6 high. Without zoom, I won't be able to get those above maybe 3, possibly 4 high. This mausoleum is one of several in the area that are hard to get into. It's only unlocked twice a year, Memorial Day and Christmas Day.

I haven't tried preview mode in a while, but it had a bad habit of showing a photo that appeared to be in or out of focus, but once uploaded, some of the photos were actually the opposite. I ignore how the photo appears in preview mode now except to use it as a gauge if the photo successfully took. In a small percentage of photos, the app seems to take the photo, but when I go to upload and look for the photo, it's not there. With preview mode, if the image doesn't show up, it means the photo wasn't taken so I know I need to retake it. Be great if I could rely on it to know if the photo was/wasn't blurry.

In terms of the auto-focus, I usually turn it off because it was having too many problems. I haven't photographed lately due to winter, but I am hopefully auto-focus has improved as I find it helpful when it did work.


24 Answers

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Best answer


Click the link to the BillionGraves Android Beta Application: 

Follow the steps through the URL and you will be able to have an UPDATED 4/18/17 version of the Android application before its OUT!


BG Support

answered by BillionGraves Admin BG Master (157k points)
edited by BillionGraves Admin
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I'm a transcriber, not a photographer, but I regularly transcribe for a photographer who uses the Android app.

The single biggest problem is the app's inability to focus. Closeup shots taken on his phone outside of the app look just fine. Closeup shots taken via the BG app are so blurry they are almost impossible to transcribe. Details here, with screenshots so you can see the difference between the two: http://community.billiongraves.com/4029/blurry-images?show=4056#c4056
answered by Grave_Digger BG Master (91.4k points)
I have the same problem using an LG G2 (Android 4.4.2). It is impossible to get focussed images of small writing or other details. The phone's camera itself has no problem with auto-focussing on very close objects so it is a problem with the BG app.
Thanks for your feedback.  I have added auto focus to the app's settings, since some older phones really struggle with the auto focus feature, we will still allow users to turn it off.
Thanks for your response to my comment, GraveTrain, and for all of your other responses on this page, which I've been reading with great interest. It's fantastic to see someone from BG really taking our ideas and concerns on board and interacting with us. It doesn't happen nearly often enough in this Community area. Much appreciated.
I can't download the app with my RCA android voyager 1 tablet 4.4 kit kat .
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I would like to be able to see cemetaries in the database further out, it seems like it gives me about a 10 mile radius. i would like to be able to choose via dropdown or typing in a distance for the search. I would also like to be able to upload photos from my gallery from previous cemtary visits. I just downloaded the app today, look forward to getting out and using it at cemetaries i have already been to and new ones i find, already submitted one that wasnt in the database.  Thanks
answered by KMeasimer BG Beginner (180 points)
Thanks for your feedback, the next version of the Android app will have a load more option at the bottom of the nearby cemeteries list.  This should allow you to find as many cemeteries as you would like.
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I was recently in a rural area of Canada where there was no cell coverage.  The app did not allow me to take photos and store them to transmit later.  I would like the ability to take photos despite no cell phone coverage (and therefore no GPS identification, I realize that) in rural areas such as this.  Otherwise these rural cemeteries are not going to be able to be documented at all.  Also, is there any way to ID their GPS later??  Thank you.
answered by Trishymouse BG Beginner (260 points)
Totally this. Having a offline version would help a lot. Some areas are too remote for cellphone / gps coverage.
GPS is independent of cell coverage, it works almost anywhere in the world!
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I want to have the graveyard locations work with google maps, so we can better gps and find new graveyards.

I use Billiongraves to find nearby graveyards to document, and having the app better work with apps like Google Maps and GPS navigation would be a MAJOR help!

answered by Graveyard Crawler BG Beginner (400 points)
Thanks for your feedback, I have added the cemetery address to the cemetery page in the app.  If you click on the address, it will open the Google Maps app (or any other GPS navigation app) with the location of the cemetery as your destination.
Getting the cemetery's address isn't the hard part.  It's finding the gravestone after that.

What would be great is if we could click on the icon of the grave stone on the map and either have it open in the google maps app and/or allow us to cut and paste the GPS coordinates so we can copy it into our favorite map or Geo Caching app.
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You should add to Android version the following property thet IOS version already has: When you take a picture the picture is also added to the camera roll. That way you dont have to take a separate image with camera

answered by Pekka Rajala BG Beginner (300 points)
I agree. I want to be able to keep the originals of the photos I take, preferably in native quality with the geotag and other EXIF data intact.
Note that the photos saved by the app are hidden away in the Android data directory. They are accessible with a file explorer or by connecting to a computer, but the images are reduced in size and all the EXIF data are removed.

The app should save original images in the camera roll (gallery) so the user can easily find them and should be at full size with EXIF data intact (especially time taken and geotag).
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Yes I cannot take any pictures I get the camera fail error message.

I have a Samsung Tab 2, Lenovo A 5500-F and a Hewett Packard 8 G2

None of these tablets work with the app.

I have reported this many times.  Please fix this first.
answered by BeNotForgotten BG Veteran (14.5k points)
I'm sorry that your devices have had a hard time working with the app.  I hope that the next version will work for you.  Because we don't have these devices, I have added an experimental widget to the app.  The widget will allow you to use your phone's native camera app, while the BG app tracks your GPS location.  While the widget is turned on, the BG app will capture all images that you take with your native camera app, tack the GPS location onto that photo, and add it to the BillionGraves app photos section.  Hopefully this will be a good enough work around that anyone, like yourself, who has phones that won't work with our camera can still contribute photos.
When will the next version be available.  It's Spring now and I really would like to get back to taking pictures.

Please -- otherwise I give up.
This should be the default. I want to keep the originals of the photos I take, as well as have better control of the shot that the native camera gives.
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I would like to have more control of BG camera app:

1) To see exposure time (to know if the shot will be blurry)

2) To be able to change exposure (shorten it), ISO

3) To have control over autofocus (I don't understand if/how it works in BG app)

4) To see the picture immediately after it has been taken!!! (now I only see that some of my pictures are blurry when I check them after upload - simply showing the taken picture on phone screen for 1-3 seconds would be sufficient for me to make the decision if I need to repeat

5) Flash control (now it fires whenever the app decides - sometimes I would need to enable or disable it)


There are other needs, e.g. ability to zoom more on map, but let's start with camera part.

Thank you!
answered by vaidisok BG Beginner (170 points)
Cool points, but thats all very advanced and I think would mess most people up who are beginners.
I've just started using the Windows phone app and agree that there should be an option to use the native camera controls for more advanced users. Beginners could stick with the BillionGraves camera app. After all, we only want to provide good photographs that everyone can read and the app should make this possible...

In answer to number 4 I think this is already available in setting. Go to Dashboard and click the gog in the corner for settings. Turn preview after capture on/off. Hope this helps.

Thanks for your feedback, forgive me for copy pasting a little of my response to another comment, but it applies here too

I can understand why sometime you would need to have more camera features than we have developed in the BillionGraves camera.  For this and other reasons, I have added an experimental widget to the app.  The widget will allow you to use your phone's native camera app, while the BG app tracks your GPS location.  While the widget is turned on, the BG app will capture all images that you take with your native camera app, tack the GPS location onto that photo, and add it to the BillionGraves app photos section.  Hopefully this will help users to be able to take advantage of the other camera apps that have more features than we have time to develop.

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I have downloaded and installed the Beta version. Unfortunately I don't see any progress concerning the quality of the taken pictures. It is still bad although the direct use of my smartphones camera results in high quality pictures. What is the problem with this new app?

Detlef Pannhorst
answered by Detlef Pannhorst BG Beginner (370 points)
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I don' t have an android but would you know how I could get some answers regarding Windows phones?  I've contacted support several times over the span of about three months and nobody answers.  Is there someone working on the Windows app?  Thanks!
answered by partsgal BG Explorer (2k points)