One issue I ran into on my drive from Alaska to Arkansas, was that I consistently overestimated how late the sun would stay up. Particularly in Alaska, the Yukon Territory and British Columbia, I didn’t want to drive at night due to the prevalence of large animals on the roadways. Although my computer was packed up, I used both my Playbook and my iPod during the drive- and I wished I had a daylight map similar to what gets produced by this java(?) app from the Naval Observatory. (Although, I wanted a local app that would update in near real time and did not care about historical or future daylight maps). Apps that do this exist for iOS, but I didn’t want to input my iTunes password while on hotel WiFi. I looked for an app in the BlackBerry AppWorld also, but didn’t see one.
Since arriving in Arkansas, I’ve had plenty of time on my hands during the weekends (it’s been way too hot to head into the great outdoors). Getting a daylight map generator hasn’t been a priority, so I never downloaded one of the apps from iTunes. In any case, this was an application more suited to a tablet than my iPod. So I spent about 46 hours over the past two weekends writing an app for the playbook.
The app assigns a lat/long to each pixel, and then for each pixel calculates the sun’s altitude relative to the horizon in degrees. Then it darkens the pixels where the sun is below a user selectable altitude (e.g Sunset = 0 deg, Civil twilight = -6 deg, etc). Scaled-down development screenshot below:
This was a relatively straight forward project, and I’m generally happy with it. I titled it Graphical Daylight. Thinking I’d release it to the wild as a free app, after code signing, I started the process of uploading it to RIM for approval and inclusion into the AppWorld.
At which point, while choosing a category for my app, I found out that Livingstone Services had released ‘Daylight’ on April 26,2011 which does more or less the same thing. (After looking at theirs, mine is a bit more feature rich.) This timeframe suggests that theirs was an app written to get a free Playbook when RIM was running their developer promotion prior to the release, I haven’t found a website for a developer called Livingstone Services. I’m releasing mine anyway (well, assuming it goes through QA I am). And I’m putting mine in ‘Utilities->Clocks’ where it belongs, instead of ‘Maps and Navigation->Maps and Navigation’ (where, to be honest, it also belongs). Grrr… 46 hours wasted…
I’ll put a note up here after the Graphical Daylight passes QA and is available in the AppWorld. It’s now available free on the BlackBerry AppWorld.