Apps for Sailors: Spyglass

Traditionally, sailors have used a hand-bearing compass or rangefinder binoculars to take bearings on a mark, check the angle of an approaching boat to avoid a collision, determine their distance offshore, and monitor their anchor position.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Traditionally, sailors have used a hand-bearing compass or rangefinder binoculars to take bearings on a mark, check the angle of an approaching boat to avoid a collision, determine their distance offshore, and monitor their anchor position. Spyglass, from Happymagenta, Ltd., combines the best features of a hand-bearing compass and rangefinder binoculars with digital zoom, map overlays, date and time, GPS position, elevation angle and astronomical data.

When held flat, Spyglass shows a compass rose displayed over a satellite, hybrid or terrain map from Google, Apple, Open Street, Open Cycle or USGS. The traditional compass rose is shown, along with the range finder, elevation angle and other information. When held vertically, the compass is overlaid on live camera view with up to 32x zoom capability.

Along with the compass, Spyglass shows the GPS position, date and time, azimuth and magnetic declination, vertical speed, and altitude. Within the compass rose are shown the bearing arrow, elevation, selected bearing(s), and a small rangefinder (based on the average person’s height) that allows you to quickly measure distance. Along the bottom are buttons for the camera, range/distance calculators, zoom in/out, tracking destinations, settings and help.

What sets Spyglass apart is the degree to which you can customize the on-screen display. In addition to the map or augmented reality views, there are several display settings performed by various swipe actions on the screen. Swiping horizontally changes the color of the compass rose and text items. Swiping vertically adds a colored background filter over the display. Swiping diagonally changes the style of the compass rose. Personalizing these settings is very helpful when using the compass in bright sunlight or low light conditions.

Setting target destinations allows you to manage and track one or more bearings, which are set based on a map location, your current location (for your return) or your current bearing. The bearing is displayed on the screen for easy reference. As your direction changes, the bearing display moves within the compass rose to indicate which way to turn. When sailing, this is useful for sailing a fixed course or tracking the bearing angle of an approaching ship. Destinations can be saved, edited, deleted or shared.

The ability to calculate the distance to an object (e.g., a lighthouse) based on its height is a useful coastal navigation skill. Spyglass supports this beautifully and calculates distance based on the measured angle. Another feature that will interest mariners is that the location of celestial objects, including the Sun, Moon, Polaris and a built-in catalog of the brightest stars, is displayed. This is useful when planning celestial navigation sights and helps locate these objects in the sky.

Spyglass is the most full-featured compass app available. I give it 5 stars for its full set of features and implemented functionality. s

Name: Spyglass, Happymagenta, Ltd. (happymagenta.com)

Available on: iTunes App Store

Price: $3.99

Score: (5 out of 5 stars)

Related

Shelly-forward-last-day

Charter Advice for First-Timers

Never chartered? No worries. A vacation under sail can be the most memorable time of your life. That said, it also pays to be prepared by doing some reading, building your skills and listening to what the experts say. First and foremost, not all charter grounds are created ...read more

HugoBoss

Video: Vendeé Update

Last week Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) led the fleet across the equator. As one of the class' top sailors who's been on the Vendeé Podium twice, it seemed possible that Thomson was going to grab an early lead and hold on to it all the way around the world. But early on Saturday, he ...read more

AdobeStock_229409051

Chartering Again for the First Time

It’s been a rocky road of late for the charter industry, especially here in the Western Hemisphere. First came hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean followed by Dorian in the Bahamas. There has also, of course, been the coronavirus, which burst into global prominence ...read more

01 LEAD cedaryachtclub_onedesign18_hike

An Interview with Ayme Sinclair

In recent months, US Sailing, like many organizations, has been taking a closer look at diversity to ensure it’s doing the best job it can of introducing people from all backgrounds and ethnicities to the sport. As part of this effort, this past summer it organized an online ...read more

125768940_10222759720523627_5373654001582879638_n

US Sailing Presents Adaptive Sailing Panel

On Tuesday, November 24, US Sailing’s Leadership Forum will present the latest panel discussion in their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion series. This event will focus on adaptive sailing and provide practical recommendations for organizations looking to expand their adaptive ...read more

02-IMG_5971

A Carbon Neutral Circumnav with Jimmy Cornell

Historic anniversaries have always held a special fascination for me, especially if they mark a significant nautical achievement. In 1992, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ would-be voyage to India, I organized a transatlantic rally that followed the historic route of the ...read more

DJI_0068

SAIL Podcast: Jimmy Cornell’s Carbon-free Circumnav

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with bestselling author and pioneering bluewater sailor Jimmy Cornell, who set out November 19 on yet another circumnavigation aboard a newly designed, carbon-neutral Outremer 4Zero catamaran. The voyage, which ...read more

emirates-600x

Emirates Team New Zealand Splashes the last of the AC75s

Emirates Team New Zealand unveiled its second-generation AC75 yesterday, joining the other three America's Cup teams with boats in the water. In just over 100 days, this boat will attempt to defend the Cup for the Kiwis, but there's plenty of racing between now and then, with ...read more