More AstroPlanner V2.1 features

I have been working on a couple more V2.1 features, described briefly here. These are features to search for plan documents on disk, improve the Plan Creation Wizard, and support upcoming catalogues.

Hopefully this will help assuage the fears of some folk who think I’m working full-time on iOS apps.


Searching for plan documents

One feature that has been requested on several occasions is the ability to search your disk for plan documents containing particular objects. e.g. You are sure you observed or created a plan including NGC1234, but you can’t remember which one. The hard way to do those is to manually open each plan document and check it to see if that object is therein. Not very productive…

Enter Object > Search > Search for Plans Containing…

Search for Plans Containing

You supply the search term, the field/s to search, how to match the search term, and the top-level starting folder to search. Hit the search button and a background thread starts scanning your disk in the specified folder looking for (V2) plan documents, opening them and checking for matches. This happens very efficiently. If a match is found, it is added to the results list. One the search is finished (if necessary – you can continue while the search continues in the background), you can select a result and opt to open that plan document, reveal it in the Finder (Mac) or Windows Explorer (Windows), or delete it from the disk.

Plan Creation Wizard improvement

The Plan Creation Wizard in V2.0 lets you choose an observing site, and one or more constellations to search. However, that’s a lot of possible constellations, and it would be nice to narrow the list down to just show constellations that can be seen from the latitude of the site and, in particular, constellations that can be seen at a particular date and time. It would also be nice to show which constellations are only partially visible.

The Plan Creation Wizard has been improved to do this.

Plan Creation Wizard catalogue search

UCAC4 Catalogue

The UCAC4 stellar catalogue is on the verge of being released (as of this writing):

http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/astrometry/optical-IR-prod/ucac/

This is similar to the UCAC3 catalogue, except that many bug fixes have been made, better data sources have been used, and (annoyingly) the internal format has been changed. This means that AstroPlanner V2.1 will need to be changed to support this catalogue.

This will happen in two places: the external catalogues (see Field of View preferences), where an extra tab will be added, and as a standard AstroPlanner catalogue (which will be available on DVD-ROM later). Most of the changes have been made, based on limited sample data and formats supplied by the USNO (see the above link). However, this cannot be finalized until the final DVD arrives and the disk layout is known. Hopefully this will happen before V2.1 is released, otherwise is will require a 2.1.x release.