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iPushto: developing a push to app.

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#1 Nop

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 09:54 AM

At this moment, i'm developing a simple push-to app for iPhone and iPad. It's still in beta.
The alt/az is taken from the built in accellerometer and compass. It converts RA/DEC to ALT-AZ in realtime using GPS data and clock.
The idea is simple: a push to app without wistles and bells, to mount horizontally on your scope. Select an object (for example M1) and the app shows you where to point your telescope via visual and/or audible signals.


Would you be interested? I'll release this version free of charge.

Here's a simple diy example.
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=8rvdRRebjz4


Regards
Norbert

#2 psonice

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 11:19 AM

Yeah, I'd be interested - mainly to see how accurate it can get. I've been thinking this is a good idea myself for quite a while, but I've come to the conclusion that it won't be very accurate at all. Do you think you can get it close enough to be useful?

#3 Nop

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 11:59 AM

It is fairly accurate in DEC. The built in compass is not accurate at all. The accuracy is >7 degrees. It seems to be a hardware issue with 3GS and iPhone. The iPhone 4 could be more accurate because it has a reliable gyroscope. So i'm thinking about an alignment procedure comparable with most goto-systems. 3 star alignment for example.

#4 btschumy

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 12:18 PM

In my opinion, using the compass alone is doomed from the start. As you surmised, the accuracy is not there.

The Gyro has more potential. However, there is significant drift in the gyroscope. Some people are reporting around 1/2 degree per second. You will need a calibration phase to correct for drift. Even that may not work because the drift itself may not be stable.

#5 Nop

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 07:18 AM

Thanks for the input! I'll not use the compass anymore and start looking for an accelerometer/gyro calibration routine.

#6 psonice

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 07:27 AM

I'd say investigate the accuracy issues first. If the gyro drift can be compensated well it could work nicely, if not how much use will it be?

#7 JKoelman

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 06:36 PM

Norbert -- It would be really nice if you could get this to work. With my telescope and the current version of iPushTo installed on my iPad, I can't get the accuracy I need. Might be related to the fact that my scope has a steel optical tube.

I could envision iPushTo to work as a star hop aid: let's say the user can identify only the few brightest stars, and wants to see M45. He/she enters M45 in the app, and the app tells him/her to aim the scope at Aldebaran. When Aldebaran is in the centre of the FOV, the user taps a button on the screen. From that moment on the application indicates the step in alt and azi required to reach M45. As the app always starts from a calibrated position near the object of interest, the accuracy could be increased I'd assume.

#8 Nop

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 03:48 PM

A new, more reliable version is just released. So please update the app.
@JKoelman the star hop aid is a great idea. I'll incorporate it in a new version, together with a larger object database. Thanks for your feedback!

#9 JKoelman

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 03:55 PM

Sounds great, Norbert.

At the moment I'm traveling. Will try the new version as soon as I return home.

One more idea: when using iPushTo in 'starhop mode', it should be possible to have the iPhone/iPad mounted on the scope in arbitrary orientation, right? It would make the use much more comfortable if the iPhone/iPad can be placed at any convenient posistion (e.g. close to the eyepiece).

Cheers,
Johannes

#10 helpwanted

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 10:20 PM

make something that plugs into the Orion Intelliscope, and gives a larger readout on the iPad screen, as well as a star chart, and a place to type notes in... i'll buy one!!

#11 dflachbart

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 09:09 AM

make something that plugs into the Orion Intelliscope, and gives a larger readout on the iPad screen, as well as a star chart, and a place to type notes in... i'll buy one!!


That already exists... :)
SkySafari 3 + SkyWire / SkyFi


Greetings,
Dirk

#12 helpwanted

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 07:08 AM

SkySafari looks like a beginners star chart, very cartoon looking.
i am thinking it should look like Pocket sky Atlas, black and white, and follow the location of where the Intelliscope is pointing.

#13 jwaldo

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 01:21 AM

SkySafari looks like a beginners star chart, very cartoon looking.
i am thinking it should look like Pocket sky Atlas, black and white, and follow the location of where the Intelliscope is pointing.


I'm not a huge fan of the default SkySafari appearance myself, but it can be pretty extensively changed in the settings. It can definitely be set to be more paper chart-like.

#14 allardster

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 06:03 PM

Hi Norbert, hope you are still working on the app. I had some fun with it earlier this year. It would be great if the app can be calibrated with 2 stars so it's not dependent on the compass. Is the app still in active development? I am happy to help out with testing.

As for creating a fancy interface for the app: is it possible to create a local (tcp/ip) server on the phone that interfaces with the telescope control functions in Starmap Pro for example?

#15 Nop

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 07:08 AM

Hi allardster
To be honest: i'm not working on this app because my software development company is consuming a lot of time (which is nice of course).
But i have some little improvements for this app in mind.
Star alignment is one of them. And the possibility to manually enter coordinates. TCP/IP networking or remote control is not on my list (since i do not own a motorized EQ mount at all )
But it takes a lot of spare/free time to make as this is not a commercial app. Anyway: thanks for posting and i'll try to resume my work on this app! Sharing thoughts and improvements is always welcome.

#16 skysurfer

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 12:59 PM

The problem of such apps is that the Gyroscope and compass are too inaccurate.

I tested SkySafari, iPushto and Skeye, the first 2 on an iPad 2 and the latter on a Samsung Galaxy s2.

All three apps (and both devices) have an issue that moving from the initial object to another object and then moving back to the first one, the first object is a few degrees displaced. So useless for Pushto.

Just hoping for more accurate hardware before it can be used as a real Pushto.

#17 allardster

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 05:39 PM

I was wondering if the drift in the gyros would get too much in the way. They seem to for sky surfer... Norbert, do you have the same experience with iPushTo?

Thanks Norbert for continuing to work on the app!

#18 Nop

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 05:03 AM

I just released version 2.0 There was a flaw in the Altitude. That is now fixed. The app was tested last week at the university test lab and the altitude is very accurate now! The accuracy is <1 degree which is good for an app without encoders.
You can download it here:
https://itunes.apple...d418328464?mt=8

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#19 Nop

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 01:37 AM

The app is free until April 6! So get your copy now.
We've also create a nice support and informational site: http://ipushto.ddq.nl

#20 Roger Corbett

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 05:46 AM

SkySafari looks like a beginners star chart, very cartoon looking.
i am thinking it should look like Pocket sky Atlas, black and white, and follow the location of where the Intelliscope is pointing.


"Cartoon-looking" certainly isn't how I'd describe it! :) I'd reserve that for Stellarium and Astromist! :) Sky Safari looks quite elegant, with well-chosen, subdued coloring. And, as you know, it's hardly a beginner's star chart, although it can be used simply, too.

Plus, if you want to change how it looks, just go to Settings, Appearance, and select "Monochrome Chart"! You'll get your preferred black-white look. You can even select "Inverse Monochrome."

In almost all cases, the SS designers have anticipated user desires--or provided options to change things. Their design & interface sensibilities are impressive, with things working as you'd expect--or with touches that are unanticipated, but brilliantly done (e.g., tapping upper left or right for mag and fov options.)

Pocket Sky Atlas, Though, is Not Black-and-White, Is It?!

Back to the star chart look, though. Black-and-white is NOT what the Pocket Sky Atlas looks like! (You must be thinking of some other star chart--or have they put out a purely black and white version?)

Take a look here: Pocket Sky Atlas sample

Of course, it would be nice to change colors to suit one's wishes in Sky Safari. I'd like to set different colors for different types of DSOs, for example. With user-settable color palettes for all sorts of things, we actually might be able to make it look like the colorful, "cartoonish" :) Pocket Star Atlas!

#21 orlyandico

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 01:33 PM

Sky Safari is great. The fact it can drive most any mount out there even better.






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