Review: Peak Finder AR app

I recently included Peak Finder in my 5 must have apps for hill walkers but I feel the app deserves a review of its own. As cliched as it sounds, it’s definitely a must have app if you use your smartphone whilst out on the hills.

Peak Finder gives you a  360° panoramic view identifying mountains nearby and further afield (up to 300km). The app works offline with GPS, so no mobile data required.  You simply launch the app, point your phone towards your desired direction and Peak Finder will identify the mountains and hills in front of you.

To get started install the app and go into the menu, select coverage then move the rectangle on the map across your preferred coverage area. The app then downloads the peak names of your selected area.

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I chose my coverage area to include all of the British Isles which by default includes most of France. This coverage has 18,450 peak names and took up 24MB of space. With this data installed your app is ready to use.

 

 

I have been using Peak Finder since April this year and I’m impressed. The app fires up quickly and dependent on how fast GPS works on your phone, the app usually finds your location within a few seconds. With all apps that require GPS, occasionally you might have to calibrate your phone.

The rendering of the landscape drawing is sharp and it is easy to pick out mountain peaks and ridges.

The illustration below shows a photo taken from Ben More Coigach looking north. With a screen shot from Peak Finder from the same location.

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On a another trip to the Cairngorm mountains we could see a distant pointy peak. My friend and I debated for a while on what hill we were looking at but neither of us could say for sure.

I fired up the app and within moments the app was locked on to our location. I pointed the phone towards the unknown peak. Using the digital telescope feature  the peak showed up on the screen. It was Morven in Caithness and as the crow flies some 174km away from us on Beinn a’Chaorainn.

As well as identifying peaks the app also has solar and lunar orbit with times. This is useful for photographers and summit campers. The app shows the orbit with an accurate time when the sun or moon will appear/disappear over/behind the horizon. If you prefer less clutter on the screen, then both solar and or lunar orbits can be switched off from the settings.

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Solar orbit and sunset time.

Peak Finder have listened to their customers and very recently added Augmented Reality (AR) . I was concerned about this new feature as I dislike the Viewranger equivalent (Skyline). However I used it for the first time this weekend and I was pleased with how it performed.

The screen becomes transparent with the panoramic drawing still present.  Using your finger you line up the panoramic drawing with the actual landscape.

One minor complaint with the AR option is you have to take screenshot. A shutter button to take a photo instead would advantageous.

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AR mode with sun orbit (orange ball on orbit shows current location).

I have noticed that the app occasionally crashes on my Samsung Galaxy S7 and it takes two attempts to get the app working again. I have fed this back to the developers and with regular updates this slight bug should be ironed out.

As mentioned earlier a shutter button would be a great addition so you’re not fumbling about trying to take a screenshot.

Otherwise I cannot fault Peak Finder at all and the developers are improving this app on a regular basis.

Conclusion:

Peak Finder is a well polished and accurate app that is fun to use. Something that I will continue to use whether it be for settling peak naming debates or for writing trip reports so I can name peaks in my photos. The solar orbit and sunrise/sunset times will be most useful for when I’m summit camping.

Available on iPhone (£4.99) and Android (£3.99). There doesn’t seem to be a lite or free version to try first, but at the price of a pint of beer, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with Peak Finder.

For more information, please visit the Peak Finder website.

Recommended. 4.5/5* 

 

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5 thoughts on “Review: Peak Finder AR app

  1. Looks fun, particularly the sun/moon track aspect.

    ….you couldn’t identify Morven??? A bit more hill-time on those Grahams and a bit less blog time and you can do without the app!

    😉

      1. Having downloaded it, it does look quite good. 🙂

        Now I just need a decent summit camping weekend to play with it…..any idea where I can source one of those?

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