UPDATE: This app has been superseded by the DishPointer AR apps – they are much better and easier to use. You can directly see where the satellites are.

Check out any line of sight issues with this iPhone App. Just point your iPhone at the sky, tilt it until you get the right angle and then switch on the the camera preview. If there is a clear sky right at the center of the screen, you’re good to go. Simple but very effective.

DishPointer Line of Sight Screenshot

DishPointer Line of Sight Screenshot

This is how to use it:

  • Once you know if in which direction to point the dish (see the DishPointer Maps or DishPointer Compass iPhone apps), hold your iphone up with the camera facing the sky. The angle at which you’re holding it is displayed on the screen. In addition, the two satellite positions which have this elevation at your location is given.
  • After you’ve found the right angle, hold the iPhone still and tap the camera button and focus at the center of the screen. In the camera preview, if there are no obstacles at the center of the screen, there are no line of sight issues. If there is a tree or a building, you will need to find another location for your dish.
  • If you wish, you can then take a picture and a target cross is overlayed at the center to verify clear line of sight to the satellite.

You can get this and other DishPointer iPhone apps from the App Store.

19 Responses to “DishPointer LOS (iPhone App)”
  1. Mark Fahey says:

    Hey great concept and tool! I take it the inbuilt database of satellites does not include the Asia-Pacific region as the app always say I am either too low or too high for a satellite at my location. But the fact I can see the angle reading means I will find this tool useful.

    I hope you are working on another app that will use the inbuilt compass, GPS and angle meter to simply allow us to point the iPhone into the air and sight the path to the satellite – that would be unreal! My iphone is a 3G – but if you released an all-in-one app as I described I would update my phone to a 3GS!

  2. Alan says:

    Hey Mark, update already submitted to Apple, should work then. And yes, major development going on….

  3. Andrew says:

    Is there anything like this available for the G1 google phone running the android platform? I don’t have an iPhone.

  4. Janus says:

    ‘In addition, the two satellite positions which have this elevation at your location is given. ‘

    Could you explain above statement. I have bought the app and when pointing the phone at Echostar 7
    241 azimuth it shows me something like (W140/W130) under the angle display

  5. Edi Jarju says:

    I would like to purchase the app. but would like to know if tit will function in africa and other parts of the world’. Please let me know

  6. Alan says:

    Edi, yes, world wide.

    This app measures the angle you are holding the iPhone and calculates which satellites would match that angle at your given location. There are going to be always two satellites (except at down south) because all satellites are aligned along an arc. So, in your case 140W and 130W, have the same elevation, which tells us that your latitude is 135W.

  7. Richard says:


    Two questions:

    1. Will this app work on the new iPod Touches to be released on 9 September?
    2. Will it accurately point to satellites near/at the horizon?
    Example: I’m near 35 North, 120 West looking at Intelsats 1R and 8, will the app show me the positions in the sky?

    If yes to both questions, looks like I’ll be purchasing the new iPod Touch and your app.

    Thank you.

  8. Alan says:

    Richard: Need to see the specs of the new iPods and about accuracy, if the compass doesn’t go funny it’s good.

  9. Kevin says:

    This doesn’t function like the picture on my Iphone 3G, picture and angle are shown separate. Either bad app or it has a bug in the software for IPhone’s. No red crossbar just regular camera picture frame with angle. Doesn’t help when switching back and forth to find location of satellite.

  10. Kevin says:

    Went poking around the web and found a better understanding on how the app works. Here is a suggest for upgrade for the people for the 3G IPhone, make it so the camera can zoom in and intergrate the angle finder with the camera it will help to get accurate picture.
    The live red crossbar after photoshot will work. After the picture is taken it can always be saved as a picture in a file in the photo section.

    Thank you for developing this app’s to make it easier to find the satellite’s. I find it hard here in Alaska to find them. I have a meter to fine tune it but finding them is hard. I’m still trying to find 119 don’t know if it is a obstacletion problem (just amateur). Cost to much to have someone install them here. Again thank you for your hard work while so it is easier for us to find the satellites.

  11. hussain says:

    there is no same application ( satellite app ) for nokia n97

    i need it really i need it

  12. Rodrigo says:

    I´ve bought the app but there is a messenger ” To low for any satellite” in everywhere…???
    Why does it happens?

  13. Alan says:

    Rodrigo, this has been fixed with the new update which just got released on the iTunes store. It should be available for you to download in the next few hours.

    Hussain, no, not at the moment.

  14. Robert says:

    Hi Alan can the aplication be used on i pod nano 8gig?

  15. Lawrie says:

    I bought this from apple store and it either I am being silly or it is useless..

  16. Alan says:

    Robert: No, not with the old as it doesn’t have a camera or the new one as it doesn’t have an accelerometer.

    Lawrie: I’d say neither. Just remember it’s for checking line of sight to the satellite.

    Look at following sceneria:

    1. Installer arrives at site, finds clear open field towards south. => app not needed.

    2. New site, again open field towards south but one tree there. Let’s see if tree could be a problem (not even knowing at this time if the satellite is behind the tree). Pull out iPhone, start app, point it at tree, slowly lift the iphone til it gives the name of the satellite or nearby satellite, freeze and hit camera button. Now look carefully at the centre of the screen, if the tree is below the center => tree not a problem, dish can be installed anywhere.

    3. New site, lots of trees, client won’t believe satellite is not possible. Pull out app, lift it, show the client why he can’t get the satellite unless he trims the trees.

    4. New site, you know the direction. App shows the tree is in the way. You move 10 feet to the right, now you got clear line of sight.

    These are some sceneria, hope you get the idea….

  17. Sean says:

    is this app available on the nokia 5800??

  18. Tony says:

    What a fantastic idea keep it up

  19. bob says:

    does the iphone need to be actavated for it to work ??
    i have no use for the phone part but sure can use the dishpointer app!

    will it work on the ipd touch ?