SkyMap translated to your language?

by Adrian 26. March 2012 01:10

I know that many of you would like to see SkyMap translated to your language. Since more than 1 year ago when we published our first version we received lots and lots of requests from you. We’ve been listening to you all this time.

We would also love to see SkyMap translated to more languages too. But we are a small group of 2 developers, working on their spare time, and we need some help with the translation.

So, if you would like to help us translate the SkyMap app in your language, please send us an email at support [at] denebsoft [dot] com.

Now, we can’t promise that we will be able to translate the app in all possible languages Smile. We will try first to cover first the most popular languages, and after that, if we get enough support and requests we may be able to tackle some less common languages as well.

So, if you would like to help us, please let us know.

Thank you!
- Deneb Soft

SkyMap 2.3 Release Notes

by Adrian 20. March 2012 01:02

We’ve just released a new update to SkyMap – 2.3. Here is the full list of changes that went in this update

  • Improved graphics (you can see some before and after screenshots at the end of this post)
  • We added a stars twinkling effect
  • Fade in/out animation for the constellation art
  • We added a button to the quick settings bar to toggle the point to sky mode
  • Various performance and stability improvements
  • Removed the 30 degrees limit for the compass compensation
  • Various bug fixes
    • Fixed a bug that caused the orientation lock to be lost after exiting the flashlight page
    • Fixed a bug that caused the map manipulation to become sluggish after opening the APOD page
    • Fixed a bug that made the last match in the search results list not to be selectable
Orion before version 2.3Orion after version 2.3

Before version 2.3After version 2.3

SkyMap 2.2 Release Notes

by Adrian 20. March 2012 00:49

We released the 2.2 update some time ago, but we haven’t got the chance to post the release notes. So here they are:

  • Added an option to hide the Milky Way texture
  • Live tiles with the sun, moon information
  • Implemented search while in the point to sky mode; we now display some arrows to guide you to the object you searched for
  • Improved About page
  • Select the search text in the search page when opening the page
  • Improved the compass calibration instructions by pointing to a post on our blog with more details about calibration
  • Various bug fixes and performance improvements

Windows Phone Compass Calibration

by Administrator 22. November 2011 21:16

Many users asked us about how to calibrate their windows phone compass. The following video shows how to properly execute the figure-8 calibration

If this doesn't work for you, we found an alternate calibration method - rotate the device on all its axes as presented in this video.

For more details about calibrating the compass sensor, you can take a look here

SkyMap 2 for Windows Phone

by Administrator 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.

SkyMap 1.5 Gets Mango Update, Adds Compass Support

by Adrian 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.

SkyMap 1.4 now available

by Adrian 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.

SkyMapExpandableBars    SkyMapExpandableBars_Expanded

Here is the full list of changes in this update:

  • Improved bars
    • rounded buttons
    • expandable
    • 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.

SkyMap Free and AstroPix released to marketplace

by Administrator 21. June 2011 08:02

Our SkyMap trial application is fully functional (it's just a few steps behind the full SkyMap application: it is ad based and has few small limitations). But we understand there are windows phone users out there not willing to install a trial version - despite the fact there is no price or risk involved.

So, as a solstice summer gift to the world, we've decided to release 2 FREE applications:

SkyMap Free - similar to SkyMap trial version (except the picture of the day feature)

AstroPix - astronomy picture of the day based on apod.nasa.gov website

Here are the application detailed description:

1. SkyMapFree

SkyMapFree provides interactive sky maps for any time, viewpoint and location on Earth. It shows the different names, coordinates, magnitude, astronomical rise and set times plus additional information for over 110000 stars, messier objects, planets, sun and the moon.

SkyMapFree has a full set of features in order to help both casual stargazers and amateur astronomers to explore and locate the objects in the sky:
- interactive zoom
- night mode
- gesture support
- constellations, stars, deep space objects, planets, sun and moon information
- autocomplete search function
- fast loading and initialization
- support for portrait and landscape orientations
- map rotation mode
- point to sky mode (beta)
- flashlight, map orientation lock and other improvements
- help page
- improved sky map graphics: planet images, star colors, diffraction spikes, etc
- sky object information (wikipedia integration)
- new quick settings bar (star density selection, flip map)
- alt/az grid
- additional customizations (show/hide map layers: planets, stars, messier objects, etc)

2. AstroPix

Imagine a beautiful clear summer sky. Look up and discover the beauty of our universe… Have you ever looked through a telescope? Do you enjoy the breathtaking pictures taken from terrestrial or outer space telescopes? Look no further and install AstroPix!
Based on the NASA APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day) website, Astropix is a friendly daily astronomy picture viewer. APOD features each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
The free AstroPix application offers a full set of features, delivering a great integration between the APOD website and the rich and compelling UI of the Windows Phone platform.

AstroPix features:
- Lists the recent pictures published on the APOD website
- Image viewer in both landscape and portrait modes
- Last viewed picture displayed as application background (using panorama control)
- History of viewed images with large thumbnails and description
- Search by name, description or date
- Select a specific date, random date, today, etc
- Image/photograph full explanation and information
- Full screen display
- Image zoom (to small or large dimensions) by pich or double click

SkyMap 1.2 for Windows Phone

by Adrian 24. May 2011 01:54

We’ve just released our latest update to our app! We are very excited about this release, we added quite a few new features and we really hope you will like them.

I guess you are eager to find out what’s new in this version. So, let’s take a look at our latest release!

Map rotation mode

We added a new mode for manipulating the map (which is on by default), that feels more natural when stargazing. In this mode, dragging the map horizontally will rotate the map (instead of translating it). You can still translate it vertically.

So here is how you use this mode:

  • make sure you are using the rotation mode (it is on by default; you can change it from using the quick settings bar or the the “rotate on horizontal” drag setting in the settings page)
  • (if needed) drag the map vertically so that you can see the sky limit circle on the bottom side; when you launch the SkyMap application, there is a short map animation that brings the map into this position
  • click on the compass bar, to set the direction you are facing (e.g. if you are looking North select the N button from the compass bar)
  • as you turn to the left or right, drag the map horizontally accordingly
  • as you look up or down, drag the map vertically (this will be done automatically for you in the “point to sky mode” using the phone’s accelerometer)

Point to sky (beta)

The problem we are facing currently, as application developers, is that the compass functionality is not exposed to applications, so applications can’t use the compass. Because of this limitation, we can’t provide currently a complete implementation of the point to sky feature.

However, due to popular demand, we’ve decided to offer a partial implementation as a beta, that uses the phone’s accelerometer. We hope that you will find this partial implementation useful.

The good news is that, as far as we know, all Windows Phone 7 devices contain a compass sensor that will become available to applications in the next major OS release (also known as Mango). At that point, we will be able to provide the full implementation of the point to sky feature.

Meantime, you can use the phone tilt, but you will need to adjust the map orientation manually (using horizontal map drag or the compass bar.

Astronomy Picture Of The day

NASA showcases some amazing astronomy photos on the Astronomy Picture of the Day website http://apod.nasa.gov/. We added for you a convenient way to check these pictures directly from the SkyMap application.

Here is how to use this feature:

  • press “previous” / ”next” buttons (or swipe) to move to the previous / next image
  • double tap on the image to enter/exit a zoomed in scrolling mode – please note that the swipe gestures are disabled in the scrolling mode
  • use the “hide application bar” menu item to see the image in full screen; press the phone’s back button to show the application bar again. Please note that in this mode you can still use swipe left/right to move to the previous/next image
  • the “info” button will open the info pane, displays information about the current image; pressing the “more info” link at the bottom of the info pane will open the corresponding web page on the nasa’s apod web site
  • you can chose a random date using the “random date” menu item in the application bar
  • you can set a specific date (between Jan 1997 and today) or change some of the settings (whether the title/date of the image should be displayed) using the “settings / select date” menu item
  • you can go to today’s image by using the the “today” menu item

Flashlight

One of our customers (thank you!) wrote us that he would like a flashlight inside the SkyMap application. We liked the idea, we thought that it is indeed very useful to have a handy flashlight when watching the sky. And, if you are using the night mode, it displays a red light (so that you don’t lose the eye adaptation to the darkness)

You can access this feature from the quick settings bar.

Lock screen orientation

We added this button to the quick settings bar to make it easier to tilt the phone without the map getting rotated. Press again the button to unlock it.

Please note that this feature is not available in the point to sky mode.

Help page

While we do our best to make our app easy to use, we realize that it may be difficult to discover and understand all the features that we have. So we added a help page inside the app.

The “Bars” button

We wanted to make accessing the various bars easier. So we added the “Bars” button to the application bar (it replaces the previous Zoom bar button).

The bars button cycles through the following settings:

  • press once – it opens the quick settings bar
  • press twice – it opens the zoom bar (this bar is not available in the point to sky mode)
  • press the third time – it will close the bar

Map orientation improved for stargazing– using the direction you are facing instead of the map direction

The compass bar now represents the direction you are facing (instead of the direction of the map) to make it easier to use outdoors.

This means that if you are facing North, you press the “N” button in the compass bar (instead of “S” in the previous version). The map will get rotated with North facing down.

If you want to go back to the previous behavior, you can toggle the “flip vertically” button from the quick settings bar

Other fixes and improvements

  • improved the performance of the auto completion box in the Search dialog so it is more responsive
  • the map can properly display sky object names that contain characters from the greek alphabet
  • all bars (quick settings, zoom, compass) are scrollable now, to accommodate more settings
  • the buttons in the quick settings bar are smaller and take less space
  • setting to show/hide the stars colors
  • each bar has its own menu item in the application bar, to make it easier to discover

What’s new in SkyMap 1.1 for Windows Phone

by adrian 4. April 2011 00:02

Hello everybody!

We’ve just released the first update to SkyMap for Windows Phone 7. We received a lot of feedback from you (thank you all for that!) and you may even recognize some of your suggestions in the new features.

I guess you are quite curious what’s new in this version, so here we go:

Improved map graphics

One of the main areas of improvements was the map itself. Now we show images for the planets, the moon and the sun, we show star colors and diffraction spikes for the most visible objects. We also tweaked some the colors that we use in the map (please let us know what you think about the new color theme).

Orion Sky Map

Sky object information (wikipedia integration)

When you click on a major sky object, you will see a link that points to more information on wikipedia about that object (this feature needs data connection). Over there you will find very comprehensive articles about the various sky objects, including real images.

sky object information with link to wikipedia

New quick settings bar

We wanted to make some of the settings easier to access, so we added a new bar – the quick settings bar. You can access this bar from the Application Bar, by clicking on the “quick settings bar” menu item.

The quick settings bar

The buttons represent the following operations:

  • Flip the map horizontally
  • Flip the map vertically
  • Show more stars
  • Show less stars
  • Reset the map (it resets the map to the initial position)
  • Refresh the map

Flip map options

In some cases, you may need to flip the map (for example if you watch the sky via a telescope). So we added these features to make this easier.

Stars density adjustment

The number of stars you see on the sky depends on a few factors (weather, light pollution). For example, if you live in a city, you will see less stars than if you go in the middle of nowhere. Trying to identify the stars may become confusing if the map shows too many stars comparing to what you see.

To make this easier, we added these 2 buttons that you can use to adjust the map so that it matches the amount of stars you see on the sky.

Here is how the map looks like if you increase the number of stars to the maximum value:

Sky map when stars density setting is set to the maximum value

Alt/Az Grid

More map customization options

Now you can show or hide anything on the map. You can find these in the Settings page, under the Display category.

Other fixes and improvements

  • we improved the map pinch to zoom functionality
  • the map position is persisted at tombstoning - if you press the Start or Search button, than you press the “Back” button to return to the application
  • fixed the rotation of the splash screen that was happening while loading the data if you held the phone in landscape mode
  • label overlap detection improvements
  • the autocomplete box in the search dialog now also shows the type of objects
  • fixed the autocomplete box appearance for the light phone theme
  • some stability improvements (fixed a few crashes)

We hope you enjoy the new features!

If you have any comments, or suggestions, feel free to contact us (you can use the “Send feedback and suggestions” button for the Settings page, or the email link from the about page).

- Adrian

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