Review: SkyView Free
By Dave Owen, Feb 2018
Summary: When it works, it's a good simple-to-use skymap. However many people (including this reviewer) report problems with alignment that render the app useless. It's free so you've got nothing to lose by giving it a try.
- Website: www.terminaleleven.com/skyview/iphone
- Apple Store: itunes.apple.com/app/id404990064
- Google Play: play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.t11.skyviewfree
- Sky map with object identification, additional information & photos
- Satellite tracking
- Night mode (red interface)
SkyView Free is a simple skymap app that identifies objects in the night sky. This is the free version of SkyView — the trade-off is the free version has in-app ads that can be quite intrusive.
The app's main feature is augmented reality (AR). Using your device's camera, SkyView Free overlays images and names of stars, planets and other celestial bodies. It's a great idea and for those who can get it to work it's probably very nice. Unfortunately I'm not one of those people — the sky map doesn't line up at all with what's in the sky and I can't seem to be able to calibrate it. Reviews from other users indicate that this is a common problem.
At this point I'd normally disable the camera and GPS mode so I can use it as a manual guide, scrolling around with my thumb (in fact that's how I tend to use skymap apps anyway). Sadly, although you can disable the camera and AR, there doesn't seem to be any way to disable GPS tracking and enable manual scrolling. This seems like a very strange omission because if the AR fails, there is no fallback and the app is useless.
On the plus side the graphics are nice, additional information about objects is good quality and easy to access, and the overall feel of the app is user-friendly. Other than the AR it doesn't have any killer features but it does have a few very nice touches that I'll let you find for yourself.
It is free and worth a try.