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Archive for the 'level' Category

Clinometer And Spirit Level For Android

Application Name: spirit level + clinometer free

Description: Bubble level and slope measurement tool

Publisher’s website: plaincode

Cost: Free; paid version with additional features may be coming in the future.

Version/date reviewed: v.1.0  /  5-4-11

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2


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

spirit level + clinometer is an adaptation of an iPhone app, and it definitely looks like it – the graphics are very clean and distinctive.


When the phone is at an angle of less than roughly 55 degree or so, the app defaults to the bubble level mode, displaying both angles of displacement (pitch and yaw).


You can switch the bubble level between colors using the S/C control in the menu, but choices are limited to red/green/blue/grayscale. The “lock” icon at lower left lets you lock a reading; tap it once and wait a second or two for a tone to indicate lock, or just double-tap it to lock the reading immediately. When locked, the icon will change to a yellow padlock – tap it again to unlock the level.


From the menu, you can also change the units to single degree precision, tenths of a degree, or percent slope.


If either phone angle of rotation is greater than about 55 degrees, the display switches over to a clinometer view, showing angle and percent slope on the dial. You can also set the central number to be either degrees or percent as well. The graphics are very clean and readable in this mode, and the vernier scales (on either side of the central number) spin as you rotate the phone, a nice touch even if they don’t actually add any functionality.

In this mode, the arrow icon at lower left rotates the background scale, so that you can set the top number to be 0 degrees / 0 percent slope , or 90 degrees / infinite slope.

Other issues: Biggest drawback is the lack of a calibration/zero setting function; without it, absolutely accuracy is limited. I also wish there was an option to keep the app in bubble level mode permanently

Final thoughts: Looks cool, easy to read the numbers, and generally works well. But until a calibration/zero setting function is added,  you might be better off with one of the other bubble level apps on the market, and the clinometer function in either Ulysse Gizmo, Rocklogger or eGeo Compass.

Map Point Slopes And Directions With Rocklogger

Application Name: Rocklogger

Description: Map slopes and which direction they’re facing.

Publisher’s website: RockGecko

Cost: Free evaluation version limits you to 3 measurements every two minutes; $9.22 fee unlocks this restriction.

Version/date reviewed: v.1.01  /  3-27-11

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2


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

A while back, I reviewed eGeo Compass, an app that maps slope and slope direction. The primary use is for geological mapping, but it could be used by anyone who has similar mapping needs (geomorphologists, archaeologists, gardeners, etc.). I thought eGeo Compass was pretty good, but the demo version was limited in functionality, and the registered version was a bit expensive at $13. Rocklogger offers the same basic functionality, the free version does more, and the registered version is cheaper, but it has some drawbacks as well.


App starts with the barest of screens. Tapping on Start new traverse brings up the option to name the data file, and also associate additional information. Unlike eGeo Compass, the free version of Rocklogger will let you export data in CSV format for use in mapping programs. If you’ve already stored a data file, you can also select it, and append new data points.


In measurement mode, the app will fire up the GPS to get your current position, and then display your current coordinates, along with your choice of three kinds of measured data:

  • Dip angle and direction: The slope in degrees, and the compass direction of that slope (you can choose true or magnetic direction)
  • Dip/strike: Commonly used in geological mapping. Dip is as above, but strike represents the orientation at which a geological strata intersects the ground surface; usually it’s 90 degrees less than the dip direction.
  • Magnetic field mode: Measures and records the magnetic magnitude vectors (XYZ), and the absolute magnitude

When you’re ready to make a measurement, lay the phone on the surface you want to measure, oriented so that the long axis of the phone (up/down) lies along the steepest slope).


Tapping on the Plane Type dropdown brings up a preprogrammed list of geological features you can assign to the point. However, you can add your own types (including non-geological ones), and subtract ones currently on the list, customizing it to your own requirements. The Settings section lets you reset this to the default. The Setttings section also implies that the app can save Rock Type input and let you choose from suggestions, but I couldn’t get that to work, possibly because I’m not using the default Android keyboard.

Pressing the Save incl. sensors button saves your current position and the measured data into the current data file; Save excl. sensors saves only your current position. You can set the app to require a long press to save data, to prevent accidental data recording. The evaluation version limits you to no more than three measurements in two minutes; the registered version allows unlimited measurements within any time frame.



Use the Back button to stop measuring, and bring you back to the startup screen; there now should be a listing for the new data file. Tapping the listing for that file name brings up the option to add more points, delete it, email it (useful for backup in the field, or exporting it to your computer for additional analysis), or open it in a compatible app for viewing/editing.

Other issues: Unlike eGeo, Rocklogger doesn’t currently have the option in either the free or paid version to plot recorded data in a Google Maps view, though the author indicates this is coming. Having latitude/longitude displayed in degree-minute-seconds, without the option to view it in decimal degrees, is annoying; fortunately, positions are saved in decimal degrees in the data file.

The biggest issue for me is that, unlike eGeo,  you have to have the phone aligned so that its long axis lies along the direction of steepest slope, in order to get an accurate measurement. The app really needs to be set up so that it will automatically determine the direction and magnitude of steepest slope automatically, regardless of which way the phone is laid on the surface; that would not only improve accuracy, but speed up measurement time. I’ll monitor the app to see if this is implemented.

Final thoughts: I started out biased towards Rocklogger because its evaluation version allows data recording and export; you need eGeo Compass’s registered version to enable that. I do like the additional recording options, and multiple data inputs, especially the customizable dropdown. And unlike eGeo, you have the option to record the true direction, not just magnetic. But Rocklogger’s requirement that you have the phone oriented along the direction of steepest slope is a dealbreaker for me; it reduces accuracy, and slows down the overall recording time. If this were fixed, I’d give the edge to Rocklogger; but as is, eGeo Compass is currently the better app.

Orientation-Stamped Imagery And More With GeoCam

Application Name: GeoCam (originally Theodolite)

Description: Augmented reality app that shows compass direction, GPS coordinates, orientation on camera view, plus much more.

Publisher’s website: None

Cost: Free ad-supported version; paid version removes ads, adds video recording and KML export.

Version/date reviewed: v.1.63  /  2-22-11

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2

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

Multi-purpose apps can be a mixed blessing; it’s nice to have multiple functions in a single app, but sometimes each individual function is inferior to that in another app dedicated solely to that function. Ulysse Gizmo has been the biggest exception to that issue I’ve reviewed so far, in that all that functions are well-executed. I’d now include GeoCam – it has a lot of functions, some rarely found on other apps, and performs most of them well.


The primary function of GeoCam is to show you the compass direction you’re pointing, GPS coordinates, and phone orientation/tilt, superimposed as an augmented reality (AR) view on the camera display. You can then take a photograph of that view with the additional data superimposed, to have it for your records. When I saw this in an earlier beta version, the one thing I had hoped for was the option to take a picture without all the superimposed data …


… and the app’s author apparently read my mind, because this feature showed up in a later release.


Here’s the view on the camera screen, minus the actual camera input (which doesn’t show up on screen captures). The red square is a guide to getting the phone aligned correctly; when the phone has zero tilt angles, that red box will turn green and align with the green box in the center of the display.

In addition to the information/data displays, there are buttons/sliders to access various controls. The blue magnifying glass at upper left …


… brings up a data screen with position and orientation data. The icon immediately to its right turns on/off adding the AR data to any photos you take The red slash on the icon signifies that no AR data is added to the photo, and tapping on that icon will remove the red slash and put it into the mode that includes orientation data as an overlay on the photo.’

The camera icon at the upper right takes a photo, but you can also use your phone’s hardware camera button as well. Red icon in the lower-left exits the program, though the Back button seems to work as well. The blue “i” brings up a reasonably-comprehensive in-app help screen. The flag/map buttons at lower right? I’ll save those for tomorrow.

The yellow-highlighted arrow at the right brings up a settings/menu screen if you tap on it; you can also bring this screen up by pressing the phone’s Menu button.


There are three settings tabs, Cam (for camera settings), Geo (tomorrow) and Set (which lets you modify the color and font used in the AR orientation overlays). Above is Cam, with the Brightness subsetting selected. You can adjust the photo’s exposure by sliding the numbers at left to highlight the desired over/underexposure with the red line. For my Droid X phone, the view in the camera display always seems to be brighter than the final photo taken, so if I adjust the exposure to be lower, the resulting photos are too dark; YMMV with your phone.


The next camera subsetting lets you modify the picture tints for monochrome, sepia, negative, solarize, and various tints. At least for me, this doesn’t really offer any useful functionality.


The final camera subsetting supposedly lets you select the photo resolution from all the phone’s supported pixel sizes, but on my Droid X, you only get one choice; the author says he’s working on figuring that one out.


In the Set section, you can choose the color of the orientation overlay for best results. Bright sets it to pure white for darker background images, Light (seen above) sets it darker for light images, and Cockpit (seen in the first pictures above) sets it to green. I’ve found that Cockpit is the best all-around choice, as it’s clearly visible under most circumstances.

Other issues: Compass direction is magnetic; I would really hope that the option to set that to true direction is added soon. For now, you have to manually correct for the magnetic declination. And I hope support for all camera photo resolutions will be fixed eventually.

Final thoughts (Part I): If this were all GeoCam did, it would be a must-have app. But it adds some additional AR geographic functionality, plus some measurement capabilities, which I’ll cover tomorrow in Part Two.

Measure Object Lengths With Smart Ruler

Application Name: Smart Ruler

Description: Measure lengths of objects placed on the Android unit’s screen

Publisher’s website: Android Boy

Cost: Free basic version; $0.99 Smart Ruler Pro version adds protractor, level, goniometer; $1.99 Smart Tools version combines apps from pro versions of Smart Measure, Smart Compass and Smart Ruler.

Version/date reviewed: v.1.1.3  /  12-21-10

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2


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


Figure 1: This is a simple app that displays a scale on the screen, measurements increasing left to right; tap or tap/draganywhere on the screen to put a red marker line, and display the distance at that point. You can change units, font sizes and colors from the Settings menu. On my phone, distances were perfectly calibrated, but if you have a problem, you can manually enter a phone calibration distance into the Settings as well.


Figure 2: Place an object flush against the left side, and tap/drag the red marker to the end of the object to measure its length.

Other issues: If you don’t have a screen protector, you run the risk of scratching the screen with the object. Even with tough Gorilla Glass, there are some objects (like rocks) that can scratch a screen.

Final thoughts:

Not much to say; does what it’s supposed to. The entire Smart line is pretty good (I’ve already reviewed a few others), and the $1.99 Smart Tools package, containing all these Smart measuring apps, is a bargain.

An Augmented Reality Laser Level Line

Application Name: Laser Level

Description: Displays a horizontal level line, and optionally a vertical line, as an overlay in the camera view.

Publisher’s website: Black Dot Mobile

Cost: Free

Version/date reviewed: v.1.1  /  12-14-10

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2


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

The Laser Level app displays a red horizontal line in your Android’s camera view, regardless of how the camera is tilted:


Here, the red line is perfectly horizontal; the “1.7” at lower left indicates that the camera is tilted 1.7 degrees from level. Tapping the “box” at lower right will bring up a green line on-screen that shows the camera orientation:


By tilting the camera until the green line lines up with the target object, you can measure the tilt angle of the target. The red line will always represent true horizontal.

In settings, you can adjust the picture transparency so that the lines are better highlighted, and you can also add a true vertical line to the display to make a “cross”:


You can move the red horizontal line or the “cross” to line up exactly with the object in the camera view by tapping and dragging it on-screen.

Other issues: The camera needs to be vertically-oriented for this to be accurate; you can’t tip it up or down. And it can be hard to get things to line up correctly when you’re holding the phone in your hands, as the image may not be steady enough for you to see how level the object is. Bracing yourself against a solid object, or using a tripod, can help with this.

Final thoughts: Bit tricky to use, and not sure how often it will come in necessary. But if you need to level a picture or other object, and don’t have a good level handy, this will do in a pinch.

GPS Essentials : GPS/Orientation Readout And More

Application Name: GPS Essentials

Description: Displays GPS/orientation data, satellites, map; customizable data readout

Publisher’s website: GPS Essentials

Cost: Free; $2.81 donation plugin.

Version/date reviewed: v.1.0.2  /  12-13-10

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2


Android market link
Android Market link (browser)

Like the previously-reviewed GPS Test and GPS Status, GPS Essentials monitors and displays information from both your GPS signal and compass direction.


Figure 1: There are six screens available in this app, plus the settings screen (accessible with the menu button) that lets you set options like units and preferred coordinates.


Figure 2: The Dashboard is the killer function for this app; it displays more information than any other GPS dashboard I’ve seen on any other app. Plus, the items displayed, and their position, is fully configurable. Choose Add from the menu, and select from 30 different data options.


Figure 3: Press and drag on a data item to move it to a new position, or drop it on the trashcan icon at the bottom to delete it.


Figure 4: The compass display is pretty basic. What’s more, even though there’s an option to set either true or magnetic north in Settings, that option isn’t functional – the app always uses magnetic north. You’ll need to correct for your local magnetic declination to get the true direction.


Figure 5: Camera view displays a level horizon line, and the magnetic direction you’re facing at the bottom. Can’t quite figure out the significance (if any) of the central circle.


Figure 6: Map view displays your current location, with a compass indicator at top left showing which direction you’re facing.  You have the standard Google Map layers to choose from (roads, terrain, aerial, hybrid). You can also plot the local addresses of people on your contact lists, or select a contact and have their address plotted. Finally, you can use the Waypoints menu function to add waypoints either by tapping on the map, or selecting your current location.


Figure 7: The Satellites screen gives a standard view of the GPS satellites above the horizon, and how many of them are being used to determine your current position.


Figure 8: Finally, the Waypoints screen gives you a list of saved waypoints. Tapping on one brings up a screen that lets you edit the name or coordinates, geocode it (find the nearest address), change the icon, show it on a map, delete it, or set it as a target to navigate to.  There are also Import/Export buttons available on the Menu button for this screen, but they don’t currently appear to be functional.

Other issues: No problems with crashes or closes.

Final thoughts: The best screen on this app is the dashboard – no other GPS app on Android comes close. For that alone, this app is worth installing. The other screens also offer useful functions, but there are better apps for most of these. The lack of a working option to set true north instead of magnetic north is a big drawback, and I hope a future version will fix that.

Steepest Slope And Its Direction With eGEO Compass

Application Name: eGEO Compass

Description: Geological compass; measures direction and orientation of steepest slope; logs that with GPS coordinate data

Publisher’s website: eGEO Compass

Cost: Free basic version; 10 euro registration adds ability to export data, display it in Google Maps interface

Version/date reviewed: v.1.0.2  /  12-4-10

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2


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

eGEO Compass was mainly designed as an electronic version of a geologist’s transit. Lay it on a flat surface, and it will measure the angle and direction of the steepest slope; with a GPS fix, it will also display the coordinates. This makes it useful for mapping the angle and direction of geological strata, but that slope/direction data might also be useful to geomorphologists, archaeologists, solar panel installers, and others.


Figure 1: Start up the app, and it will prompt you for a name to save measurements under. All measured points are saved in the same data list, but can be differentiated by entering different names here. You’ll then get the display at left, that shows the direction of the steepest slope first, followed by the angle the slope dips down from horizontal (you might have to tap/shake the phone a bit to get the measurement to register correctly). Up at top are the current location from GPS, latitude/longitude. Tap on the Save button to log this data. (long-click for overturned) is mainly of use to geologists, for indicating a strata that has been flipped over by geologic/tectonic forces.

One nice thing is that it will measure the steepest slope regardless of how the phone lies on the surface. In other words, you can just the lay the phone flat down on the surface without worrying about the direction it’s pointed in.


Figure 2: To see saved data points, go to the starting screen, and go to Menu => Show Data Table. The list will only show the slope measurements, along with the date/time they were taken. Tap on a measurement …


Figure 3: … and you’ll see the full data, including GPS position. You can also add a note to that measurement point.


Figure 4: From the startup page, there’s also a Menu => Registration option that brings up this screen. This implies that registration is free, and apparently for while it was. The author now requires a 10 euro fee (about $13) to register the app; visit his Donations page to find out how to do this.


Figure 5: Registration lets you export the data table in CSV format, as well as plotting the data in a Google Maps interface.

Other issues: The app gives the slope angle relative to horizontal, which is zero for flat and 90 degrees for vertical. For some applications, it would be nice to have the slope normal to horizontal, i.e. 90 degrees for flat and 0 degrees for vertical. You can figure that out easily enough by subtracting the measured angle from 90 degrees, but a direct readout would be more convenient. Some geologists plot the angle of geological data using “strike” which is 90 degrees west of the measured slope angle; again, easy to calculate, but the option to display that number directly would be useful. Finally, the direction is given in magnetic, not true, so you’ll have to correct for your local magnetic declination.

Final thoughts:

Does what it says it will; not useful for everyone, but very useful for a few. Biggest issue I have with the app is the price; $13 for an app with this limited functionality seems a little steep, if you’ll pardon the pun. The author’s own map of registered copies indicates that only about 7 copies have been registered to date at that price. But if you plan to create multiple datasets out in the field, and need to export them to a spreadsheet/GIS friendly format like CSV, it might be worth it.

Measure Slopes With How Steep

Application Name: How Steep

Description: Simple slope angle/percentage measuring app.

Publisher’s website: smallbouldering

Cost: Free (ad-supported); $0.79 paid version removes ads

Version/date reviewed: v.2.5  /  11-4-10

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2


Android market link
Android Market link (browser)


Figure 1: In its basic mode, How Steep just measures the maximum slope in your choice of degrees or percent (45 degrees = 100%, 90 degrees = infinite percent). You also have the option of red text for night-time viewing. Lay the phone down on the surface you want to measure, or orient the phone as parallel to the surface as you can. Tap the screen to lock the measurement, tap again to unlock it.

You can also set the background and comment type for a number of specific activity types and settings; the comments for some seem more technically grounded than others (i.e. the mountain bike comments don’t sound very official, while the ice climbing ones do) (Figure 2):

Mountain biking
Water ice
Scottish ice

Other issues: No crashes or force-closes.

Final thoughts: Easy to use, nice big output number display. Limited utility for most people, I would think, but if you need it, it’s there.

On The Levels I: Bubble Battle

Most of the apps reviewed on this website are geographically-related, but I’ll occasionally do reviews of apps designed to record non-geographic attributes; after all, the website’s byline does say “Recording” in it :). Some of the most common types of measurement apps in the Android Market are the ones designed to measure the orientation of objects, e.g. levels, inclinometers, protractors, etc.. Today, I’ll be looking at two of the most popular bubble level apps, both of which are called “Bubble”. Future reviews will cover lots more of these, hence the “I” in the title.

Application Name: Bubble

Description: Bubble level for measuring phone orientation

Publisher’s website: KTK.BZ

Cost: Free

Version/date reviewed: v. 1.8.2  /  10-24-10

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2


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

This is perhaps the most popular bubble level app on the market; it claims over two million downloads, and based on the number of comments I believe it. In appearance, it’s one of the more realistic, “life-like” bubble levels.


Figure 1: Here’s the display with my Droid X laying “flat” on a surface. Unlike most other Android phones, the Droid X can’t lay fully flat since it has a “hump” on the back that holds the camera. Fortunately, like most level apps, Bubble can let you calibrate your unit to compensate for this, as well as compensate for inaccuracies in your unit’s orientation sensor


Figure 2: Here, I’ve stood my phone on end (in portrait orientation), and Bubble automatically switches the level type to a horizontal one; tipping the phone into a landscape orientation (long end on the ground) would create a similar display rotated 90 degrees from the one at left. I also set the background to black, and added a pitch indicator.Tapping on the screen “locks” the angle measurement, tapping again unlocks it.

You also have the app speak the angle, and also set an alarm notifier (buzz, beep or light) to indicate when it’s level.

Other Issues:

Biggest issue I have with this app is that it automatically switches the level type as you tilt the phone. For example, if I have the phone in portrait orientation, and tilt it more than 60 degrees, it automatically switches the level display into landscape orientation. So, I can’t measure inclination angles of more than 60 degrees. The option to “lock” the level mode would be a useful addition. And while the display is realistic, I think I’d actually prefer a non-realistic bubble with more clearly-defined edges. Finally, I wish it would display the first decimal place; the orientation sensor is capable of that kind of accuracy.

Final thoughts:

Good app, but the lack of mode locking and reduced degree display accuracy are definite minuses.

Application Name: Bubble (level)

Description: Bubble level for measuring phone orientation

Publisher’s website: AndroGames

Cost: Free

Version/date reviewed: v. 1.6.0  /  10-17-10

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2


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

This second Bubble app is generically similar to the first, but does have some significant differences, good and bad.


Figure 3: Compared with the first Bubble app, this one displays the angle to one decimal degree of accuracy, a definite plus. The bubble doesn’t look as realistic, but I actually find it easier to view, and the crosshairs also give a better feeling for how far off you are from vertica


Figure 4: Tilting the phone in portrait or landscape mode can automatically switch from the round bubble level mode used in flat orientations to the linear mode seen at left. But the app’s Preferences section lets you turn on a “locking” option that freezes the mode, keeping it from changing when you tilt the unit more than 60 degrees. So, by tapping on the “Locked” section at top, I can turn the unit more than 60 degrees without having it flip to a different mode; now, I can measure angles of more than 60 degrees.


Figure 5: You can calibrate the unit to adjust for an uneven phone; preferences lets you set display options, and also set the “viscosity” of the fluid so that the bubble moves more quickly (low viscosity) or slowly (high viscosity). There’s also a sound alarm option to indicate when you’re level.

Biggest problem with this app is the inability to “freeze” a measurement with a simple screen tap, as you can with the other bubble app. Pressing the “menu” button to bring up the “Calibrate” and “Preferences” options will freeze the measurement, but in two out of the three modes this will partially obscure the angle measurements.

Other Issues:

None; worked fine without crashes.

Final thoughts:

This second Bubble app is mostly superior to the first one, but the lack of a measurement “hold” capability is a huge minus. You can sort of live with using the “menu” button as a “hold” button, but that’s an imperfect fix. Hopefully, this drawback will be fixed in a future version.

Ulysse Gizmo: Android MultiSensor App

Application Name: Ulysse Gizmo

Description: Multiple sensor data output, including GPS and compass.

Publisher’s website: Binary Toys

Cost: Free

Version/date reviewed: v.1.6  /  12-7-10

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2

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

One thing you’ll immediately notice about Ulysse Gizmo is the “fit and finish”; in terms of visual presentation, it’s one of the more outstanding Android apps of its kind I’ve seen, at least in its default “visual style”. It displays GPS, magnetic and orientation data in four different displays; each one has excellent context-sensitive help.


Figure 1: The magnetic field sensor shows field strength, and the theoretical/actual magnetic strength/direction, along with the local magnetic declination (deviation of magnetic north from true north). More of a science toy than anything else, though I suppose you could use it to detect abnormal magnetic fields.

The icons at the edges represent the other sensor displays, and show actual active data readings. If I tap on the one at lower-left


Figure 2: … a nice bubble level shows up, with pitch/roll/slope orientation data displayed; I wish it also had a readout of the total slope angle along the orientation, but that’s a minor quibble. A quick tap zeroes out the level, while a longer one resets the zero level completely. The bubble level is the default view; if you tip the unit on one of its edges, say a long edge, and do a long press on the level …


Figure 3: It turns into an inclinometer, displaying total angle of rotation, and % slope.


Figure 4: GPS mode displays a sky map of satellite positions, with coordinate data in the box at upper right. Latitude/longitude in DMS is the default option, but you can switch to decimal degrees, UTM or MGRS in the setting section. If you tap on the coordinate box, it will cycle through the coordinate view, a geocoded address readout where available, and …


Figure 5: … a GPS satellite/signal info box. It’s on the small side but packs a lot of readable data into that small space. Here, I’ve changed the visual style from the default to the alternative “Mil-tech” as a comparison to the default style seen above. I personally much prefer the default style, but this alternate might be more readable for some people. There are also day/night color options for both visual styles available from the Menu.


Figure 6: Finally, compass mode. This has been vastly improved from earlier versions, which didn’t include a permanent “Heading” readout. Red needle always points towards true north, blue towards magnetic north; the numbers at top represent the counter-clockwise deviation from north, not the actual heading, which is a bit confusing. But the true heading (and orientation) are always visible in the center. Tapping once on the compass sets the current heading as a direction bearing, aiding in navigating in a constant direction; a long press resets that bearing.

The original version of this review before publication noted that there was a setting for waypoints, but it hadn’t been implemented. Just a few hours before scheduled publication, that changed …

Figure 7: From the menu on the compass page, choose the “Waypoint” option, and you’ll get a local map. A long press on the map at any location will place a waypoint there, and you’ll see info about the waypoint (bearing, distance, coordinates) at the top

Figure 8: Tap and drag on a waypoint lets you relocate it, and brings up a magnified view of the area under the waypoint – a nice touch, since your finger will block that part of the map as you’re moving the waypoint.

Figure 9: Returning to the compass page, the info box now includes data on the waypoint. There’s also now a small white circle on the edge of the compass ring, which shows the bearing direction towards that waypoint. You can remove the waypoint from an option in the waypoint menu, and also “link the bearing” to the waypoint; that will make the bearing display inside the compass correspond to the bearing to the waypoint.

Other Issues:

None – worked fine.

Final thoughts:

Ulysse Gizmo is a  visually-appealing app that shows off the Android sensors nicely. I prefer other apps for GPS status and coordinate data, and I don’t really see any need on my part for a magnetic field sensor. But the orientation app, especially the inclinometer option, is really nice, and the compass’s ability to let you set a bearing is useful. The author was very responsive to suggestions and bugs, and is working on adding additional features. Recommended.