The Idea of the GoGrow App

Over the past few months, I've been working on a solution for managing my projects and organizing the information about them on my lot. As a homesteader, gardener, and orchard enthusiast, I found it particularly tricky to keep up on what and where all the plants, trees, and critical infrastructure around my lot were. Despite exploring quite a few different mapping, planners, and gardening apps, none seemed to tick all the boxes I needed. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and created the GoGrow app, and learned a great deal about programming apps in Python in the process.

The GoGrow app is free and open source - you can download it and view the instructions to install and use it on the GoGrow app project's github here - 

GoGrow App Screenshot1
Example Image annotation in the GoGrow app

So what is the GoGrow app?

GoGrow is a versatile image annotation app that is designed to help you manage and track any project efficiently. It allows you to upload any .jpg or .png image (with experimental support for DNG and RAW formats) and annotate them with custom SVG markers/icons or lines in any color of your choice.

Each uploaded image creates a separate folder in GoGrow, housing its own SQLite database for all your marker and line data related to that image. There's also another database dedicated to journal entries associated with these markers or line objects.

This unique system provides the flexibility to also link relevant markers and lines data to journal entries using the built-in rich-text editor journal. This feature enables easy tracking of project and homestead progress over time, and facilitates the building of knowledge bases around these projects.

Most importantly, all of this data stays within GoGrow, is never sent to any third parties, and can be exported easily — an aspect I was particularly concerned about when initially seeking apps to manage my homestead and projects.

A few key features of the GoGrow app:

  • Can be used for and in a variety of industries and niches - from homesteading, square foot gardening, geocaching, remodeling and construction, and much more! 
  • Easily annotate images with custom markers and lines using a slick user interface

  • Allows you to track progress over time by adding notes to markers and lines

  • Organizes images and data into a knowledgebase ("image folder") for your projects

  • Customize map backgrounds and themes

  • Responsive design works across devices

  • Built on open source technologies

  • Export and backup your data

  • Docker and CLI installation (the app can be made available to everyone on your network LAN, or just yourself!)

  • Rich text journal diary system tied to each image folder

  • Link journal entries to map markers and lines for easy reference

  • No ads, and your data is never sent to third parties! Own your data!
GoGrow App Screenshot2

Example Journal, with a marker's "Show on Map" button clicked 

GoGrow: Open Source, Free, and Self-Hostable

GoGrow is still in the early stages of development, but it has progressed significantly and is ready for some user feedback. The app is open source, free, and self-hostable, making it accessible for everyone. It's also fairly simple to set up either with Docker or by running it as a Python Flask app with a few command-line commands.

In the future, I might consider offering a Windows executable to make it much easier to install - if there's enough demand for it.

You can find a demo video of the GoGrow app being used in a remodeling context on Youtube below:

Join the GoGrow Community

I invite you to check out the GoGrow project on my GitHub and give it a spin. I'm eager to hear your thoughts on possible additional features, as well as any potential UI or UX improvements.

Please feel free to reach out to me on github with any feedback or suggestions. Your input will be invaluable in shaping the future development of the GoGrow app.

Hopefully it will be one more valuable tool to help us all grow together!