Application Name: AltitudeProfiler
Description: Displays elevation profile graph in one compass direction, graphic display in all directions.
Publisher’s website: AndroidPit
Cost: Free, but with daily data limit; paid version gives you data priority, and supports the program.
Version/date reviewed: v.1.02 / 2-28-11
Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2
Altitude Profiler downloads local elevation data, and plots/displays it in several different ways.
Main screen displays local coordinate data and heading at the top. In the data box are:
- True heading (not magnetic – yay!)
- Magnetic declination at your location (?N)
- The pitch angle and percentage slope (“/”); lay the phone flat on a surface to get its slope.
- The view rotation angle (“R”), showing the twist angle of the phone
- Latitude, longitude and elevation at your current location.
The slider sets the distance over which elevation data will be downloaded and displayed. Default is 6 km, and unless you have a really good reason, you should leave it there, or set it even lower. While the app lets you select a distance up to 200 km, this will involve downloading lots of data, and the app developer is paying for this (not to mention your own data download time and costs).
The 6 buttons in the lower part access various data and function screens.
The first button shows you the elevation profile in the direction you’re facing, for the specified distance. Green vertical lines marked the locations of highest and lowest elevation in the profile.Your current position is plotted in a Google Maps view in the lower half. Move the slider to the right …
… and the map scrolls to the corresponding position. Markers are plotted every 1 km.
The second button brings up a 360-degree graphic representation of slopes in every direction; the display rotates with your heading. Reddish colors are up-slope, while greens are down, and the intensity reflects the steepness of the slope.
The third button brings up this odd display, sort of similar to the previous one in intent. Here, it’s displaying the “difficulty of travel” in every direction; the fastest way to travel is to move in the direction with the minimal amount of yellow overlay (here, W is the easiest path, with SE a close second).
Fourth button brings up an augmented reality view, with an airplane-like HUD overlaying a camera view (which you can’t see due to the limitations of screenshots). Heading, roll and pitch are displayed. IMO, the least successful and useful screen.
Fifth button brings up a Google Maps view, with your current location plotted as the starting point. Scroll the map in any direction …
… and see a line of points plotted from your original location to a new one. Press the middle button at the bottom (the square with the zig-zag in it) …
… and see the elevation profile over that plotted line of points.
If you scroll the map to another point, and press the “select” button at the bottom, the center of the map will be designated as the start of a new elevation profile, and marked in red; just scroll the map again to set the end point. This way, you can find elevation profiles anywhere, not just from your current location. Pressing the “GPS” button will bring up back to your current location.
Final button brings up a panel to turn the GPS on/off (toggle the top button), and set the distance units to miles or km (toggle the bottom button).
Other issues: Lot of mixed comments on the Android Market on this app; some people complain about its interface, while others couldn’t get it to work. I didn’t have any issues with the interface, and it worked fine on my Droid X running Froyo.
Final thoughts: I reviewed an app called Elevation and Sea Depth a while back that offered similar functionality. While AltitudeProfiler doesn’t do sea depths, it offers a better display and more options for terrestrial elevation profiles. Unless you absolutely need the sea depth data, I’d recommend AltitudeProfiler as the superior app.