View Full Version here: : Alt Az Align iDevice app available
07-06-2011, 06:29 PM
I've been working on an iDevice app for a few months now with the aim to benefit both members of the IIS community and other amateur astronomers with the alignment of any Alt/Az computerised mounted scope (though it may also be of use to help those with EQ type mounts).
It is now live on the app store for both iPhone and iPad (and should work on iPods) iOS 4.0.1 and greater.
It uses the current location and time of the iDevice to determine a list of "Star Sets" that are ordered by their angular distance from the Zenith point along with their angular separation.
Have a look on the app store (search for "Altitude Azimuth Alignment" or "sibimon") for a complete description and screenshots.
PS: I got the ok from Mike to make this post.
07-06-2011, 08:13 PM
Looks good simon
08-06-2011, 10:05 AM
An iOS app produced by an IISer? Got to have it! Congratulations Simon! Even though I don't run GOTO per se, plenty of people in my club and others that I know do - so I'll show them your app. :thumbsup: You've produced a beautiful GUI here too, clear as a bell and purposeful without any extra flash. Very well done.
08-06-2011, 02:38 PM
Thanks Chris for the feedback on the GUI, I had been making changes quite often to it during the coding of the app (much to the mirth of my wife who kept making jokes about it never being finished :lol:). Thanks too for showing it off to fellow astronomers, happy for any feedback what so ever.
09-06-2011, 01:33 AM
Works on my iPod, no problems.
Maybe slow down the update rate for the second to last line, I can't read that fast.
New features :question: (Is it too soon?)
Even without a GPS the iPod still knows where it is (sometimes). Would be nice to use this.
Otherwise a selection list of locations and an ability to save new locations.
09-06-2011, 07:05 PM
Happy to get feedback and ideas.
The line scrolling shows alt/az info along with the more important z and s angles. Do you think the alt/az is important info? I was thinking of removing it altogether and trying to enlarge the fonts to make it easier to read.
I don't have an iPod myself but I'll look into seeing how to use the iPod location feature and I'll also look into making a list of popular locations (and save user locations).
An update is in the app store awaiting approval that fixes up a small issue with the app locking up on some devices and I'll be working on another update in a week or so after I get some more feedback (I have a few ideas from people already).
09-06-2011, 08:08 PM
I agree with Michael that the alternating Alt/Az/z/s display is almost impossible to read.
I would remove the Alt/Az part completely or put it on another page.
For us Argo Navis users it would be good to be able to select a separate
Argo Navis star alignment catalogue.
A number of your stars are not available in Argo for alignment.
09-06-2011, 08:34 PM
This may be a bit over the top but....
If I stand in the middle of my backyard my horizon is not the same in all directions. Would it be possible to
a: select/deselect stars I can or cannot see.
b: adjust the horizon for each quadrant to select which stars are included.
That way the app could present the best option for the stars which can actually be used.
I find with many apps that the font is too small to read in the dark. Anything you can do to increase the font size is good. I know you are working with limited screen size especially on the iPod/iPhone.
10-06-2011, 07:24 AM
GB and Michael,
I did toy with putting in "catalogs" for each mount system but only having a CPC myself and wanting to get the app to be quite broad in its application I thought the top 60 brightest stars would be a good compromise. It's not hard to do though so if people are able to send me (via a PM will do) the list of stars that are used in their two star alignment system I'll see what I can do.
I had also thought about an adjustable horizon exclusion zone but a system based on each quadrant is a good idea too :)
I'll definitely be changing the font sizes, might even look into have a big font mode or something.
20-06-2011, 02:40 PM
Just a heads up to inform you that I've submitted an update (V1.0.2) to the Apple Store.
The update fixes a few bugs and add some new features such as picking a location by Country & City, selectable star catalog (Celestron 40, Meade 33 or All 65). I've also improved the scrolling feature when zoomed and increased font sizes along with finger scrolling of star lists instead of using the buttons.
The update should be approved within 7 days.
Thanks and cheers,
20-06-2011, 02:50 PM
Simon, has anyone sent you the Argo Navis catalogue.
With regards your Argo Navis, I just wanted to pass on the tip that you can align on
any object at any time, including during the initial alignment procedure.
MODE ALIGN STAR is essentially identical to MODE ALIGN except that it contains a list of convenient bright stars.
However, you can combine MODE CATALOG with MODE ALIGN to align on any object.
For example, to align on JUPITER, after performing the FIX ALT REF STEP. Dial up MODE CATALOG, PLANETS/SUN
and access JUPITER. Then press EXIT, dial up MODE ALIGN and when you press ENTER you will see ALIGN JUPITER.
Press ENTER again to align on it. Likewise you could also call up the name of a star that is not in the MODE ALIGN STAR menu.
If you see a NOT ALIGNED warning during when you go into MODE CATALOG, simply ignore it.
When using MODE ALIGN, Argo Navis remembers the last object you accessed in MODE CATALOG, MODE IDENTIFY and MODE TOUR
so that when you go into MODE ALIGN, that last accessed object will become the current object.
This feature can be quite handy if you have obstructed views because of trees or buildings and allows you to align on an object
that does not appear in the MODE ALIGN STAR menu. :thumbsup:
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20-06-2011, 07:56 PM
As Gary has said, if you have an Argo Navis you can align on any object so by using the "All 65" catalog you can get a good range of possible star sets. If the screen becomes too "busy" then you can zoom in or use one of the other catalogs to reduce the number of stars.
The Argo Navis users I've been lucky enough to observe with often use stars not available in any of the smaller catalogs I've seen.
24-06-2011, 11:20 PM
Gary, thanks for that heads-up.
Simon, downloaded version 1.0.2..
08-07-2011, 05:46 PM
Early days, early gripes!
 Everyone would agree that the font size used on the help screen is impossibly small.
 At first I couldn't understand why the mini-compass feature disagreed significantly with the iPhone compass indications - until I realised that my iPhone compass is set to 'True North' and the AltAzAlign app apears to use magnetic North.
Given that True/Magnetic data should be available to installed Apps, is it possible to add this functionality to AltAzAlign?
10-07-2011, 02:37 PM
Yeah the help screen is going to be given a revamp to include a lot more information and a bigger font. Even on the iPad version it's still horribly small.
As for compass using true/magnetic data I'll look into it. The compass was only thrown in at the last minute so I only used the simplest of set ups for it. If I can get easy access to the bearing mode then I'll add it into the settings screen (which will also be revamped in the next update).
EDIT: OK, I just looked at the documentation for determining the different values for North and it's easy-peasy so it'll definitely be going in the next update.
Thanks for the feedback.
04-08-2011, 07:37 AM
Update V1.0.3 has just been approved for the app store and should be available for you to download.
This version fixes a few bugs and issues, improves the 'Star Set' calculations, adds in adjustable quadrant horizons, True/Magnetic North settings for the compass, an improved 'Settings' screen and a much easier to read and more helpful 'Help Screen'. Check out the app sore to read about all the fixes.
Thanks again everyone who has purchased the app and please keep any feedback or ideas coming in. If you feel up to it, please drop in some feedback on the app store, not required though :)
09-08-2011, 11:46 AM
Well I couldn't help myself and I've updated the app to version 1.0.4.
I've added in the ability to show solar system objects (sun,moon,planets (not Pluto though), a user time scroll feature which lets you change the time in five minute intervals up to 24 hours by dragging left or right across the star map, and you can now touch on an object and positional data is displayed (can be awkward on the iPhone due to small screen size but it works in zoomed mode). I also tweaked the Julian date calculations to help improve accuracy.
Hope you like the new features and if you have any other suggestions please offer them up.
01-09-2011, 02:48 PM
Simon - well done: useful improvements warmly received!
Inclusion of planets is handy and the font size increase makes things much more legible.
03-09-2011, 10:37 AM
Excellent alignment tool just right for my iPad. Just want to ask ‘Where the hell have you been....?’:clap:
03-09-2011, 12:34 PM
Thanks Dean and Mark for the feedback :)
If you have any suggestions or improvements please feel free to post 'em up!
18-11-2011, 03:48 PM
* It should now be easier to select a star when tapping it on the screen as I've increased the object location touch size.
* The data block that is displayed when selecting an item will stay on until the user taps it.
Also, I am currently playing around with an OpenGL version. I am hoping that this will make the app look much more refined and will allow me to add more "cool" features. The only problem is that it may not run well on lower spec devices such as iPhone 3G and some of the older iPods. I may end up making a new GL version for new devices but I'm loathe to ask people to purchase another version if they've already got the older version.
06-12-2011, 09:49 PM
* Fixed issue where data block was being drawn incorrectly when in user time mode.
* Fixed and updated some incorrect star coordinates.
I'm interested to hear if anyone is using the app on an older 3G iPhone. I've had a report of the app not responding to scrolling of the star lists on this hardware. I have a 3G test unit and it works fine for me (though the app itself runs slowly on this older hardware and response time of the touch screen is laggy).
18-03-2012, 03:43 PM
App update submitted and website retooled.
* Added 3 new catalogues as per user requests and as a result the number of bright stars increased from 65 to 87.
* Check out the app website for more information - http://www.sibimon.net
The update is currently waiting for review so I expect it to go live before next weekend.
EDIT: App has been released and is ready for download.
02-05-2012, 07:31 AM
* Updated images for new iPad, the app should run on new iPad with no issues.
* Increased information area on the iPhone to make it easier to read.
* Changed Solar System objects to circles to make them easier to see when compared to stars.
* Extra stars added (109 in total).
2 new controller catalogs added:
-> Nexus - 91 stars.
-> Argo Navis - 35 stars.
If you have a SynScan Controller, you can use either one of these new catalogs. I will be adding a new SynScan catalog in the near future.
02-05-2012, 04:03 PM
Confirmation that it runs beeeeeeeeautifully on the new iPad Simon. Stunning display :thumbsup:
05-01-2013, 03:07 PM
A big thanks to everyone who has purchased and is using the Alt Az Align app, hopefully it is giving you good alignment.
Just a quick update, I've been on a bit of a break with app stuff so I have decided to reduce the price of the app down to the lowest possible price tier (99c for us here in Australia). I have some updates to add to it and will hopefully put some time into them in the near future.
Don't forget to grab Sky Harbinger, it's free :)
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