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iPad Astronomy Apps (Screenshots)

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#51 bicparker

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 08:20 AM

For comparison, here is StarMap HD with its full menu expanded.

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  • 3907302-StarMapHD.jpg


#52 psonice

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 09:01 AM

36 menu items, plus a 'more...' button. It shows it's a serious bit of software, but it's terrible UI design. The optimum number of menus in a list like that is around 10, many more than that and you need a hierarchy or a rethink.

It's frustrating really, from what I've heard starmap is perhaps a bit better on functionality, but pretty much everyone says they prefer other apps because of the menu. I've asked the developer several times to improve it and suggested simple ways of fixing it, but there's been no change other than more icons being added to the list. If he'd just split it into sections it'd make it WAY easier to find stuff, and the programming changes would be fairly trivial.

#53 Darenwh

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 09:06 AM

Looks like it will be sky voyager. I think using this at the scope is going to be a great thing. I would not buy an IPad for myself as I really think a laptop is better for my general uses but for this purpose I think it will be great.

#54 bicparker

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 09:19 AM

36 menu items, plus a 'more...' button. It shows it's a serious bit of software, but it's terrible UI design. The optimum number of menus in a list like that is around 10, many more than that and you need a hierarchy or a rethink.

It's frustrating really, from what I've heard starmap is perhaps a bit better on functionality, but pretty much everyone says they prefer other apps because of the menu. I've asked the developer several times to improve it and suggested simple ways of fixing it, but there's been no change other than more icons being added to the list. If he'd just split it into sections it'd make it WAY easier to find stuff, and the programming changes would be fairly trivial.


That shot shows all of the menu items expanded, the "more..." item in this case is a toggle that switches between showing all of the menu items or one line at a time. Either way, it is a bit frustrating to use in the normal course of things.

Honestly, I think some of those menu items shouldn't even be separate menus (such as the zoom and cardinal points items). They could be action buttons embedded in the screen or a sub menu item (I am sure, you have suggested things like that, too, psonice).

I like some of the features of StarMap, but I find myself not using at much simply because of this menu.

#55 Astraforce Paul

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 07:02 PM

Thanks for the feedback on app alert.

As to SMP, I really like it, but agree that there are some UI issues. Have any of the following been fixed on the iPad?

1. On the little i-devices, tap for identification is a nuisance as one is often picking stars or constellations and can't hit the DSO one wants info on! I end up tapping multiple times and sometimes give up in frustration. It becomes an irritating video game instead of a user-friendly app! :) The mini pictures, however, are great once you finally tap the right object! :)

2. SMP's tool bar design is truly problematic. On the smaller i-devices, the tool bar set changes after every use--which doesn't make a lot of sense. One chooses More, picks Settings, and makes a change, and then ends up with the Settings set of icon tool bars, when one really wants to just return to the set one was using!

What would be even better would be letting users customize the tool bar--which many apps allow--and have an option to have it remain in place.

3. Sky Voyager has its own idiosyncrasies, too, though! It has much fuller descriptive info in the app itself than SMP, but I wish it would show that immediately, rather than be on the second screen of info. A double tap to bring up info could be an interesting option. It would also be nice if one could select the font size and have the info reflow. (Pinch-zoom and having to scroll back and forth is a major issue in lots of iPhone app.)

4. Scrolling around the sky also seems a bit herky-jerky in SV whereas it is Apple smooth in SMP. OTOH, SV's search function is much faster.

5. I wish both of them would let us show as many DSOs in the big picture view as we want. Has that changed on the iPad version? That could be reason to spring for the dedicated iPad version. In the meantime, the 2x versions work quite well.

#56 bicparker

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 12:00 AM

Yes, you may see a mess o' DSO's on the iPad version of SkyVoyager. Here is the Markarian's chain region in Virgo, for example (or the beginning of it, at least around M84 and M86).

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#57 mtnmedic

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 12:57 AM

36 menu items, plus a 'more...' button. It shows it's a serious bit of software, but it's terrible UI design. The optimum number of menus in a list like that is around 10, many more than that and you need a hierarchy or a rethink.

It's frustrating really, from what I've heard starmap is perhaps a bit better on functionality, but pretty much everyone says they prefer other apps because of the menu. I've asked the developer several times to improve it and suggested simple ways of fixing it, but there's been no change other than more icons being added to the list. If he'd just split it into sections it'd make it WAY easier to find stuff, and the programming changes would be fairly trivial.


Yeah, but how can you beat....the RED "flashlight"??? Tres cool.

#58 mtnmedic

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 01:00 AM

There's also the Orion StarSeek that's supposed to be decent and can control a scope, as well. Haven't tried it yet. So far I'm on board with everyone else with Sky Voyager, StarMap, Star Walk, etc. All are very good. I'm going to give Solar Walk a try. Made by the same people who made Star Walk and has 3D graphics, supposedly. Anyone else try it?

#59 Darenwh

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 07:49 PM

It sounds like we have a Plethora of quality Astronomy Applications for the IPad...

#60 wykbbb

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 07:24 AM

If you already have SkyVoyager, don't buy StarSeek just yet. Currently, StarSeek is pretty much identical to SkyVoyager. In the future, StarSeek will add new features to differentiate itself from SkyVoyager.

#61 Astraforce Paul

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 09:17 AM

bicparker, I meant control over DSOs in the BIG sky view, i.e., fov of say 90 or 120 degrees, seeing a major swath of sky, and showing however many DSOs we choose. Last I looked, the apps tend to hide many until you zoom in--even Messiers may not show when looking at several constellations.

I did notice that SMP has an option for turning off constellation selection--that's a help. Wish it had an option for turning off star selection, too! Then, I might be able to hit the DSO I want a picture of more easily.

One thing that occurs to me. We probably all spent $80, $120, or even more on an astro star charting program for our computers (say, Starry Night Pro or Voyager). Well, at the low, very low prices of apps on the i-devices, one should just go ahead and buy them all! You'd still probably spend a lot less money than on even 1 desktop/laptop program, but have greater functionality, more fun, more options, etc.

Hmm... I should practice what I preach. I'm off to buy Astromist, Goskywatch, etc.

#62 mtnmedic

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 09:04 PM

I really like Sky Voyager. It's my fave of the batch. I want to get the SkyFi and use it with my iPad and scopes but I'd love to hear from folks who've already done the same and their opinions.

#63 Tom Polakis

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 01:42 PM

It has been interesting to read how well-received SkyVoyager is as an app, in contrast to how Carina's Voyager software for Mac/PC is largely disregarded. I suppose it helps to get into the game early, as they have.

I love SkyVoyager on my iPod Touch, but I love Voyager on my PC a lot more. And it's for the same reasons that have been cited here. Every time I look at the user interface on competing software, it's not even in the same league as Voyager's, much less competitive.

Anyway, sorry for straying a bit off-topic. It's good to see that Carina is succeeding with SkyVoyager.

Tom

#64 Darenwh

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 07:49 PM

Well, we finally got the IPad. Got the WIFI 3G w/64GB. Yes, the top of the line model. I will likely add a few astro apps tomorrow.

#65 rmollise

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 08:46 AM

It has been interesting to read how well-received SkyVoyager is as an app, in contrast to how Carina's Voyager software for Mac/PC is largely disregarded.


I believe that's because they waited _way_ too long to get in the Windows game. By the time they did, Starry Night and TheSky pretty much had their niche sewn up.

#66 Darenwh

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 01:51 PM

Well, I got the 64GB IPad 3G version, used it for a day and a half, and it just was not for me. I decided to stick with my laptop for PC and on the road access and returned the IPad. It just did not do enough to justify the price.

#67 Paul Rix

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 03:56 PM

Each to their own Darren. I could not get over how much I can do with the iPad. It isn't a perfect device for everyone though (but it suits my needs very nicely). .

#68 mtnmedic

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 01:42 AM

Each to their own Darren. I could not get over how much I can do with the iPad. It isn't a perfect device for everyone though (but it suits my needs very nicely). .


Ditto! I LOVE my iPad 64GB 3G. I used to have a netbook. Not anymore. I still have my laptop, but it stays behind nowadays, being the big, bulky thing which runs hot that it is. It's a backup to my desktop in case THAT computer crashes and burns. The two are set up identically in terms of software and configurations. My iPad is now the default "take everywhere" device (aside from my EVO 4G) on which I do a LOT of stuff.

Reading, playing games, surfing the 'net, taking notes running info applications and, of course, doing astronomy! I've waited a LONNNG time for something like this to come around. It's not perfect but it sure beats what I've seen and used over the years (FYI my laptop is an HP TX2525, a true WACOM digitizer Tablet PC).

But you're right...it's not for everybody. But it's certainly for the many people who just want something that's 1) Simple, 2) Easy to learn/use, 3) Easy to handle/carry and 4) That just WORKS. I have YET to see this thing crash or bog down for any reason. Just push that home button and it's awake and doing things for me. No waiting for the OS load, blah, blah, blah. I'm using it constantly and it's become a nice part of my life. I never felt shuffling around a laptop or a netbook could really "do it" for me, around my house, on my deck, at the park, sitting in the ambulance waiting for a call, on the plane, etc. The iPad is just...comfortable.

#69 JAMC

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 02:44 PM

I am interested in getting SkyVoyager... anyone using it to control a Gemini system (MI-250 in my case)? I'm interested in your experiences with the two.

#70 btschumy

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 04:00 PM

I've used it to control my GM-8 mount. No problems.

#71 Nop

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 05:22 PM

The iPad itself has a big advantage over the iPhone: the battery life! No dark-adaptation-killing-lock screen, it just runs all night.

#72 mtnmedic

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 06:20 AM

The iPad itself has a big advantage over the iPhone: the battery life! No dark-adaptation-killing-lock screen, it just runs all night.


So long as you remember to disable the auto-lock in Settings!

#73 Darenwh

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 09:31 AM

Well, it looks like I just cannot get away from the IPAD. I just received another free one. Why are these things falling into my lap? Oh well. I am going to use this one at the telescope and maybe to read PDF documentation for some networking equipment. It's just the bottom of the wrung 16gb version without 3g but it's free so why not. Maybe it will grow on me. If nothing else it will make a good travel companion for the plane. The battery lasts much longer than a laptop battery. Too bad they don't have a DVD drive built in to make it a portable movie player. Maybe somebody will make a blue ray player at a reasonable price to plug into it via the USB port.

#74 csa/montana

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 07:45 PM

Well, it looks like I just cannot get away from the IPAD. I just received another free one.



:bawling: We should all be so lucky! :grin: I'm looking into them, myself.

#75 nunciusaustralis

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 08:05 PM

My wife just gofted me an iPod touch. First thing i did was buy (0,99 cents) the app Sky master. Despect not rich dso catalog it finds all mmessier. Great and cheap.


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