Apple took us by surprise last night, by featuring TPE on the App Store. If you’re in the US, you’ll see it featured at the top of the Photo Video category. Which is nice! :)
We had a request from Apple for promotional artwork late last week. The deadline on the request was 15 Feb, so we guessed the possibility to be featured would be for next week (the App Store is refreshed every Thursday). Being diligent (and somewhat excited at the prospect), we submitted the artwork early, and – lo and behold – there we were featured as of last night.
As a result, we decided to pull forward the planned release date of a major update to TPE on iOS – version 3.
You can watch the preview video to get a sense of what’s included, but I’m sure you’ll quickly see that the UI has been completely overhauled:
With this release, we’ve modernized the user interface to match that of our free desktop web app, providing a consistent cross-platform user experience that we hope will make it faster and easier than ever for photographers to get the most out of these planning tools.
Previously, the iPhone and iPad versions of the app each had different UI designs. We’re happy to have been able to implement a consistent design across all devices with the 3.0 release and one that provides a flexible and extensible platform on which to continue to add new functionality in the future.
We’ve improved access to commonly used functionality within the app. For example, tap the displayed date to change it or select from a list of key events, such as the phases of the moon.
Location search and saved locations are now unified so you can search your saved locations list and the web simultaneously to find places of interest quickly and easily.
The best map type for a shot varies by location and shot type. Photographers working in a city may well prefer standard maps or satellite imagery. Landscape photographers shooting in the mountains will probably prefer Terrain or topographic maps. With TPE 3.0, the ideal map type – including two offline map options – is only a tap away, directly accessible on the map itself, rather than buried in the app settings.
The new UI can be configured to display the information that matters most to the user: the events timeline can be set to display up to seven different sets of data, or it can be hidden altogether to maximise the visible map area.
TPE 3.0 includes significant new features, including line of sight analysis, a much-expanded Visual Search capability, and numerous ways to share data with others.
Line of Sight Analysis
The geodetics function in 3.0 has been enhanced to include elevation and altitude profiles, and line of sight analysis. Line of sight analysis enables the photographer to determine visibility between any two points on the map, enabling the virtual scouting of shooting locations and subject positions.
Building heights can be specified, along with adjustments to the measured elevation, making it easy to determine an accurate angle of view to the top of a major landmark, or to see the effect of shooting from on top of a building.
The sun and moon are overlaid on the elevation and altitude profiles, making it simple to visualise when they will be visible above mountains, ridgelines or buildings.
Previously, Visual Search allowed the user to position the grey map pin and find the next or previous date when the sun or moon would rise in that direction.
With 3.0, Visual Search has been significantly expanded and now allows you to:
- Find rise or set for sun or moon
- Search by azimuth and altitude to find when the sun or moon will appear at a specific position in the sky
- Specify required moon illumination, e.g. crescent, full, or an arbitrary illumination percentage range
- Specify if moon should be waxing or waning
- Find only results that occur during specific sun altitude conditions, e.g. a rising full moon during civil twilight
- Set the search tolerance (in degrees)
- Fine tune disc alignment: adjust search to bottom, centre or top of the sun or moon’s disc
- Search priority: set whether azimuth or altitude alignment is most important for your shot
Coupled with line of sight analysis, visual search can display dates when the sun or moon will appear above a landmark with a single tap.
TPE now includes numerous ways to share a shot plan, including:
- Email and Messages
- Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Flickr, Flipboard and more
- Save image, Copy, Print
- Email Detailed Shot Plan
- Add to Calendar
When sharing a shot plan a custom URL is created that links to the free desktop web app, so that users who don’t own TPE for iOS can use it.
Additional New Features
Additional Sun and Moon Information
TPE 3.0 now optionally displays sun and moon transit times and an indication of so-called ‘golden hour’ (defined in TPE as when the sun is between the horizon and +6°).
Additionally, an intuitive indication of relative or absolute shadow length is displayed on the map. The ’6° shadow circle’ shows when the sun are moon are below +6° above the horizon, corresponding to so called ‘golden hour’ or when the moon is hanging low in the sky and can be photographed against city skylines, for example.
Integration with The Photographer's Transit (iPad)
On iPad, TPE now integrates with its sister-app The Photographer's Transit allowing the user to move a shot plan from one app to the other with a single tap. A configurable setting is provided to manage how the map pins correlate between the two apps.
We hope you like the new version and we’d love to hear your feedback. You can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Having sprung the new release early, we’re a little behind on updating all the tutorials for the new version. It’s going to be a busy weekend.