Starmap is for Serious Stargazers Only

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starmap iphone appWhen I first downloaded "Starmap" from French Publisher Star-map, I was somewhat disappointed. The star charts were accurate of course, but panning around was clunky, with a low refresh rate. As the author explains in his FAQ:

"The refresh rate of the sky map is about 3 frames per seconds when you slide it with your finger. For each frame, star positions and projections are computed. I have chosen not to use the hardware accelerated open GL as the sky view requires a lot of text and very smooth objects. Indeed, a view contains many information, and the readability needs high quality graphics. I choose this option as I prefered to have a good map under the eyes while observing than a fast sliding sky map without antialiasing and texts. Nevertheless a full graphics accelerated version will be released before the end of they year."

Nevertheless, I finally got the app up and working this morning at 5.25 AM, and set my sights on Orion. Using the star charts, I was easily able to locate Sirius just below Orion's feet: Victory! I also looked for planets -- but as StarMap informed me, only Uranus was currently visible, and I didnt't have access to a telescope...

Beside the clunkiness, the program crashed on me several times, which is par for the course this early in the game. A "pro" version of this app is due later on this year, according to the web site; hopefully this solves the panning problems and improves the overall stability.

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  • bluecrow

    i would say that compared to standard star charts (eg http://www.wunderground.com) this app is not worth it. You can look up constellations by name, but you cant scroll by constellation as you would expect)

  • robinson

    New version has revamped graphics display, now apparently quite speedy, responsive. Developer is also, with new things planned and coming.

  • Jonathan R. Webbs

    "StarMap" has never made an impression on me. It was the first application I tried, and it never came out as I expected. Maybe the most annoying thing is following these arrows, touching the panel innumerable number of times... I discovered "Star Walk" very soon. It turned out to be quite entertaining and more sophisticated at the same time. And I would give ten out of ten to "Star Walk" almost on each scale... You can see some features here: http://www.youtube.com/user/VITOTech

  • Ad astra

    I am an avid amateur astronomer and starmap pro is the best app out there. It has very detailed amount of stars and actually useful at the eyepiece. All other apps are do not have the amount of objects, starts, data, etc that this one has. Again, if you are an amateur looking for a legit piece of software then I would consider this product.

    The only other great program out there is on the Palm called Planetarium. I like that one better, but this is the closest thing to that program. One great feature is called "tracking." So if you are star-hopping, it will help guide your finder-scope to find the object.

    I've tried other astro apps and they are OK, but don't have enough NGC or IC objects to make them worth it. Those are more for the casual folks who are have small interest in astronomy. they are looking for eye-candy. But in the field, it's not really useful to have eye-candy. You need a tool to find thousands of starts and objects.

    If you are serious amateur astronomer looking for some professional software then get this one.

    Ad Astra

  • Stargazer

    I was out just a few nights ago with my telescope, yet I needed to set it up, but I needed to find Polaris, thanks to Starmap, I managed to set it up in record time

    Usefulness: 4.5/5
    Value: 3/5
    Quality: 4/5
    Overall: 4/5

  • http://www.zenfolio.com/rainbowman18 Elliott Marshall, A.S., RPR

    Pocket Universe is what I use when my attention and whims turn to stargazing. I find it to be comprehensive, easy to use and reasonably-priced. It's really the only celestial app I need.