UPDATE: Also available for the ANDROID

Very surreal, this is the next generation satellite finder: Point your iPhone anywhere towards the sky and see all the satellites lined up, on the live video screen! At a glance, you’ll see where the satellite is and whether any trees or buildings are blocking the line of sight. Think of multi-lnb dishes and now you know where to place your dish best. Doing a site survey and setting up a dish is going to be a piece of cake with this app. This is a truly useful augmented reality app for the professional and diy enthusiast alike.

The app uses the gps, accelerometer, and the compass of the new iPhone 3GS. Just move the phone up and down and left and right and the satellite arc will follow the live video on the display. The compass has a bit of a lag though, so when doing quick sideways movements the satellite arc is trying to catch up but then settles to the correct position.

Expect this app to be released with the iPhone OS 3.1 update. In the meantime check out the other DishPointer apps.

118 Responses to “Augmented Reality App – the Next Generation Satellite Finder”
  1. David C says:

    That’s awesome. Any chance you can port it to Android??

  2. Alex F says:

    Yes I might even pay for this app if it was on Android

  3. luke says:
  4. Alan says:

    Yep, will be ported to Android soon.

  5. Bob says:

    Will this also work with the ipod touch

  6. Alan says:

    Not with the current iPod Touch. It needs a camera to begin with.

  7. Teemet says:

    Awesome. That’s what I need even though I am a simple phone user.

  8. Scott Greczkowski says:

    Hey Alan, make sure to check your private message box at SatelliteGuys. :)

    As far as the iPhone Touch goes, the new iPod Touch that will be announced on September 9th will have a camera, however I do not know if it will have a compass.

    This looks like an amazing application!

  9. Adrian says:

    Looks great!
    Is it possible to use it on a IPhone 3G without S? I know the 3G has no compass inside but when I move a bit it should recognize my direction.

  10. Bill Holden says:

    This looks like the killer app that could make Alan a very rich man, I am looking forward to trying it. My birthday is in September if anyone is feeling generous.

  11. ttalex says:

    Alain,

    This application is a revolutionary breakthrough! Bravo!!!

  12. SEAN LAMBERT says:

    That is truly a fantastic app. I could use this on a daily basis in my line of work (Aerial and satellite engineer.) Im coming up for a phone upgrade very soon, my question is. When is this app being released and where do i get it from???

    I wonder if one could be made for other things like looking for a petrol station.just turn your phone around until the petrol station logo comes up possibly showing distance. could be food, shops, places. fantastic..

  13. mick says:

    Please Please Please can we have it for the Android

  14. Said says:

    Very usefull application, this is magic, WHEN is that available on the App Store?

  15. dan says:

    straight sick man, this is very usefull unlike other app’s

  16. abdulraman ahmed says:

    i need sitefinder pls

  17. trish says:

    You have to be on the 3G network to use this app, yes? Meaning you have to be “online” for the app to access the database of satellites?

  18. Alan says:

    Trish: No, you don’t need to. If you would like to know more, please contact me.

  19. BaseEight says:

    Wow, amazing, makes me wish I had an iphone. It would be worth getting one if I pointed dishes for a living or something, or if I did it allot if I had an rv or something. I wonderhow accurate it is once you let it settle, it would be interesting to play with it.

  20. Croe says:

    Wow Alan, this look like an amazing app,
    Will there be a release for other smart phones like the HTC?

  21. Keeper says:

    3.0.1 is here!! where is the App? I need it, this will save me so much time!!!!

  22. MrMarek says:

    would it be available for palm pre?

  23. titot4u says:

    Will this app be availble for the Blackberry Storm? I would be first in line to purchase this app for the if it were available for the storm.

  24. Dee Ann says:

    Will this work on an older 1st gen iphone?
    Please tell me it will!
    I already bought the LOS app and it’s very neat but this would be just too awesome!

    I can’t afford a new 3GS iphone, I’m not on ATT, I unlocked it for use on another cell company.
    The phone was given to me as a gift,
    Please tell me it will work on 1st gen iphones ?????

    Thank you!

  25. syncmaster says:

    It’s amazing software but is there any chance it will work on symbian platform?
    I have Samsung i8910 which is way superior then iphone and I’d love to use it with this software.

    Thank You.

  26. Jeremy says:

    Alan, EXCELLENT app. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing “will this work for x?” but I could really use this for my Palm Centro…. Is it possible?

  27. Edward says:

    saludos: favor de postear mas informacion : como para cuando podria estar disponible , para que modelos funcionara , bajo que provedores , costo del equipo ,ect.
    La verda que si hace lo que promete soy de los primeros en comprar uno , es exellente !!

  28. Ugur Akgoz says:

    That’s it!
    I will link to this page, so people has the info of this cool app. ;-)

  29. Alan says:

    The app is not available yet but will come soon.

    Looks like I need to buy a few more cell phones. It will be available on the Android and Palm phones next.

  30. Edi Jarju says:

    This is great. But will this work in africa and other parts of the world.

  31. Chuck says:

    Would love to see this on the Blackberry’s also. Great app.

  32. Alan says:

    It will work world wide, Africa, Alaska, you name it.

  33. Baz says:

    ‘mon then buddy – when is it being released?

  34. Alfred says:

    This is the answer to my prayers for the last 10 years or so. With this device I’ll for the first time in my life know exactly which trees to target in my garden. Thank you so much for this miracle device. :)

  35. Alan says:

    There are rumours that the OS 3.1 is being released either on the 09th or the 17th September. The app will come out shortly after that.

  36. Kevin says:

    How about the 3G? I hope it works better than the LOS.

  37. Kevin says:

    Can’t you make a device that does the samething this app does without the IPhone? I figure out how to use the LOS, sorry about the miss understanding.

  38. Chad says:

    WOW. This is exactly what I need for our lake cabin Dish Network install in North Idaho. We have no cell service up there, but this will still work in an OFFLINE mode, correct? I am assuming that this will be stored in a database on the 3GS? Also, have you worked out a price yet?

  39. Alan says:

    It’s going to work on the 3G and in Offline mode (but will need your location information).

  40. Chad says:

    That’s great. As long as it works offline as I’m sure there are a lot of rural area’s that people would like Sat service. Thanks!

  41. Sepp says:

    DAMM, this is nice.. why not port it to symbian.. i have an nokia 5800, and this is just the app im missing :D

  42. Edward says:

    Saludos Alan : ya estamos a 09 sept. asi que me imagino que mas o menos para el 17 de sept. ya tendras mas inf. actualizada . para saber para cuando estara disponible y su costo. ademas para que otros equipos funcionara .

  43. tom says:

    Any chance of it coming out on blackberry storm,…..cold be a very kewl app

  44. Carlos says:

    Please tell when this awsome invent start working. It will be helpfull for me

  45. reg says:

    I have the instink phone will this app work with it…

  46. Kdude says:

    please we need this as an app on Blackberry. It’s a must have

  47. James says:

    Very nice! Would love to see this on Windows mobile as im an HTC TOuch Pro 2 user!

  48. clipskip says:

    Howdy, OS 3.1 is out!! When is the App due?

  49. Роман says:

    Вот это вещь!!!!! Когда ждать это чудо?

  50. jflima says:

    Gostaria de adquerir um fider. Como faço?

  51. Neil says:

    Alan will this be available for the HTC Touch HD?

  52. danny says:

    va a ver que comprar un aparatito de esos para no complicarnos la vida

  53. danny says:

    el precio lo mas importante

  54. Bart Cennamo says:

    This has to be released for the Blackberry Storm…any chance of that happening..if so any idea when?

  55. RK says:

    Im another guy requesting this software for the Storm.

  56. Casey h says:

    Any kind of an etA? are we waitiNg for apple aPproval? Will it have the 111.1 for wildblue? Can’t wait to try this and would be happy to help beta test if you need help!

    I’m gonna use everyday. Well at least 6 days a week!

  57. Skyway says:

    It looks like it came out today…now to try it out to see how accurate it is?

    Thanks DishPointer….

  58. Alan says:

    IT’s OUT NOW!

    iTunes very slow, some people might to wait till iTunes cleared the cache for all their servers around the world.

    It comes as a free upgrade to the the DP LoS and DP Compass apps, so if you bought these already, just do an update of the apps. iTunes still shows the old logo and screenshots as I can’t upload anything to iTunes because it’s so slow, but it’s the new app!

    Any issues, please let me know here – will see what I can do. Working already on the next release, lot’s of new features to come.

    @Blackberry users: Yes, there are plans to port the app just need to buy a Blackberry first. Any recommendations? Need to have GPS, motion sensor and camera.

  59. graham says:

    hi , i have a lg renoir will this be available for it, thanks

  60. jim says:

    the blackberry storm has GPS, motion sensor and camera.

  61. Sotr says:

    Great it WORKS!
    on my 2G iPhone_!
    although I gotta check the line of the satellite cause of NO GPS in my iPhone_
    Guess this is only available on the 3G and 3GS?!

    Is the system recognizing when I`m in the 3rd floor of a building or is it cheking the LOS from Ground level?
    cheers
    Sotr

  62. Sean says:

    will this be available for a nokia 5800, if so when??

  63. Mark D says:

    When willor if this app be available for Pocket PC (Mobile6) ?

  64. steve says:

    used the app the other day fantastic

  65. Alan says:

    Brilliant, thanks Steve.

  66. Nicky says:

    Buggy, but an ok first try. Should have priced it lower for the features. Major lag when pointing, and the satellites are often shown 15-20 degrees off of where they actually are. (Tried it at my current location where I am getting all three directv satellites, and according to it, one of the satellites should be blocked.) Hopefully I can get a refund from apple, and something better will come out. A demo version would be a good idea so we could avoid going through the hassle of a refund.

  67. Alan says:

    Nicky:

    No, it’s not buggy, it’s how a compass works. First a compass always has a lag, even a manual compass. You move the iPhone, the displays shows the camera preview in real time but the compass first needs to get the magnetic field and then tell the app which locaction you are facing. And after that the app superimposes the satellite positions on the display. There is no way around a lag. You need to move the iPhone slowly or stop and wait at intervals for the compass to catch up.

    The compass is prone to magnetic interferences. If you stand too close to the dish or other electrical devices, your compass will be off and therefore the satellite positions. Same as with a manual compass. Nothing to do with the app itself. But the app has features built in to give you confidence in the direction you are holding the device: You can lock the compass before lifting the iPhone as the compass works better when iPhone is held flat. You can enter a manual compass bearing if you have a manual compass which works better than the internal compass. You can enter an existing satellite position if you’re checking your existing installation as you did above.

  68. Nicky says:

    Went out again to double check and try what you suggested. Locked the compass like you said, but it still indicated trees in front of one of the satellites I’m receiving. I suppose it could be the angle I’m holding the iphone that’s not being calculated properly. Either way though, if you’re in such a tight tree’d situation where an app like this would be useful, and the app is only accurate to 10-20 degrees, its not really going to be helpful. If you’re in an area that hardly has any trees except a couple in the general direction of the satellites, this might help, as long as you keep in mind that you need to give it a lot more leeway then seems to be indicated.

  69. roger says:

    When will this app be available for an itouch.

  70. jack says:

    Cool, can’t wait to use this app.

  71. Alan says:

    Roger: The iTouch does not have a camera.

  72. Alan says:

    Nicky: The iPhone is not a high-precision tool, so you would always leave a bit leeway but more in the order of 0.5 to 1 degrees. To gain a bit more confidence, could you please go to the settings page, select Horizontal reference mode and then satellite position and enter the satellite position which is directly over the lnb arm. Then go your dish, point the iPhone in the direction of the lnb arm and lift it. Now all satellites should appear in the correct position. The vertical angle at which you’re holding the iPhone shouldn’t matter as long as the satellites are visible on the display. But the direction is important and hold the iPhone in portrait mode please. If it’s still wrong, please report here.

  73. Alan says:

    The method above eliminates the internal compass which is very sensitive to magnetic interferences but obviously you want to use the internal compass. I suggest you play a bit with the internal compass app, maybe in connection with a manual compass so that you know its limitations, under which circumstances it works ok or not, etc. I did hear that some iPhone compasses are a bit off, maybe they didn’t shield it enough or the people reporting it where using it next to their computers, I have no idea. I’d suggest anyone interested in buying this app should check the compass app that it works ok. The app heavily relies on the compass readings coming from the iPhone. Alternatively, you could enter manual compass bearings, it’s not as much as fun, a bit slower but it would still get the job done – which is the prime aim.

  74. Mike says:

    Allen,

    I really like being able to add satellites, however, it would be nice be able to edit existing satellite data. That would make it more personalized. At least I can add the same satellite location with additional text and just select the appropriate duplicate, but that is not very elegant.

    Great application! I really appreciate it!

  75. Mike says:

    Alan,

    I just found the delete button on the Satellite List page. I’m getting old and have tired eyes – I also looked closer at your name and got it right this time .

    Mike

  76. koray says:

    really cool… any chance there will be a Maemo port?

  77. Skyway says:

    I had a chance to play with a app a few times so far and have not found it to be very accurate…

    My location is 49N and 122W and I normally use a Suunto Tandem for site checks…I understand the possible inaccuracy of the compass and can live with that (same applies with any compass), but the elevation from my area seems to be out by about 5 degrees which is quite a bit…the Suunto for an example shows sat 111 as about 5 degrees higher than the app shows it….although there have been times when I suspect the Suunto might be out of possition as well…

    I want to do some testing during sun transit to get an accurate bench mark….in about 2 weeks…

    I have one dish at my place that had to be moved to a position where it just gets over some trees, and the app shows it as lower and completely blocked…

  78. Alan says:

    Skyway: Thanks for the feedback. That the elevation is out can have two reasons:

    1. The motion sensor is not delivering accurate results to the app.
    2. I don’t know the manufacturing tolerances but it could be that the camera has not not been placed dead on into the iPhone, i.e even you hold the iPhone level, the camera still points up a bit.

    The good news is that both can be calibrated. I could put a box in the next update where you can put in the offset elevation and that would solve the problem. The only trouble is that it might be difficult to determine the actual offset value, especially for point 2. If you have any suggestion how this could be done, please let us know. The sun transit is probably a good idea to see the offset, all I would need to do is to display the current iPhone angle, the sun angle at the current day and a sun target which needs to be aligned. Using the moon would be may be even better as to avoid looking into the sun…

  79. Skyway says:

    Yes, if point 2 is the cause them adding a box in the app to calibrate the elevation offset would be a great asset…but I would assume that if point 2 is the cause them we would need to calibrate compass heading as well, since the camera could be missaligned in left right up or down directions..

    I don’t think it is the motion sensor, since the results seem to be consistent…,.

    Thanks Alan…

  80. Harry says:

    Hi Alan,

    Two questions: When will it be ported to Android,please?

    Can you explain on your website how the apps works with an Iphone 3G, as it not has a Compass?

    How much will the apps cost on Itunes? I could not locate the Apps there yet.

    Harry

  81. Sean says:

    I’m still a bit surprised by the lag compared to other AR apps. Check out Wikitude (free) and StarWalk (paid) for a comparison. Those two apps are much faster at positioning.

    Also, the DishPointer app (I have the “Pro” version, if that matters) does not handle holding the iPhone at any position except exact vertical. The GEO arc doesn’t position properly if the phone is not level, which may be part of the problem with accuracy some users are reporting. StarWalk also suffers from this problem, but Wikitude handles roll quite well.

    That is actually the next feature I would like to see on DishPointer: landscape mode support (with seamless transitions between modes). For users who are in far North or South latitudes, this would be much more important. A info panel on the side could show the current az/el of the display (definitely add crosshairs/reticle in the main view). The display should also support zooming in to particular satellites by clicking, with a separate info screen showing the accurate pointing details (az/el/sk).

    Overall, it’s a cool tool that could become a lot more useful to professionals (who bought the Pro version) with a few tweaks.

  82. Alan says:

    Sean: Thanks for the suggestions. The landscape mode will come with the next update. I will look into the compass lag again

  83. Gina Keith says:

    We are located in Alaska. We are using the ‘Blackberry’ cell phones. Will this program work on the Blackberry? Where do we purchase the Augmented Reality program? Purchase price?

    Thank you

  84. Michael Condon says:

    The dish we use has a built in 18 degree offset, so that if the dish is pointed parallel to the ground (0 degrees), it is actually electrically pointed at 18 degrees. Is there a way to incorporate the offset into your app?

    Thanks

  85. Alan says:

    Michael: I understand the dish offset but not sure why it should be incorporated into the app. I mean, the app shows you where the satellite is, independent of the dish you use.

  86. Haruna I.M. says:

    WOW! This is a welcome development. How do i get it? I’m in Abuja, Nigeria.

  87. Alex says:

    Great work Alan. Implement those calibration concepts in the next version, and you’ll get one step closer to a world class application (at least, for this niche market). Also, it seems as though your app. could benefit from some wider beta testing prior to it’s official release. I don’t know how you’d implement it, but it might save you face when bugs arise due to otherwise unforeseen technical hurdles (e.g. camera and compass calibration). Then again, it might be overkill: the technicians who are using this app. SHOULD appreciate it enough (in concept) to assist as pseudo beta testers during these early days of it’s release.

    I’m buying an Iphone just for this application, as soon as I can afford it. Though, if it comes out as advertised for the Palm Pre before I can afford the Iphone, I’ll go with the Palm.

  88. Alex says:

    Doh. I guess it’s never coming out for the Palm Pre: NO COMPASS in the Palm Pre. iPhone here I come.

  89. Alan says:

    Alex, that’s right – no compass on the Palm, and neither on any Blackberries.

  90. Sean Lowry says:

    This better be made for the Blackberry (the phone of the professional).

  91. Alex says:

    Sean, you’d best start petitioning Blackberry engineers to include a compass in their next model. No compass on any blackberries means NO DISHPOINTER on any blackberries.

    I’ve been doing some research into the accuracy of the compasses installed in these phones… It would be nice for the DishPointer augmented reality to include a circle around each orbital location that shows the + and – error for say… 3 to 5 degrees. Or even multiple circles that would show different degrees of error.

  92. Jim says:

    If the palm pre does not have a compass how does the app vcrumbs work? i want this app!! but i just signed with sprint for 2 years lol

  93. Riz says:

    I’m also buying an Iphone just for this application. But again i am a Installer.

  94. Alex says:

    Jim: The vCrumbs app uses the GPS in the Palm Pre. GPS does of a method of PERCEIVING which direction you are facing, but only when you move. As soon as you stop, there is no way of telling which way you are facing with GPS. It’s extremely difficult for a technician to move when he’s trying to figure out where to mount a dish. Sometimes it’s literally impossible: Many many dishes are mounted when the technician is standing on a ladder up high. In these situations, he’d have no way of knowing which direction to face the dish with merely GPS (Palm Pre). He would NEED a compass. So does the DishPointer App. (Well, just the augmented reality Dishpointer App.)

  95. Alan says:

    That’s right, thanks Alex.

  96. Bo says:

    Seems like just the app that I am in need of for my next home project – setting up a sat dish. I really hope this will be availible for Android soon :-)

  97. ramon says:

    hey how soon can i get this?

  98. افشین says:

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  99. J Parker says:

    Does ‘Dish Pointer LOS 2.0′ or “Pro” work with an LG CU515 iphone?

  100. J Anderson says:

    will it be added to the new Droid from Verzion apps soon, or can you just get it from i-toons apps and transfer it to the Droid? I have to have this for work it would make my job 10,000 times easer!

  101. anthony says:

    saludos: favor de postear mas informacion : como para cuando podria estar disponible , para que modelos funcionara , bajo que provedores , costo del equipo ,ect.
    La verda que si hace lo que promete soy de los primeros en comprar uno , es exellente !!
    me interesa soy de
    santa maria -catamarca-argentina

  102. Nizam says:

    can you give price for Augmented Reality App – the Next Generation Satellite Finder & where can i get it if i in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.

  103. Frank says:

    Coolest app I’ve ever seen, well done!

  104. andrew says:

    I’d be willing to do some beta testing for the android release…I just got a droid and I install dish network every day. I use a suunto tandem normally so i’d be willing to report back on the accuracy with the droid. Can’t wait to try this app!

  105. Jeremiah says:

    First off, amazing work Alan. Also, I find it very applaudable that you’re in here answering questions and taking sometimes unfair criticism very well.

    I’m sure many people would love an approximate ETA on when we might see this available for Android. We don’t have any good Android-based phones available in Canada yet, but when we do I will be all over this. I’m even considering getting and iPhone so I don’t have to wait.

    Thanks for doing a great job, hats off to you.

  106. Jim D. says:

    J Anderson:

    iTunes Apps are for the iPhone. You cannot use a iPhone app on and Android. Dishpointer will have to port the app to Android for it to work.

  107. Jeremiah says:

    wow, thanks. you’re a real rocket surgeon. we’d all be lost without you, jim.

  108. Alan says:

    The ANDROID app has been published now. Look for DishPointer on the market.

  109. terry says:

    i’m in the market for a new phone. which phone on the the market could i buy too add this app hassle free? thanks, terry

  110. Mitchell says:

    Alan,

    Dishpointer.com on my laptop was amazing. Dishpointer on my droid is incredible! Thanks!

  111. Aleksey says:

    Hi !
    What buy Augmented Reality App – the Next Generation Satellite Finder?

  112. Mark says:

    This is a great app, downloaded it for my Android (G1) this morning, used it at work today and it works a treat. Well done Alan, it’s apps like this that really makes the phone in my pocket the greatest tool I’ll ever have……..and not that Simpsons soundboard app I’ve downloaded….doh!

  113. leo says:

    will this app work on a blackberry storm

  114. Ivor says:

    First Happy new year to all

    Second…this seems so wonderful, wish I had this, might tell me why I cant get hotbird (13E) during summer, but have no money for an iPhone..its so expensive here in the UK
    sigh….

  115. John says:

    I need step by step instructions on how to use this app. The video is not informative. How do you activate the camera when holding it up the camera to the sky? I can’t get to the screen shown on this page which shows degrees and a center screen target? The birds move with the phone in motion and do not correct to their true positions even after holding still for some time? Help appreciated. John

  116. Alan says:

    John: What phone are you using and what’ the name of the app?

  117. John says:

    I am using DP AR Pro and a I phone. I down loaded the app last night. Thanks for responding. John

  118. ivan says:

    does it work on the iphone 3g as well as on the 3gs???