What’s in the sky tonight?

I have an idea for an iPhone app that I’m never going to find the time to build so I thought I’d share it with you here. What’s in the sky tonight? would utilise the device’s inbuilt GPS positioning, clock and a fancy spherical map of the stars in the sky. The GPS would tell the device where you are (clearly) and the clock would tell you (you won’t be surprised) the time. These two pieces of info are all you need to then plot a view of the night sky using the fancy spherical map (that’s the bit I obviously don’t know enough about) above your head. The trick would be to tie this in with the device’s tilt switches so it knows where in the sky you’re pointing to. The screen would then display the star constellations, names and info as you point your phone around the sky above you. Lovely.

I’d happily pay £5 for such an app. In fact, I’d probably pay more to remove the annoyance of the red torch and enormous chart I currently use in my back garden on a clear night. But, to be honest, the real stumbling block is the £803.07 that I’d resent paying to O2 for the privilege of having a fancy mobile phone for the next 18 months.

Partly inspired by a satellite I saw floating across a clear London sky two nights ago (I wanted to know its name and what is was doing) but also inspired by the demo recently posted on Youtube from acrossair of their Nearest Tube augmented reality map. See video below:

The above is genius and probably more useful than my own proposal. Acrossair have created a great fusion of readily available technology providing a useful service for people lost and/or inebriated in London town. I hope that it is only a matter of time before this sort of technology is transferred to the lower echelon of mobile devices. For too many years we have been promised incredible mobile experiences yet for almost as long, we have been letting out disappointed sighs. Which is why I am dubious about the news of Ocado’s iPhone application called ‘Ocado on the Go’. I can’t help but imagine this to be a slow, tedious, poorly executed user experience leading me to eventually cross the road from Greater London House to Sainsbury’s in search of a ready meal requiring a bit of radar love. If I’m to be proved otherwise, send a cheque for £803.07 and I’ll let you know how I get on.