I am pleased to announce that my new app “Sun Seeker” was approved by Apple on the second attempt, 31 days after the initial submission, and is now available in the iTunes appstore. Note – As it requires use of a compass, it will only work with the iPhone 3GS devices.
I have recorded a brief video demo showing how it works.
This app shows you where the sun is now, and what path it takes through the sky, either for today or for any day of the year, for your current location.
It has two main views.
- A flat compass view
- An augmented reality camera overlay view
It is valuable for real estate buyers (to find the sun and light exposure of any room throughout the course of the year), for gardeners and landscapers (to find hours of sun exposure for any location in the garden), for photographers (to find when the sun will be shining at the right angle), and for anyone interested in daily variations of rise and set times of the sun.
The above shot shows the opening view – which displays the sun’s day/night path segments using the flat compass. Typically you would hold the iPhone horizontally in your hand, and then you can easily see the directions of the rise point, set point, and which direction the sun is in right now – the yellow triangle. The other information displayed here is:
- Current latitude and longitude (from built-in GPS)
- How long since the sun rose, and until it sets; or if at night, how long since it set and how long until it rises
- The sun’s heading (azimuth) angle and elevation. If you watch these you will see them ticking over as the sun moves.
- Shadow ratio (length of shadow in comparison with the vertical height of a an object) and path length (the multiple of atmospheric thicknesses through which the sunlight has traveled).
Tapping the camera icon changes the app into its augmented reality overlay view.
The types of information you see here are:
- If the sun is not already in view, then a pointer showing which direction to turn towards to find the sun
- The current heading (azimuth) and elevation of the centre of your camera view
- The sun’s current position and its opposite shadow point
- The sun’s path throughout today with hour positions marked – including the nighttime segment below the horizon
- Optionally also in blue the sun’s path on the shortest day of the year, and in red for the longest day of the year
- Grid lines of equal heading (purple for cardinal compass directions E/S/W/N and red for others) and elevation (blue)
- The horizon line (green)
You may find this especially valuable if you look towards the rise and set points near a room’s window or on a balcony. You can then see the range of directions through which the sun rises (or sets), and therefore when it will shine through that window or onto that balcony, and for roughly how many hours at different times of the year.
Further details you can obtain are shown in the following view.
So you can see that this app uses augmented reality a little differently from most other newly released apps, and it can provide genuinely valuable information that is not easily available by any other means. It effectively turns your iPhone into an advanced sun tracking device.
I created this app because I was myself in the process of buying property, and it was just what I needed myself. I hope that some of you might also find it useful, as well as fun to use and to show off your iPhone!
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More recent news and discussion about Sun Seeker on Facebook:
More recent blog entries on Sun Seeker:
Note – Sun Seeker is now available for Android! (March 2012)