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Review Travel diary apps

Discussion in 'Passport' started by Ian D, Jan 16, 2019.

  1. Ian D

    Ian D Pool Room Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    Just wondering if any of you use any type of travel diary type app while you are travelling?
    Currently in Italy and I knew that when I returned I would forget exactly the order of things etc and I know I could use google images to track dates of photos etc but that just seemed a pain. So I looked for some type of simple diary app but it had to be effortless or I knew I would give up on it after a week. I should have asked the brains trust here but found one that seemed to fit the bill so just went with it - and I am happy with the results that I will detail below - but it did lead me to wonder what else others use?

    I have used Traverous which runs in background and does a GPS track of your movements for the day, you can attach photos or short vids at various points and so when at a location I just took photos through that - it just uses the camera app. End of the day it produces a 3D rendered map of the day, takes several hours to produce but it does it on their server and just lets me know when it is ready.
    Overall I have been super happy with it but there are some limitations to it as well.

    Benefits:
    - Ease of use, set and forget at the beginning of the day (there is a bit of an issue with that that I will cover later)
    - Integration of photos easily to give you a real picture of the day.
    - Doesn't need data on to run (but wont use downloaded maps so if you want to use it as a navigation aid then you do need data, that said in 3 weeks I have used well less than 1Gb of data with it using it every day).
    - When I drove to a small walled city in Italy and parked the car I just took a photo from the car of something and had a reference point to ensure I could find the car easily! Some of the old Italian cities every street looks the same!
    - Navigation wise if you use data and get the map updating it makes navigating a breeze when walking streets as you get a trace of your movement in near real time so you can easily see if you are navigating in the right direction (again in some of these towns it is very easy to get turned around and go off in the wrong direction)
    - You can download the completed 3D render as an mp4 so can edit it yourself later and splice it and add in other stuff as you see fit.
    - Owner is quite responsive and friendly and will get back to you same day usually if you have a question.

    Limitations:
    - This is just a reality, when it loses gps lock it straight lines when it regains it. So for example in the day 14 video below which was a train trip to Venice from Verona on the way there I was sitting aisle side and clearly lost GPS so when I got out of the train it straight lined my journey. On the way back I sat the phone on the ledge near the window and it stayed in lock the whole way.
    - The above can be an issue if you stop for lunch inside and loose lock. It sometimes just gives up and when you go back outside doesn't restart tracking you. A pause and restart will usually fix that but a better idea is to pause when you go in for lunch and restart when you come back out otherwise you can loose the entire afternoons track.
    - If you cross paths (especially common when skiing) and take photos at a similar location hours apart it will just lump them all together at the time of the first one. This can be seen in the day 14 one below when we arrive in Venice and there are photos from arrival and also departure several hours apart. Some of these were separated either side of the grand canal so I was surprised they grouped but they did. There was also one taken ON the Realto bridge spliced into my journed on the ferry. I walked over it about 5 hours later! So if crossing paths be aware and try not to take photos from similar locations (eg from a chair and from the run).
    - No option for winter or summer google render which is a shame so ski days are rendered in summer mode (see day 16 below which also has issue with the crossed paths problem)
    - No option to edit at the end. You can review all the check points and even delete one but you can't say remove one image if you decide you don't want it. Free version has a limit of 3 images/videos at one location but this seems to be over ridden if you cross paths, but then they are out of order.
    - No option to delete a trip. So if you do some test ones you can't then just delete them, although the owner seems very friendly and happy to delete individual trips on your request but if they get busy that is impractical.

    Overall I am really happy with the app and it has met my purposes even though I have stuffed up a few things as indicated above it has done what I wanted. With the downloaded video I can edit out some of the errors anyway.

    Below are some samples that it has produced from this trip to date showing what I have talked about above. Oh the sound is limited to about a dozen options but if you go premium you can upload your own but not sure how copyright would work there if you uploaded a commercial song.

    Day 14


    Day 16


    If you are interested just search them in the app store - webpage can be found here: Traverous

    My evolving travel log from Italy can be found here (still a work in progress). Overall I am very happy with it but would have done a few things a bit differently if I had known of some of these limitations before leaving as opposed to discovering them via trial and error.

    Alternatively what app have you used? What were the benefits / limitations of the app etc, would probably form a good resource for other travelers from these forums looking to document a trip!
     
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  2. Ian D

    Ian D Pool Room Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    Oh you can set a trip to private so it wont appear on their feed, that is a nice feature.

    Also a negative, I can't find a way to set the photos taken via this app to save to your SD card which is a pain. I may be blind there however.
     
  3. Qandeel Abbassi

    Qandeel Abbassi First Runs

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    Hello everyone,
    Qandeel here. I am one of the co-founders of Traverous. Ian, thanks for such an elaborate and honest review. I will try to provide answers to some of the limitation you mentioned.

    Lumping of images at crossings:
    We have fixed the lumping issue of images at crossings.
    Editing journey at the end:
    When you stop recording you are taken to review screen where you can edit title, description, background music, privacy, media etc. To delete single image you need to delete whole pin and add the required images again using the button at top right corner. Hectic but does the job, we definitely need to make it easier. If you delete check-ins or videos then there is currently no option to add them again. We are currently improving this whole process of editing media.
    Automatic GPS restart issue:
    Mostly GPS doesn't work indoor. Normally, if the app loses GPS, it should re-acquire it automatically when GPS is available again. Thanks for pointing out this issue, we will look into it. For now I would suggest to make sure that your phone doesn't have some kind of background restriction for apps. If it has, then it might be the culprit and you can find out how to disable it here.

    We don't have any solution for the remaining limitations that you have mentioned. We will definitely work on them. Thanks again for this awesome review.

     
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  4. Qandeel Abbassi

    Qandeel Abbassi First Runs

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    All the photos/videos that you capture through Traverous app are saved inside a folder named "Traverous" inside your gallery. You can copy/move them from there and store where ever you want. If this doesn't solve the problem then let me know.
    Note:
    Don't delete/move any image/video of a journey that is still uploading or not yet uploaded.

     
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  5. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Great review, thanks. For bushwalking and snow riding I've started using the Relive app. Very similar features to the above.
    https://www.relive.cc/
     
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  6. Ian D

    Ian D Pool Room Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    Thanks for that Qandeel, nice to know I can move them to the SD card after uploading. I will do that.

    I hadn't noticed that option in the edit screen, only the delete a pin. I will look at that with the next trip.

    Disclaimer:
    I contacted Traverous when I decided to write this review and seek permission to upload videos to youtube so that I could embed them here. I did not ask for, nor have I received, anything from Traverous for writing this review. I wrote it solely as an information for members posting what I saw as the strengths and the weaknesses of the app and then out of courtesy let Traverous know that I had posted the review.

    I would be interested in what others use as well and think this thread could be a useful resource for our members.

    Qandeel has offered to re-encode my days that have the crossed journeys with the issues I raised and it appears that they have already fixed that issue, which to me is a great reaction to user feedback. Apparently they are exploring ways to include a winter map as a result of my feedback which would be nice but also has other technical issues so is not trivial.
     
  7. Red_switch

    Red_switch Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: 30 Day

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    Definitely a cool looking app, will take a look next time I'm on a big trip :)

    The winter map is a tricky one, I'm sure they aren't super keen to develop and serve their own bespoke basemaps. There is slowly growing demand for this, and increasing support for the temporal dimension within geospatial frameworks that are used to deliver this kinda stuff, so, y'know, watch that space.

    It shouldn't really be that long until we have the option for more-or-less (maybe with a latency of a couple of weeks, mostly just a product of cloud cover) real time satellite imagery basemaps being served into web mapping services (it could happen now, but the spatial resolution would make it pretty uninteresting. Planet are the people to keep an eye on in that space).
     
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  8. Ian D

    Ian D Pool Room Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    OK update here, I can confirm they have resolved the crossing paths issue so that is a big help when skiing and crossing over similar areas either on skis or in a chair/gondola or even just different times of day.

    Can also confirm downloading the files as mp4 is trivial and then import into any vid editing software to do with what you wish.

    I did notice that the gps lock for some reason is a little weaker than google maps. No idea why. When in a train from Milano to Zurich I noticed that traverous could not get a lock but google maps had no issue. Seems a bit weird but there you go.
     
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  9. JoeKing

    JoeKing Old n' Thrusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Navigation software like google maps and tom toms guess the trajectory without the gps signal. It's so you can drive through a tunnel. I believe google maps uses the phones telemetry devices to keep you on track so to speak.
     
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  10. Red_switch

    Red_switch Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: 30 Day

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    They just figure you are on the train line and estimate your trajectory along the way, cell tower pings can provide a sanity check.
     
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  11. Qandeel Abbassi

    Qandeel Abbassi First Runs

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    It is right that google maps uses alot of estimation techniques but also they use multiple sources for getting location (GPS, WiFi, cell towers whichever works best) whereas, we only use GPS. This might be the reason that in some situations traverous doesn't work but google maps does.

    Using location sources other than GPS can sometimes give highly inaccurate results which can be disastrous in our case unless we have required location sanity checks in place. It would require some time and testing to avoid unwanted results but we would definitely use multiple location sources in future and if possible estimation techniques too.

    Anyways, whatever is the case with google maps let's not forget they have perfected their technology over the years and with lots of data. Just give us some time we will make it upto you :)

     
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  12. Ian D

    Ian D Pool Room Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    Makes sense, thanks for the clarification.
     
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  13. Ian D

    Ian D Pool Room Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    Latest update allows you to delete trips so you can play with it and test it and then delete which would have been nice before I left.

    Also allows captions on photos which is a nice addition.
     
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  14. cold wombat

    cold wombat Twitter Contributer Social Media Mod Ski Pass: Gold

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    Might give this a run on my next trip. Thanks @Ian D.
     
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