One of the RootsTech sessions I wish I could have attended was on genealogy apps for smartphones. unfortunately, I was an ‘at home’ attendee. Luckily, there was a very healthy twitter stream from those who were actually in attendance. One type of app that came up was scanners for the phone. I immediately went to the Android Market to see what I could find. CamScanner was the standout of the options to me. The premise is simple-take a picture, adjust image, enhance image, save as pdf. This was clearly going to be a major timesaver for any genealogy trip.
The app opens to an easy to navigate main screen where your projects are displayed. The options across the bottom include (from left to right): Scan from camera, enhance image already on phone, search, select menu (with it’s own options), and list/grid display toggle. The select menu will allow you to select multiple scans and then delete, share, upload, or tag them. The upload function will link to a Google Docs, DropBox, or Box.net account and is great for uploading multiple scans at once.
How it works
The functions I use the most are camera scanning and uploading to dropbox. I was surprised just how easy it was.
When you select the scan from camera option you get the typical camera display. The options are for turning the flash on/off and ‘scanning’. Once you’ve taken the picture you can crop the image down and adjust the orientation.
A small touch that I really like is the zoom function when you’re cropping the document by adjusting the corners. Hit the check mark to accept your changes and the app crops the image down to your parameters and then enhances the quality. Linda McCauley did a great job comparing the image quality before and after the app enhancing here. Once you’ve accepted the changes, you’ll be returned to the home screen. Here you can long press your doc to name it. A long press will also allow you to share it however you please.
The Bottom Line
I love this app and use it regularly for scanning documents I’ve already got. My next trip to the Salt Lake FHC (hopefully this summer) will definitely be more productive with this app on my phone. As for the quality….here’s a final pdf of a death certificate copy. You be the judge.