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What would you like to have fixed/updated in the Android app? (NEW UPDATE AVAILABLE HERE 4/18/17)

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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 Oct 22, 2015 in Using the Android Application by GraveTrain BG Master (100,540 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.

21 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 Apr 25, 2016 by BillionGraves Admin BG Master (156,480 points)
edited Apr 18 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 Oct 23, 2015 by Grave_Digger BG Master (91,240 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 Oct 23, 2015 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 Oct 29, 2015 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 Nov 2, 2015 by Graveyard Crawler BG Beginner (390 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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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 Oct 25, 2015 by BeNotForgotten BG Veteran (13,330 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.
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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 Nov 2, 2015 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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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 Mar 25 by Pekka BG Beginner (280 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 Oct 27, 2015 by partsgal BG Explorer (2,010 points)
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1. If I try to view a memorial record on my Android device (LG G2, Android 4.4.2) the left hand third or so of the record is cut off, and the window cannot be adjusted so it centres on the screen. This happens in both portrait and landscape views. I also have the same problem on my iPad (iPad Air 2, iOS 9.0.2).
2. A priority that needs to be addressed is the ability to add GPS coordinates to images where it has not been possible to obtain GPS on site, or where the coordinates which are recorded are clearly incorrect. At present the contributor is unable to correct inaccurate data before uploading and even after uploading, and as I understand it from comments by others, images which were not taken via the BG app cannot be uploaded because the GPS location cannot be manually added. This issue has been raised before in the community and it means that BG Support has to waste their valuable time fixing bad GPS locations, and a huge cohort of gravestone images already taken, but not via the BG app, are wasted.

Good luck with your Android development and thanks for the opportunity to give you feedback directly.
answered Nov 4, 2015 by collins BG Beginner (250 points)
In answer to number 1. The image should move around when you touch it with your finger and a plus/minus button will zoom in and out. Hope this helps.
Thanks for your quick response,  but I think you misunderstood what I was trying to describe.  Unfortunately this reply form won't accept images otherwise I would include a screen shot. I meant the page which is displayed after one searches for someone and requests the record for that person (containing  the names, dates, images, cemetery map, etc.). This whole page is cut off on the left hand side and one cannot drag it to the right to see it entirely (e.g. to see the full name of the person). This also happens on my iPad, and has been noted before in the community. Thanks.

Ok I guess I miss-understood. Just tried viewing a searched record on my Samsung Galaxy S5 and the images are visible in full. But like you say it would help if you could move them around and zoom in etc. Lets hope for that update. smiley

as I understand it from comments by others, images which were not taken via the BG app cannot be uploaded because the GPS location cannot be manually added

Just to clarify, especially for other people reading this who may not have seen those other comments: they CAN be uploaded, but only as Supporting Records (SRs), not primary records. The SR part of BG is currently greatly inferior to that of primary records. You can only transcribe one person per photo, you can't link them up to the graves of other relatives, you can't merge them with primary records, and they have no GPS coordinates so you don't know the precise grave location. You just have to take the photographer's word for it that the photo was taken in this cemetery at all.

I see no technical reason why any of this must be so, but the sad reality is that it is, and I don't see it changing any time in the foreseeable future. BG never say what they are currently working on, but I'll be surprised if overcoming these limitations of SRs is a priority of theirs. Therefore, as things stand, SR headstone photos are an inferior option, and I and other family historians dislike them intensely.

They can be used as a last resort - for instance, when the headstone no longer exists, and all you have is a photo you took ten years ago - but until BG improves the functionality of SRs, I will continue to discourage people from uploading them in their hundreds just because they happen to have a collection of them stored on their computer.

I am sympathetic to people who are having difficulty getting GPS coordinates in remote locations, but unless NO ONE can get a signal there, I don't think "my phone can't get a signal", or even "I don't have a smartphone", are good enough reasons to upload hundreds of SRs. Similarly, I don't think "I already did the work of photographing this cemetery two years ago and I have no intention of doing it again" is a good enough reason either, because someone else might be willing to do it.

I think people sometimes forget that the purpose of BG isn't to give the individual photographer or transcriber a nice warm inner glow. It's to produce the best, most useful collection of headstone data. And with BG as it currently stands, the way to do that is via the app. It isn't via SRs. I wish it were otherwise, but it isn't.

Supporting Records are very important to us and some major changes are coming to make this process more efficient, simpler, and practical. At this time we are encouraging suggestions to be offered on supporting records as well.

BG Support
What changes, BG? Will the changes include the ability to:

* transcribe more than one name per Supporting Record headstone photo, same as you can with primary headstone photos taken via the app?

* link Supporting Records to the graves of their relatives?

* merge Supporting Records with each other and with primary headstone photos?

* attach GPS coordinates to Supporting Record headstone photos so that they can be pinned to a specific location in the cemetery?