Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Preparing for my dive trip in November - A review of Dive Locator.

So it's coming closer now. My dive trip with Lorenz and Marc to South Africa.

With our vacation to Hurghada, Egypt, now being a mere memory (more on this in a future post), I'm looking forward to what the near future has in store. Apart from a trip to Cairo tomorrow and some days with my wife to celebrate our anniversary, the big trip will be November 19th to South Africa. And I've decided that I want a new camera and a new watch.

New Gear
The camera will probably be a Canon Powershot G10 as I read great reviews on it and it's affordable. The watch is probably going to be a Suunto X10, which sports a GPS (which is useless underwater, but great to track my travels). Since I already have a Suunto Vyper2 as dive computer I'm all set. Although I'm tempted to get me the new Vyper AIR, which integrated the air pressure into the dive computer. Maybe next trip as I'm already overspending a bit... But that's only good for the economy, isn't it.

New Apps
On a slightly different node, I've been looking into applications to track my dive log and stumbled upon a few that also have some sort of counterpart on my Touch. I bought Dive Log from moremobilesoftware as it integrates, supposedly, nice with a log application for Windows that can read from my Suunto.

Dive Locator
While browsing in the Apple AppStore I stumbled upon Dive Locator, an application that lists dive sites around the world, which currently is limited to 4 regions (Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, USA and Western Carribean, but nothing in the Red Sea or Asia). Although there are 900 sites according to the documentation, it doesn't feel that much. But there are means to update the database by email and through the web. Adding new locations in the application itself is not possible, so you need one way or another internet access.
The tool is very simple, which is excellent by the way, as its purpose is simple: List a multitude of dive sites and provide relevant information on your selected site. That information by the way is very limited, any thing else than a simple address and longitude and latitude coordinates. Something I'm missing is information regarding the site itself. Is there a wreck, at what depth, how long is the transfer to the site when it is in open sea. Is the site a regular for live-aboard trips etc. And very important, what kind of dive can you do at that location and what is there to see, like special marine life.
It doesn't tell you that. On the other hand, there is an interface with Google Maps, so you can see the site and its surroundings on GoogleMaps, but the sites in its vicinity are not shown. Which is unfortunate because in most cases I know where I've been, but don't know the name. Or I know where I want to go, but don't know the name. Also very handy is the possibility to show current weather conditions.
Considering the price this is an application that you should consider. It works well, has interesting and handy information regarding geographic location (Google Maps) and weather conditions, but insufficient information regarding the dive site itself. I'm looking for updated information on the sites, and hopefully there will be a way to add these additional information as well in a future release.
Find iPhone apps at AppStoreHQ