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Directional Elevation And Sea Depth Profiles For Android

Application Name: Elevation and Sea Depth

Description: Shows the elevation profile (or sea depth) in the direction you’re facing.

Publisher’s website: Binary Solutions

Cost: Free (ad-supported)

Version/date reviewed: v.1.2.3  /  10-31-10

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2


Android Market link (mobile app only)
Android Market link (browser)

The Elevation and Sea Depth app displays the elevation profile for 5 km ahead of you, or the sea depth if you’re at see. It specifies a 100m resolution for the elevation data, so I assume it’s using SRTM-90 data from NASA, which is fairly high quality; not sure about the source of its sea depth data. Since it queries a web database, you’ll need to have an Internet connection active to access the web data.

To use the app, you’ll need to lay your phone flat on a surface, and wait for it to get a good GPS position fix for your current location. It also only works in landscape mode (Figure 1):


Profile is plotted with your location at the left, out to 5000 meters (5 km) at right. Also displayed are your current GPS location (left); your GPS elevation (which can be off substantially) and your elevation from web data; and the current orientation of your phone and speed. The angular resolution for elevation profiles is 15 degrees, so while the phone is pointed at the 328-degree orientation, the elevation profile is given for the 330-degree orientation. Turn the phone to another orientation, and the display updates quickly with the new orientation and elevation profile (Figure 2):


Other Issues: Program worked fine; no crashes or force-close. I wish they would specify the exact data source, especially for the sea depth data. Elevation profiles seemed to reflect reality, though my neighborhood is so hilly that it’s tough to say that with 100% certainty.

Final thoughts: Seems to work as advertised. Didn’t have a chance to test the sea depth feature, and I’d be leery of using it for marine navigation purposes. But for hiking/biking, it has a permanent spot on my Android unit; it’s very useful to know what to expect in elevation changes in front of you. Recommended.

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