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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Windows Phone 7 - Sun Tracker

About Sun Tracker for WP7

Track the position of the sun throughout the day. Determine when sunrise will occur and then track the path of the sun through the sky until sunset. With tracking enabled the phone can be pointed at the sky to measure current elevation and azimuth angle.

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New in version 2.0. Switch to the augmented reality vision mode and see the path of the sun overlayed on your environment. See exactly where the sun will go today and easily switch to the Solstice and Equinox paths.

Use the details page to calculate the Time, Elevation and Azimuth angle of:

  • Astronomical Twilight (Dawn and Dusk)
  • Nautical Twilight (Dawn and Dusk)
  • Civil Twilight (Dawn and Dusk)
  • Sunrise
  • Sunset
  • A user selected date and time.

The equation of time, Solar declination and Daylight duration are also calculated. All values are in the local timezone and adjusted for daylight savings if applicable.

Select a location on the map page or use the GPS to go to your current location. The map page also shows the direction and time of sunrise and sunset.

A useful tool for:

  • Real Estate - When will the sun come over the hill? Will a tree or building block most of the winter sun?
  • Gardeners - will the planting location suit have the right amount of sun exposure?
  • Photographers - When will twilight occur?
  • Architects - Maximise winter sun exposure and minimise summer heat gain.
  • Solar panels - What angle and inclination should the panels be placed at to be optimal for the location?

The settings page allows you to toggle access to location data and provide an optional correction to the compass bearing.

Versions:

  • 2.0
    • Adds augmented reality sun tracking via the vision button. For best results enable the use of the device location and calibrate the compass before use.
    • The last Zoom level used on the map it kept between uses and there is an option on the settings page to show zoom level buttons on the map.
  • 1.3
    • Adds Dates page that includes Solstices, Equinoxes, Perihelion, Aphelion
  • 1.1
    • Adds pin option for current location to display rise and set times plus length of day on the back of the apps tile.
    • Tapping the rise or set times in the compass view will toggle to showing the time until the event occurs.

User Guide

Tips

  • Ensure your current location is correct. Use the "location" button in the application bar to update to your current latitude and longitude. Verify this on the map page.
  • Ensure your select date is current. This can be altered with the date controls at the bottom of the page.
  • Use the "vision" button to see the projected suns path for your selected day.
  • You can jump to important dates such as the solstice or equinox on the dates page.

Compass

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The compass shows the position of the sun through out a 24 hour period. The position of the sun is plotted according to its true north bearing (Azimuth). The points move into the circle as the elevation above the horizon increases. E.g. If the sun is directly overhead (at the Zennith) it will be in the middle of the circle.

Sunrise and Sunset times along with the Azimuth bearing are shown above the compass.

Details

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The Details page gives times for dusk and dawn, sunset and sunrise. These will vary if you change the selected date or location.

Map

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The Map page allows you to choose the latitude and longitude for the sun calculations. The location button will recenter the view to your current latitude and longitude.

Lines show the sunrise and sunset azimuth angles and are labeled with the applicable event times. The remaining line shows the azimuth for the selected date and time. The control on the left of the page shows the elevation.

Dates

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The Dates page shows the Solstices, Equinoxes, Perihelion (Earth nearest to the sun), and Aphelion (Earth farthest from the Sun) for the currently selected year.

8 comments:

  1. Nokia Lumia 520
    3 out of 4 functions don't work AT ALL with errors like these:
    The Motion API is not supported on this device.
    The compass is not supported on this device.
    Thanks for not listing on your windowsphone.com sales page which phones you support and cheating my money out of me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The http://windowsphone.com/s?appid=a93003ca-fc23-45bc-92df-82adc23d1597 listing has compass and movement and direction sensor listed under the App requires section. The 520 does not have these features so certain parts of the app need to be disabled. The app also has a fully functional trial mode so you can check the performance on your handset prior to purchasing. If you still feel cheated after missing these two opportunities to verify the requirements of the app you could try contacting Microsoft for a refund. I'm unable to refund the 1 USD purchase price directly.

      Delete
  2. Hi,
    great app - just wondering is it possible to enter locations in the map and dates? as an architectural photographer I'm often booked in advance at a location in another city and want to know the sun direction and times for an address in a future time. Is this or will this at some point be possible?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you swipe across to the map page you can use the scroll map button to get the sun position for another location. You need to press the same button again to access the other pages.
      It isn't currently possible to search for locations. Only pan and zoom the map.

      You can alter the date and time using the controls just above the app bar. If you can tap carefully enough of either the date or the time a dedicated picker will appear for the respective value (this can be difficult due to the small size of the values). Note that these options may not be available with the app in trial mode.

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  3. thanks for that Daniel - i knew about the pan and zoom function but was wondering if i was missing something about the search ability.
    I'll try the date change option - do you think you might add search ability in future pro versions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've got an existing task for this: https://bitbucket.org/FishOfPrey/solarcalculator/issue/7/search-for-cities-by-name-to-determine-the

      I'll look at adding a location search feature in a future release.

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  4. Hiya,
    Love the app (slightly better in some ways that Sundroid on Android).
    I don't quite understand the significance of the two circular images at the bottom of the Photography page?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are a rough approximation of where the sun would be in the sky if there were no obstructions. The left is a complete view of the sky. The right is to the horizon. Try holding down the arrow on the date control to watch the values change.

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