External GPS devices and iOS 6

I received a number of inquires from CloudAhoy users asking whether there would be any impact on CloudAhoy after upgrading to Apple’s iOS 6.

The answer: it depends on whether you are using an external GPS device or not.  If you use an external GPS I would advise against upgrading to iOS 6.  There seems to be a bug in Apple iOS 6  related to communication with external GPS devices.

I have tested CloudAhoy running under iOS 6 with these external GPS devices: GNS 5870 MFI, Dual 150, Garmin GLO and Garmin GDL-39.  I have used iPad and iPhone devices.  With every one of these devices there have been cases in which the flights were only partially captured.  The symptom is that after tapping the Start button with an external GPS, CloudAhoy displays a green GPS light indicating a good GPS signal, but sometimes the accuracy deteriorated in flight, e.g., displaying a yellow light, and the data is not captured.

If you are using iOS 6 with CloudAhoy and with an external GPS device, the following workaround seems to work, but I don’t have enough statistics to tell whether it always does.

Before a flight:
– Close all the apps
– Settings –> General –> Reset –> Reset Location & Privacy
– Make sure the external GPS is connected via bluetooth.
– Start CloudAhoy.  Tap “Start”.   Then tap OK to “CloudAhoy would like to use your current location”.

If you are using your iPhone or iPad’s internal GPS, CloudAhoy will work equally well in iOS 6 as it did in iOS 5. Specifically, CloudAhoy is not affected by Apple’s new Maps program – it still uses the same mapping technology it used in iOS 5.
________
10/17/2012 addition:
The workaround above does not always work.  Other aviation software vendors have published their own workarounds (e.g., ForeFlight, WingX), but it’s my understanding that these workarounds are not fail safe either.  As I have indicated in one of the comments, I am now flying without an external GPS, and waiting for Apple to fix this.

CloudAhoy app 2.2 was released yesterday

This release includes:

o  support for iOS6 and iPhone 5,

o   support for two new external GPS devices from Garmin: the GLO and the GDL-39,

o   A fix of a communication problem.

Interesting inside story about the GDL-39: after returning from Oshkosh I have asked Garmin to send me a unit for evaluation, to benefit the users of both companies.  A Garmin rep replied with a an official “No”.  Meanwhile several users wrote to me about GDL-39 support, and I had to reply that it’s not coming any time soon because I don’t have access to the $800 unit.  As it turned out, Garmin started receiving calls and emails from these users.  Richard Yerian, a CloudAhoy user (name used with his permission) contacted a Garmin sales manager whom he knows, and a week later I received the GDL-39.  Thank you Richard and other CloudAhoy users for your help in making CloudAhoy better!

CloudAhoy app 2.1: fixes a bug affecting iPad 1

Immediately after app 2.0 was released, I started receiving reports that CloudAhoy does not recognize the internal GPS in iPad 1.  Wayne Smith (name used with permission) was the first to report it.

The bug was fixed the next day and uploaded for Apple’s review.  Today Apple approved the fix, and it’s now in the app store.

CloudAhoy 2.0 Released!

Version 2.0 of CloudAhoy is a major release.  It includes native support for iPad, and supports retina displays.

The iPad version includes two new tabs: Debrief and CFI.

I will post more information in the coming days.

I received a lot of super valuable feedback from the beta testers.  People who I never met volunteered their time to tell me about bugs, missing features, usability and aesthetics.  The app would not have been what it is without this help.  Thank you very much, dear beta testers!

Off to AirVenture 2012 this Tuesday

In two days I’ll be doing a pilgrimage  to Oshkosh.  From Tuesday 7/24 through Saturday.

I’ll be there as a flight enthusiast, not as an exhibitor.  But I would love to meet face-to-face with anyone interested.  Contact me via CloudAhoy’s email, or call  781-269-1138.

Looking forward!

Chuck

Facebook “Like” is operational again

Recently the Facebook “Like” button in the Flight Sharing dialog box stopped popping the comment box.

It’s fixed now.  You can share your flights, fully annotated, on your Facebook wall.  Plus you can  send them to specific Facebook friends.

the Share dialog box

The 2.0 Beta Report

As planned,  the beta testing of  CloudAhoy app version 2.0 had started on June  5th. There are over 20 testers right now, and most are rather active.  The majority own an iPhone and an iPad, and run the app on both.  I have received tons of good advice and problem reports. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, DEAR TESTERS ! ! !

At this point most of the planned features have been implemented. They include: a universal app with native iPad support; In-app debriefing (2D) of the recent flights, and a special CFI tab.

The app is mostly done, but there are still some odds and ends that need addressing.

I can almost hear you asking: hey, that’s great, but what about 3D briefing on the iPad?
The answer:  iPad-based 3D will be available as well. Initially more limited than what’s currently available on Windows or Macs, but hopefully the gap will be narrowed over time.

I expect the CloudAhoy 2.0 app to be in Apple’s app store towards the end of this month or in early August.  Again, many thanks for all the excellent feedback!

A Call for Beta Testers – App Version 2.0

I am looking for volunteers to beta-test CloudeAhoy 2.0 on iPhone and/or iPad.

CloudAhoy 2.0 is a significantly improved app. It works natively on iPads, and the iPad version includes several interesting additions. I am looking for feedback on the user interface, shake any bugs, and perhaps most important, any unsolicited feedback from you.

I plan to start beta testing in about a week. If you would volunteer, it would be fabulous.

To participate:

  • Get the Unique Device ID (UDID) of your iPhone and/or iPad devices. I found clear instructions on getting the UDID from iTunes here.
  • Email these UDIDs to me, or to support@CloudAhoy.com

And Thanks!

App version 1.9

The symptoms: sometimes Auto Stop is not triggered at the end of a given flight, and/or the next flight gets concatenated to the previous.

The first CloudAhoy user to report the flight concatenation bug was Abram Dancy, back in March 2012 (the name is used with his permission).  Abram’s bug reports, and other users’ reports, resulted in app version 1.8. But it turned out that another fix was needed. Hence app version 1.9, in the iTunes store as of today. Thanks to every user who reported a problem!

Taking Off from American Display

Frank Yellin, a CloudAhoy user, sent yesterday an email with a problem report.   He landed on KRDD runway 16, and CloudAhoy identified it correctly.  On his next flight he departed from the very same runway, but that time CloudAhoy identified the airport he departed from as 2CL4, nicknamed American Display, and could not figure out a runway.  What gives?

In the FAA airport database each airport is represented by one point, typically at around the center of the runways.   Turns out that about 2500’ from the approach end of runway 16, outside of the airport, there’s a heliport called American Display.  When Frank landed, the touchdown point was closer to KRDD, but when he later took off, the rotation point was closer to 2CL4.  CloudAhoy got confused.  In other words, a bug.

I added an entry to CloudAhoy’s bug database, and planned to investigate it at a later day.  Then an hour later another CloudAhoy user, Luke Hayes, sent an email with a similar problem but in a different airport (BTW, both users permitted their names to appear in this post).  I figured that my initial assessment, that it’s a rare case, is probably wrong.  And so I fixed the bug.

If you had a similar problem in a past flight, debrief it  again. This will fix the airport name, and will identify the runway too.

I was curious what is American Display.  I could not find information about the company, but Googling I found two private heliports in CA, both called American Display and owned by the same individual.  See this and this.

And back to CloudAhoy – report of  what’s cooking in the R&D dept:  A much improved app (working natively on iPads), and a better helicopter and hot-air balloon debrief including 360° point of view rotation.