Daily Archives: August 4, 2012

BillionGraves – Great concept if it works…

For a while now I’ve had the BillionGraves app (Version 2.2.2) on my Android – which is an Acer A100 tablet running OS 4.0.3 – better known as ice cream sandwich. Yesterday I finally had the opportunity to test it out at a cemetery. At this point the results are disappointing, but I’m hopeful the problems can be fixed.

My first hint that there may be compatibility issues between my device and the app came when I tried to find and adjust the settings. From reading the BG website and the blog I knew that there were settings within the app to control such things as automatic upload  and automatic deletes. I wanted to see if I could also set where the app would store the photos since I wanted them on my external SD card instead of the internal memory. But tapping the 3 vertical dots icon (which is normally the settings button within an app) doesn’t work – nothing happens, no screen pops ups, nothing. There’s just a short buzzing noise and that’s it.

While disappointed that the settings didn’t work, I decided to plow ahead and see if the photo taking part of the app worked. Once the GPS got an “accurate” reading, I started snapping away. In a short amount of time I had about 175 gravestone photos.

I then went into the photo viewing part of the app. I tried scrolling through the photos. After a couple of swipes the app crashed. (And each and every time I have tried this since, the app has consistently crashed. Every time.) Although I was disappointed that I would not be able to quickly review the photos before uploading, I went ahead and uploaded them anyway. The bulk upload “appeared” to work. On the BG website, I went to MyPhotos and they were there – and they were linked to the correct cemetery. (See screenshot below –  not sure why some were assigned to 8/4/12 when all were taken on 8/3 – at least in my time zone.)

I then started to transcribe a few of them. I wound up adding 29 transcriptions. At this point, I decided to search for one of my newly transcribed records. (I used to be a software developer and I have this irresistible urge to test functionality as I go along.) To my dismay, my newly transcribed record was not  found. Not only that, when I went to the home page for the cemetery, BG says there are 0 tombstone photos! Weirdly, it does have my 29 transcriptions and the photo locations are plotted on the map. (See screenshot below.) I have an email into BG support, but I can only guess that the upload didn’t completely register.

Hopefully this will turn out to be a “minor” problem and will be fixed soon. I am also hoping the folks at BG (or anyone else for that matter) can tell me how to access the images directly on my Android – not via the BG app. I’ve looked in the Gallery as well as searched the file system through ES File Explorer, but can’t seem to find them. Some of the images I would like to be able to save on my computer and attach to people on my family tree. I’ll like BG a whole lot better once these issues are resolved!!

P.S. For further information on BillionGraves, check out their website [link].

UPDATE 1: It’s now been a couple of hours since I published this post and (miraculously) the cemetery photos that I uploaded yesterday are now available on BillionGraves. And as was I writing this update I got an email from BillionGraves support stating that it may take up to 24 hours for uploaded photos to become available – which in this case was spot on in that it has been almost exactly 24 hours since the upload. So I guess I just wasn’t patient enough.

UPDATE 2: Ok, I finally found the settings menu. It is not accessed by the standard three dot icon. It is accessed from a gear icon which only appears on the dashboard screen. I had to tap it repeatedly to get it to work. Sadly, there is no setting to tell the app to store the photos on the external SD card.