16. October 2011 12:17
We released version 2 of SkyMap for Windows Phone.
There are a lot of changes in the new version. The application has a completely new map rendering. It uses XNA, taking advantage of the phone's GPU. All drawings are performed frame by frame, in real time.
Another big difference is the way the application calculates the position of sky objects. We moved from trigonometric formulae to matrix computations. XNA drawing approach is conceptual different compared to the standard Silverlight 2D drawing. Drawing in XNA uses concepts like camera, universe, view, etc... And for that reason, we had to change the application quite a bit. Actually, I can say we completely rewrote the application, reusing only the settings infrastructure from the old one: buttons, ui bars, settings pages, etc.
I really hope that our users will like and appreciate the changes. And we rewrote the application description and created a new video presentation. But unfortunatelly, there was a glitch in the release process because we found a bug in the calibration dialog. We fixed the bug and started a new release (version 2.1).
This our new presentation video:
SkyMap is an amazing planetarium for your windows phone. It enables you to point your phone at the sky and see what stars, constellations, planets or deep space objects are out there in real time.
SkyMap shows the sky in 3D, like you see it at night time exposing a collection of over 110000 stars. It’s very easy to use for any viewpoint, time and location on Earth: it determines your location automatically, supports pinch to zoom for more details and provides a highly customizable map.
5. October 2011 20:46
We’ve just published SkyMap 1.5, which is the first update that targets Windows Phone 7.5 (also known as mango). This update adds the most wanted feature – compass support! It is the feature that we wanted to add right from the first version, but it just wasn’t possible on the previous versions of the Windows Phone OS.
How to use the compass
Please make sure that you are away from magnetic interferences. Large metal objects, power wires, magnets, speakers, etc. can affect the accuracy of the compass.
When you launch the new version, expand the application bar and click on the enable point to sky item. The first time you may get a Compass Calibration screen. Follow the instructions as indicated on the screen, until the status at the bottom says “Complete”.
From our experience, the compass calibration may take quite a while (especially when done the first time). Take your time, have patience and it will eventually get calibrated.
For more information about using the point to sky feature, please refer to the help page included in the application (you can find it in the application bar).
What’s new in SkyMap 1.5
- Compass support
- New sensors bar, that replaces the navigation bar in the point to sky mode
- Fast app switching
- The system tray respects the night mode theme (the system tray is setting is available only in the full version of the app)
- New night mode button in the quick settings bar, to make it easier to switch the night mode on and off
- The point to sky mode now supports the pinch to zoom gesture
- The show more/less stars now offers a wider range of values to better match the sky you see in your area
- Reorganized some of the items in the quick settings bar and the application bar
This update requires Windows Phone 7.5 (mango).
This update also includes the improvements we made in SkyMap 1.4 (which is also available for Windows Phone 7.0). You can find more information about the SkyMap 1.4 update here.
3. October 2011 19:34
The main change in this update is the new look for the UI bars (setting bar, zoom bar, compass bar), which makes them similar to the standard application bar; they are now expandable and each button has a small description that explains what it does. We also made all buttons circular (instead of rectangular). All these changes should make the UI bars easier to use than before.
Here is the full list of changes in this update:
- Improved bars
- rounded buttons
- each button has a label
- The Pluto fans should celebrate, as Pluto is now supported and displayed on the map
- We added a few new settings:
- Planets – show always (on by default) – when set, it shows planets always, no matter the zoom level
- Messier – shows always (off by default) – when set, it shows the Messier objects always, no matter the zoom level
- The labels for constellations in night mode now use a slightly different color
- Various performance improvements
- Fixed an issue that was happening when running on Windows Phone 7.5: clicking on the wikipedia link (in the object info pane) was loading an empty page
This update is available for both Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 7.5.