Saturday, March 19, 2011

Harry's Sailor

Application: iTouch, iPad, iPod Touch
Function: GPS Navigation/ Sailing Companion
Cost: $2.99
Rating:***

Harry's Sailor is just one of developer's Harry Shlangmann apps.  This one is based on an advanced GPS engine developed specifically for sailors aboard boat.  This is a slick looking app that displays all your GPS data, magnetic compass, customizable skins, allows navigation to a waypoint and integrated Google Maps for following your position in real time. It has some unique features not seen in your average GPS app.

After the initial splash screen the main navigation screen appears with five soft keys across the bottom. These are used to bring up the five main screens of the app.
Navigation:

Selecting the navigation soft key displays a large compass.  GPS strength indication is displayed across the top of the screen. Bearing, heading, deviation and distance reading are displayed across the bottom of the screen. 

The navigation feature allows you to navigate to a waypoint or a polar coordinate.  It also give you the option to set a course.  To set up navigation tap on the wrench icon in the upper left hand corner of the navigation display.

The compass display is interactive and shows you the difference between heading and bearing with an arc at the top of the compass. If a green arc appears it shows you how many degrees you must correct to get back on course.

A handy man overboard button makes it easy to create a waypoint for ease of navigating back to pickup your lost sailor.

Dynamics:

This display incorporates all your needed GPS data including Heading, Bearing, Speed Over Ground, Velocity Made Good, Deviation, Nav Status, Distance, Course.  One unique item that I have not seen in any other navigating software is a built in Healing Gauge.  It displays the heal of the boat in degrees and graphically shows your yacht healing also. 

Another feature that might be usable to novice sailors is a right of way indicator.  A right of way tack indication shows green if you have the right of way on a starboard tack and red of you are on a port tack and have to yield to others boats with the right of way.



GPS:
The GPS displays is a little busy but it gives you all the info you will want. A nice signal meter shows the strength of your GPS signal.  Date a time are shown below the signal meter.  Speed, heading, altitude, slope, accuracy, GPS rate, latitude, longitude and lateral and lineal force measured by the accelerometer.

A graphical display showing the history of most values can also be displayed by tapping on the display. 



Map:

The Map feature needs alot of work. It shows the basic Google maps in standard and hybrid formats.  The biggest problem is that it does not work off line so it is pretty much useless unless your in cell range all the time.  There are many times while boating that I am not in cell range, off line maps would be more useful.

More:
The More soft key displays Waypoints, Add Ons, Reference displays for flags, lights, markers and the Beaufort wind scale.

There is an extensive Settings page to set speed values, skins, units, power saving and GPS data.

The help function give you a quick reference for the app. The only problem with that is that you have to be connected to the Internet to get the help feature.  This should be a function that could be use off line.


 I found the app easy to use and amusing.  It has many features your standard GPS does not have.  The author put some real thought into the development of the app.  The navigation features are a little clumbsy and take some getting use to .  For $3.00 it is worth buying. Have fun!

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