There are few things I’m truly passionate about. My first passion was magic tricks. I actually got so into it that I pursued it semi-professionally for several years. It goes without saying that I’m very into technology and new media. But there's always been a special place in my heart for skiing. I’ve been cruising the slopes since I was two years old… I guess what I love most about the sport is the sense of absolute freedom it procures.
If any of you are also mountain aficionados (skiing, hiking, climbing or whatever crazy stuff you get up to up there), you may be familiar with the following scenario: you’re taking in the beautiful scenery, but you have no idea what any of the peaks are called. I went hiking in the Alps recently and I couldn’t tell which peak belonged to the Italian Alps or even which one was Mont Blanc.
I don’t tend to travel with panorama maps (I prefer to travel as lightly as possible, especially when trudging up mountains), and hence my thirst for informed mountain savviness is rarely quenched. Could PeakFinder Alps change all that? The app’s ambition is to provide users with a comprehensive panorama map of most European mountain ranges.
If you’re an avid skier, hiker or simply a mountain enthusiast you might want to keep reading…
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Features & Use
Name those peaks!
PeakFinder Alps is a super useful app, regardless of whether you’re keen to know the names of the all peaks surrounding you or if you need help with orientation. Your surroundings will be displayed as a panorama which you can then scroll through (it spins on its own axis).
The names of the peaks are listed and a map helps you match the real mountains to the owns displayed on the screen.
Choose your location: your actual location or a fantasy location—it’s your choice!
Choose a location in order to see the panorama:
- Your real location (hit the button on the bottom left)
- Select any location
Choosing a position can be done in two ways:
When you touch the screen crosshairs and two red dots which mark the peaks appear. When a red dot intersects with the crosshairs information regarding the peak is displayed (more detail below), and a button shaped like a little traffic lights figure appears. Click on this little guy and you can jump to the next mountain top.
There’s also a binoculars function (top left of the screen), via which you can access a menu that lists all the peaks, as well as the ones in your vicinity. You can then select whichever position you like.
Information about the peaks—is geo data all we need?
PeakFinder displays several facts related to each peak at the bottom of the screen:
- Peak name
- Mountain height via N.N.
- Distance from current location or chosen location
- Exact location positioning incl. degrees
Honestly, that isn’t enough information for my liking. The app isn’t only geared towards tourist who might be content to know the name of a mountain top—it’s also geared towards alpine athletes who will want (and need) more information, e.g. information regarding the weather or mountain shelters, etc.
Details on all European Alpine peaks
PeakFinder Alps—well, the app's name is a giveaway for what you can expect from this application. Peaks from the following countries are displayed: Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein and Slovenia.
Brand new locations: new versions of PeakFinder have just been released for western Canada, western USA and eastern USA. Awesome!
No extra roaming costs when you’re traveling abroad thanks to comprehensive maps
PeakFinder Alps loads all its maps and related materials to the SD card after you install it. The app’s graphics are pared down to the minimum, and as a result the entire app isn’t larger than 35 MB.
Once the maps and other data have been saved to your device you won’t need to connect to the internet to access them. Not only does this mean that you won’t have extra roaming costs, but you also won’t have to worry about slow or non-existent internet connection when you’re standing at the top of Mont Blanc.
PeakFinder Alps is a wonderful app for anyone looking to get an overview of the Alps. That said, I would like to see more information about the individual mountains, although I realise that this would be contingent on a stable internet connection, meaning the app couldn’t function offline any longer (could Cache be an option?)
Screen & Controls
The panorama graphics have been reduced to the bare essentials, which is a very good thing. It means that the app doesn’t exceed 35 MB and maps load at the speed of light.
PeakFinder Alps's UI is well thought-out and easy to use. Controls are very intuitive.
A panorama can be scrolled through manually or you can switch to the compass function. The panorama will then automatically adapt to the direction in which you’re holding you’re phone.
Speed & Stability
As mentioned above, PeakFinder Alps performs really well. Its speed is remarkable and it didn’t crash once.
PeakFinder Alps usually costs EUR3,97 and can be purchased from the Android Market or the AndroidPIT App Center. It is available at 40% off from our App Center this week only. If you're a mountain enthusiast this app is really worth looking into.