Application Name: HeyWhatsThat
Description: Mobile-enhanced web app that shows the horizon line at your location, and identifies peaks
Publisher’s website: HeyWhatsThat
Version/date reviewed: NA; 2-27-11
Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2
Main website (for desktop PCs)This isn’t technically an Android app, as it will also work on the iPhone (for those behind the curve), but the HeyWhatsThat website has a mobile version that will show you the horizon line from your current location, with named peaks identified. Go to the mobile website address (m.heywt.com):
If you haven’t gotten a GPS fix recently, tap on “Update my location”, and it will fire up your GPS to get your current coordinates. Then tap on “Show me the view from here” …
The app will show you the coordinates it’s using for the calculation, and the nearest reverse-geocoded address. While the app says it may take up to 2 minutes to generate the horizon view, I’ve usually gotten the results in about 30 seconds or less …
The site comes up in Panorama view, with peaks identified on the horizon view with red triangles. Tapping on the single arrow buttons moves the line cursor from one peak to the next, with the name/bearing/distance/altitude given for each one. Tapping on the double arrow scrolls the panorama view to the next part of the horizon. Panorama locations are saved by the website, so that you can pull them up again instantly with the “A View I’ve Requested Before” option from the main screen. By default, it’s saved with the address as the label, but you can rename it to whatever you want using the Rename function at the bottom; you can also remove a saved location there as well.
Tapping on the List tab brings up a list of all the peak summits visible in your area; the app takes into account blockage by terrain, but not vegetation, buildings or atmospheric conditions. Tap on a peak in the list, and you’ll be returned to the panorama view with that peak selected.
The Details tab brings up information about your current position, and the panorama view. In the view above, the vertical relief is significantly exaggerated (7.7x) so that you can identify peaks more clearly. Unfortunately, the site gives magnetic bearings instead of true bearings, but it also conveniently gives you the magnetic declination here, so that you can manually correct for it. The link for a web view is nice, but it’s not an active link, so you can’t select it, or copy/paste it for notes,
How does this compare with Peak.AR, another app for identifying peaks on the horizon? Peak.AR is certainly more interactive and visually striking; you get peaks superimposed on a camera view, and the view changes as you rotate the camera. However, it identifies all peaks in a specific direction, and doesn’t calculate which ones are and aren’t visible from your location. And, as I’ve posted about, the older version of Peak.AR (which I vastly prefer) has been superseded by a newer version which I’m not crazy about. I use to use Peak.AR primarily, but even with its limitations, I find HeyWhatsThat makes it easier to figure out which peak I’m looking at.
The author of HeyWhatsThat has indicated that he’s working on an Android-specific app that will take advantage of the built-in compass, and change the view depending on which direction you’re looking in. There’s a test/sample version of the app available in .apk format here; it shows only sample views from a few specific locations, but the views change as you rotate the camera. If you download the test app, choose a location using the “Surprise me” option, then tap on the “Off” text in the view to turn on the compass.