Application Name: Dig The Planet
Description: Shows where you’d come out on the Earth if you started digging a hole in the direction you’re pointing your phone.
Publisher’s website: Eagle Keeper Programming
Cost: Free ad-supported version; $1.36 paid ad-free version
Version/date reviewed: v. 0.2RC1 / 12-19-10
Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2
Not too long ago, I reviewed the AntipodalPoint app for Android, which locates the spot on the Earth exactly opposite your current location, or another location of your choice. The Dig The Planet app is a similar idea, but more general: point your phone down in any direction, not just straight down, and find out where you’d come out if you dug a tunnel in that direction until you came out the other side.
Figure 1: Point your phone down in any direction, and the app shows the tilt and heading of your phone, as well as the geographical coordinates where you will emerge. If you point the phone up, the app will flip the direction around 180 degrees so that it is actually going down. The section at top is part of the “game” aspect of the app, where you score “stars” by coming out near the location of a number of world cities. Once you’re pointing in the desired location, press the “Dig Here! button …
Figure 2: … and get the location where you’d come out if you dug a tunnel at your chosen tilt and heading angles displayed on a static map (not scrollable or zoomable; no choice of map type). If there are any Panoramio photos geotagged near the location you come out, they will show up in a slide viewer below the map
Other issues: Yeah, I’ve got a few quibbles with the app:
- Be prepared to turn down the media volume on your phone; the app plays a really annoying background jingle in a continuous loop
- Pointing towards the location of a city to score points is virtually impossible at the default accuracy settings. The help file implies that there’s a way to adjust that accuracy setting to be more forgiving, but damned if I could find the settings section.
- On my Droid X, the GPS remains turned on even after you exit the app; the only way to shut it off permanently is to reboot the phone by turning it off and on, or by uninstalling the app. And having the GPS on can drain the battery very quickly. Toggling the GPS off will disable it momentarily, but it will spring back on again if you re-enable GPS.
Final thoughts: Great idea, and can be a fun learning tool and Android demo app, especially for kids. But it needs to fix the GPS “always on” problem, there needs to be a settings section to adjust the accuracy settings for the “game”, and most of all it needs an option to turn off the really annoying background music.