Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Compass Eye

The past several days have been in the 60s, wow! That is unheard of for March, but it is in line with the unseasonably warm winter we have had.  After last winters 80+ inches of snow I was ready for a brown Christmas.

All this warm weather it getting me itchy to get the boats out of storage.  Honestly, we have a few more weeks until that takes place. The ice is finally off of the lake but it is not unheard of to get a spring blizzard even in April. I am hoping just for some nice spring rains.

The nice thing about having four seasons is getting to enjoy them all.  We complain about Winter but it is a peaceful cleansing time to enjoy ice fishing and snowmobiling. It gets so cold around here that everything literally dies.  The Spring rains brings the hope of Summer to come and Fall starts to prepare us for Winter with cool crisp October days while we rake leaves and enjoy high school football games. As the geese fly south we enjoy some of the best hunting in the world. At last Summer, this is the time when we give her hell and pack as much fun into these few months as we can.  We wakeboard, ski, swim, float, tan, party, grill, sail, jetski and take many long booze cruises around the lake.  So raise your glass boaters and lets toast to a long hot summer!

I have had several emails from some app developers wanting me to take a look at their latest creations.  One such app is Compass Eye.

Application: iPhone, iPad
Function: Augmented Reality Compass
Rating: ***
Cost: $4.99

As with most great ideas this app was developed out of a need for an easy to use hand bearing compass.  Steve Bennettt the CEO of Electric Pocket is an avid sailor and sails in some of the most treacherous water in Europe. The iPhone 4 now boasts a great camera, a gyroscope and GPS which allow any app developer to provide the user a wealth of situational information.

This app is a compass on steroids! It is fully gimballed so it will work in any orientation on your iPhone or iPad.  You can use it on land while hiking or as a hand bearing compass on the ocean or in the air while flying. 

The iPhone and Compass Eye allow you to replace your binoculars and hand bearing compass with a compact and versatile device we are all familiar with.  The apps zooms 8 times which is similar to a pair of 7x50 binoculars.

  • Real time compass
  • Compass overlayed on live camera view
  • Zoom to 8X
  • Back, transit and collision bearing markers
  • Green and red bearing lines are movable
  • Triangulation bearing capable
  • Time, date and GPS location
  • Magnetic and true north capable
  • Live view with position and track
  • Satellite and map overalys
If you don't have all the fancy GPS and chart plotters on board this simple real time phone bearing compass will give you a way to take bearings for all your coastal cruising needs.

Open the app and hold your phone facing the direction of your heading.  You will see half a compass on the bottom of the screen.  Set a bearing by tapping the compass icon on the lower right side of the screen.  A yellow line will show your present bearing.  Add additional bearings by tapping once to set a bearing reference line that is colored red.  Tap twice and you will can create another line colored green. Both of these can be dragged by simply touching them on the screen and moving them to the desired bearing.

The top left side of the screen displays the date and time and the top right shows the latitude, longitude, speed over ground and course over ground.  You can cycle through these data items by tapping on the screen.

The image on the screen can be zoomed by using the + and - icons on the lower right side of the screen. The image can be zoomed up to 8x. This is based on the iPhone 4 camera image specifications. Field of vision is 122m at 1000m at 8x. Angle of view is 7 degrees at 8x.

While viewing your bearings you can take a picture and share it with your friends. The camera icon in the lower left side of the screen is used to capture the image.  No app would be complete without the ability to share your travels via email and Twitter. What, no Facebook integration?

Share your pictures from the settings page by tapping the italics i at the lower left side of the screen.

When the app is layed flat you have the option to display a map with options to select a satellite view or a hybrid of both.

This app is very different from all the other wizbang charting apps I normally review.  The more I use it the more I like it.  It's simplicity makes it so easy to use and functional.   I would like to see the addition of some NOAA charts viewable while the iPhone or iPad is layed flat.  This would be an easy and useful addition to the app.  I give it a big thumbs up and suggest you give it a try if your looking for a good compass app.

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