T-Line Tools on Mobile

NOTES4PHOTO - User's Guide

Link to App Store (Notes4Photo)

I. Brief Description

Now you have a wonderful Apple device and decide to use it to record what you see (photos) and what you want to remember (notes) during a field reconnaissance. Notes4Photo is designed to meet this need by providing ease of notes taking with geo reference. Can Notes4Photo be used for vacation? Yes absolutely. It does not matter if you use it for field reconnaissance or vacation,  here are some highlights that Notes4Photo can do for you:

  1. Access your camera, take photos, and save photos in a unique project folder (not in Camera Roll) which you can move to your computer through File Sharing on iTunes, easily. You can also save a photo that is being displayed to Camera Roll.

  2. Take notes right on the site, corresponding to any photos taken by NOTES4PHOTO.

  3. By default, Notes4Photo names a photo in the format of "NFPyyyymmdd_hhmmss.jpg", but it is up to your discretion in naming photos with customized prefix and series number range.

  4. By default, the note will include the time and camera moving speed in mph when photo was taken, as well as address where photo was taken. You can enter more notes by typing or talking to your phone.

  5. Notes4Photo can display a pin for each photo on an interactive map. One glance will let you know where and when photos were taken.

  6. Notes4Photo can create a KML file to be used with Google Earth (third party free software). You can view the photos at the actual camera locations from a computer instead of on your phone.

  7. Notes4Photo can clear the project folder to free up storage space. Through iTunes, the project files can be transferred to your computer, be deleted from your phone, and be loaded back to your phone.

II. Obtain Permissions

NOTES4PHOTO does not collect any information from users; however, it needs a few access permissions to your device to achieve the goals as follows:

  • Permission to access your camera to shoot a photo.

  • Permission to the system mic to translate your speech to note if you want to use this feature

  • In order to record the location of the camera, the Location Service needs to be enabled, and access to Location Service needs to be granted to NOTES4PHOTO.

  • In order to translate the location coordinates to physical address, the device needs to have service signal. If service signal is unavailable when shooting a photo, the coordinates will be recorded instead with permission of access to Location Service.

III. Home Page View

Upon launching NOTES4PHOTO, the last viewed photo will be displayed, or a default photo will be displayed if no photo has been taken by the APP yet. There are four button icons located at page bottom, they are as follows in order from left to right:

  1. Photo Organizer: Clicking this icon will lead to a photo gallery page that shows photo icons in the first column and notes associated with each photo in the second column. A photo can be deleted by sliding left. Tapping a photo will lead to a view page that shows selected (tapped) photo.

  2. More… This button will lead to a page that gives you quite a few options to manipulate the photos. See Section "V Manipulate the App" for details.

  3. Notes: Initiate a page with an icon showing selected photo and a Note (text) area for you to add text associated with the selected photo. Clicking the Note area will activate a keyboard, which includes a mic icon beside the space bar if voice Recognition is turned on. Once completing notes typing/speaking, tap anywhere outside the Note area to disable the keyboard, or click "Back" on navigation bar to get back to the selected photo view.

  4. Camera: Access camera of the device. If you choose to use the photo after taking it, this main page view will be resumed by showing the recently chosen photo.

  5. Fifth BUTTON? No, just wanted to give you a chance to laugh at me. I forgot how to count at this moment, but I do remember there are something more you can do without a button. Take a few photos and help me to try this on the photo that you took: swiping on it toward right / left or up, and tapping on it. Pinch it and see if it zooms in and out? You can also try a long press if you want to save a perfect photo to your camera roll (all photos have been saved in a unique project folder and await being loaded to your computer. See section "IV. Transfer Between APP and Computer") for details.

IV. Transfer Between APP and Computer

Where is the project saved on your Apple Device? How can I share the project with somebody else?


It is true that you can save a selected photo to your Camera Roll (Photo Library); however, all photos and notes are automatically saved in a unique project folder designated to NOTES4PHOTO application. You can view the photos and notes (you can edit the notes as well) through NOTES4PHOTO, in addition, you can transfer the entire project to a computer, desktop or laptop, through iTunes. A brief description of steps for transferring is as follows:


V. Available Options

Clicking the "More" button (three dots) will lead to this page. Here you get the chance to manipulate the APP.

  • Photo File Name Prefix. By default, the prefix will be "NFP".
  • Photo File Name Suffix. By default, the name suffix is set to "yyyymmdd_hhmmss". You can define your own suffix number range with a starting number. Customized suffix is always a number. Remember to turn off the "Default" suffix switch so that the customized suffix will be utilized. When this switch is turned on, the suffix series number you entered will be ignored.
  • Switch Button to turn on and off the option of including a Date-Time stamp on photo.
  • Switch Button to turn on and off the option of including the Apps name watermark on photo.
  • Button to create the Google Earth KML file.
  • Button to lead to a map view which will show where and when the photos are taken.
  • "Instructions" Button will lead to this view for instructions.


Note: NOTES4PHOTO is released as a full version APP with all functionalities enabled; however, two switches will only use the default status unless a one-time in-app-purchase is made:

  • "Date on Photo": This switch is off by default. Once it is turned on, a date and time stamp will be added to the lower right corner. The switch status affects only the photos that are taken after the status changes, i.e. it does not add or remove the date and time stamp on photos saved before.
  • "Watermark On". This switch is on by default. It adds a small label with light gray color to the lower left corner to show this App's name. Once it is turned off, no watermark will be shown on photo. The switch status affects only the photos that are taken after the status changes, i.e. it does not add or remove watermark on photos saved before.
  • The logo shown on top of the Home Page View will NOT be included in the photos you taken.
  • When opening the KML file by using Google Earth (this can be done by dragging and dropping the KML file to the GE window, or going through File -> Open), the folder name will be displayed in the "Temporary Places" folder of the Navigation pane. This folder will be discarded when quitting GE, unless it is moved to a subfolder of "My Places" and is saved. However, the link to the photos will be lost when GE is opened next time because GE saves this KML at a unique location designated by GE and links to local files will stop working.


VII. Show on Map

After the map is loaded, it will be centered at the location where the last photo was taken. If there is no photo saved for the project yet, the map will be centered at the current location. Sometimes there are photos saved for the project but the map is still centered at the current location. This will happen if no photo has been saved with georeferenced information, which means the Location Service was not enabled or the Access to Location Service is granted for NOTES4PHOTO. Refer to section "INSTRUCTIONS - Obtain Permissions" for more information.


The map can be shown with three different modes: (i) Standard, (ii) Hybrid, and (iii) Satellite. Clicking the arrow button will bring the map to current location.


VI. Talk with Google Earth

NOTES4PHOTO is able to create a Google Earth file for your entire project, with keyhole markup language (KML) format. You can save it (see Section IV for instructions of transferring project from mobile device to computer), and open it on your desktop or laptop computer. Photos taken when Location Service is not enabled or Access to Location Service is not granted will not be included in the KML file. You can see the photo icons at the camera location on Google Earth.

The photos are not embedded in the KML file; therefore the file size is very small. Instead, the photos are treated as local reference that can be accessed by a link embedded in the KML file. Google Earth (aka "GE"), at least the windows version, is not very flexible when dealing with local files, therefore a few tips are provided as follows in order to avoid any  unnecessary frustration:

  • In order to avoid reloading the KML to "Temporary Places" every time, use "Add -> Network Link" to load the KML to GE instead. Select a GE folder by clicking it before adding the link, then the KML link will stay within the currently selected folder. Next time when GE opens, the link will stay and reference to photos will still be valid.
  • It is worthy of being mentioned that Google released its "new Google Earth on Chrome" in 2017. As this NOTES4PHOTO is released, the new version of Google Earth has not replicated all functionalities of the desktop version yet; therefore, NOTES4PHOTO is not made to conform to the new Google Earth version. 
  1. No sync between your mobile device and computer is needed, but it needs to be connected to computer.

  2. Launch iTunes, and click the icon (top left corner below the tool bar) to establish the connection.

  3. Click Apps, then scroll down to Apps section below "File Sharing". You will see \"Notes4PhotoOpt" in the list of Apps installed on your mobile device. Click to select "Notes4PhotoOpt".

  4. In the \"Notes4PhotoOpt Documents\" pane, there will be a \"notes4Photo\" folder, and a \"notes4Photo.kml\" file if it is created before connecting your mobile device to computer.

  5. Click to select them, and then click "Save To". Choose a folder to save your project. The KML file has to be saved parallel to the \"notes4Photo\" folder as the way they reside in the mobile apps folder.

  6. The project folder and KML file can then be deleted from your mobile device to free up some space. There is no Delete button to do this; simply hit \"Delete\" key from keyboard when the documents are selected.

  7. A project can be brought back from computer to mobile device as well. Go through steps (1) through (4) to locate the Apps folder. Drag the \"notes4Photo\" folder from your computer and drop it to the "Notes4PhotoOpt Documents" pane. CAUTIONS: (i) Folder name has to be \"notes4Photo\"; (ii) Do not edit the \".nfp\" file; (iii) If you want to remove a photo from the project, remove all three files (.jpg, .nfp, .txt) as a whole file unit.


Detailed instruction for transferring files between mobile apps and computer is available HERE in case you need more information.

These two switches will have no impact on how the App works for notes taking and project sharing/viewing, but your generosity toward to, and your support of, the development of NOTES4PHOTO by making a one-time in-app-purchase is greatly appreciated.

Need anything more? Please use the "Contact" page to contact the TLTM Team with comments or if you need more help or clarifications. Thanks.