This was an interesting project and a lot of exprience to gain out of it.
The idea was old. And I already have the code to draw sky maps from my own website skymaponline.net. But it was not as easy as I thought it will be. Because the progamming on Windows Phone 7 is… an interesting experience. The framework for Windows Phone 7 has a lot of room for improvements. Drawing using canvas was too slow and buggy. Loading data with regular methods was not working as expected. UI thread limitations forced us to use a multi-thread solution. Creating and getting a business account on Microsoft marketplace was a horrible experience (4 times getting in touch with geotrust, our official partnership name being rejected by a way too agressive policheck algorithm at the creation of marketplace account with a misleading error, etc). And on top of that, countless hours spent on unexpected issues…
But now it’s done and there are quite a few lessons learned on my side. And SkyMap app for Windows Phone 7 works pretty well. There are a couple of improvements we plan to add, but the v1 is ready and finally accepted on marketplace.
Here’s the description of the application:
SkyMap 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.
SkyMap 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 (dimmer stars are displayed based on the zoom level)
– night mode (preserves the eye adaptation to dark during stargazing sessions)
– gesture support (drag the sky map, pinch or double tap to zoom, tap to get sky object information, etc)
– telrad circles
– constellations, stars, deep space objects, planets, sun and moon informations
– autocomplete search function
– fast star data loading and initialization
– various map customizations and settings
– map animations
– map support for portrait and landscape orientations
SkyMap can be used as an educational software to learn the constellations and objects in the sky, to follow the movements of planets and other sky objects during the time (day or night), to find out the position of sun, planets and stars at specific moments of time between 1900 and 2100 (for example when you were born).
The trial version is fully functional but shows ads and limits a few settings. Please buy the full version in order to support the future development, unlock all settings and get the application without ads.
More features will be added during the future application upgrades and they will be available at no additional cost to the people who buy this application now. For example, we’ll try to add more stars, improved graphics, point the phone to the sky (when compass API becomes available).
The application can be installed (on Windows Phone 7 devices) from here: SkyMap for Windows Phone 7