Saturday, April 19, 2014

AstroSurvey and AstroShare API

I like to have survey photos (SDSS, etc.) available when star-hopping.  So I made an Android app, AstroSurvey (development version here, with source code here), that shows sky survey imagery, and interfaces with other astronomy apps.

I initially made AstroSurvey to work with SkySafari.  If you view a region of the sky in SkySafari and then launch AstroSurvey for SkySafari, it will show that region in AstroSurvey.  You can also go the other way: browse the sky in AstroSurvey and then view the region in SkySafari (Menu, SkySafari View), though this feature may still be buggy (I've had it corrupt my SkySafari star brightness preferences in testing).

AstroSurvey is also designed to interface with other astronomy apps by supporting what I am calling the AstroShare API, which is an extension of the SkEye ACTION_VIEW API, with an extra "Size" field (Double, in radians) for the size of the field of view.  So you can choose "AstroShare" in AstroSurvey and view the current field of view in any supporting astronomy app (right now SkEye is the only released one), and any supporting astronomy app can launch AstroSurvey.  The next release of the Open Star Map port of Google Sky Map supports AstroShare as well.

AstroSurvey is basically a wrapper around the Android WebView which gets pointed to Aladin Lite (and imposes some patches for touch-screen devices).  That's why the UI is not quite what you'd expect.  I may eventually impose more patches and make a more Androidy UI.