Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Technology Tuesday - Billion Graves Mobile App

BillionGraves has a mobile app that can be used to find cemetery locations, take photographs of gravestones and upload the photos to the website, and find records of gravestones that have already been uploaded.  

The mobile app is FREE from the App Store for iOS products, and from Google Play for Android products.  A user must have a FREE BillionGraves account in order to use the mobile app to its fullest potential.  

1)  The opening screen of the BillionGraves mobile app  on my iPhone looks like this:

There are five buttons on the opening screen - for "Take Pictures," "Records," "Cemeteries," "Dashboard" and "Photos."

2)  I haven't taken any pictures yet, so I won't go into the "Take Pictures" and "Photos" sections.  Here is the "Dashboard" screen: 

That reflects my pitiful BillionGraves status as of this morning.

3)  I tapped on the "Cemeteries" button, and saw:

Since the app knows where I am, it lists the nearest cemeteries to my present location.  

I tapped on "Glen Abbey Memorial Park" and saw the gravesites already in the BillionGraves system:

4)  I wanted to see what information was available for Leominster, Massachusetts cemeteries.  I entered "Leominster Mass" in the "Search" field on the "Cemeteries" screen:

When I tapped on "Search," it said there were no records.  So I went back and entered "Evergreen" in the "Search" field and got a long list of cemeteries named Evergreen listed by distance from my location, but it stopped before it got to Massachusetts for some reason.  

My expectation was that I could enter a location and get a list of the cemeteries in that location, with perhaps an address and a map to help me get there.  Perhaps I missed that?

5)  I also wanted to search for a person.  I chose Bogdan Kijanka, whose gravestone I transcribed yesterday.  On the "Records" screen, I entered the name in the "Search" field, tapped "Search" and saw:

I want to see the gravestone and find the gravesite on a map of the cemetery.  When I tapped on the name on the screen above, a popup asked if I wanted to "View on Map," "Add Image from camera" or "Cancel."

I chose "View on Map" and saw the stickpin for the gravesite in the cemetery.  I tapped on the stickpin and it told me who the person on the gravestone:

I wanted to see the gravestone, so I tapped on the thumbnail image above (I could have tapped on the icon in the upper right-hand corner also), and the screen went dark and said "Done."  Hmmm, I never could see the gravestone image, after trying several times.  I tried it from the image on the "Records" Search screen and could not see the gravestone image.  I tried this for several persons.  Unfortunately, my expectations were not met.  

6)  The BillionGraves mobile app finds records already photographed and transcribed, and can find most cemeteries, but there doesn't appear to be a way to see the gravestone, at least on the persons I tried (I did try several persons).  

The real use of this mobile app is to take photographs of gravestones with a smartphone, which also records the GPS coordinates of the stone, and uploads the photograph and GPS information to the BillionGraves website for transcription.  I will explore that process in a later post after I take some gravestone pictures.

The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2014/10/technology-tuesday-billion-graves.html

copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Lianne said...

The one time I was able to get the BillionGraves app to work on my phone, I really liked it. Unfortunately, every other time I've tried to use it, it can't get a good GPS lock, and therefore won't let me take any pictures. :(

But then I learned that BillionGraves (like Find a Grave) takes ownership of all images, meaning even the photographer can't use them freely; I prefer to keep my tombstone photos under a Creative Commons license.