Crowsflight has just been updated to version 1.5.55 on the 15th of January. The new version brings in two new features: the ability to import KML files and Foursquare venue search.
When we think of GPS navigation we think of the Sat Nav in our cars. These are all based on the same idea, but yet people always have a different opinion about which one is best. The reason is because they all vary with what information they bring up. Some might give you quicker directions to the destination than others, and some simply have more roads stored in the data. This is also reflected in the price that you pay for the navigation systems.
Crowsflight works differently than any other we’ve seen before. The way it works is by giving a compass style radar on the map that shows you the name of your destination that you put in the data before you leave. The name will always be displayed on the screen, and the radar will show you if you are going in that direction. That may sound a bit outdated, and in terms of showing no roads it is. But where this app really shines is on foot. I love using this app where I live because if I go to the main screen and type in my current location it brings up the map of my town. I can then scroll and zoom into a location and hold my finger on the screen. A red line will then show on the screen, and when it reaches 360 degrees it will then lock that destination in. Now Crowsflight will tell me the distance between my house and the location I chose to know. This is interesting for me because I live close to the beach, and there’s always constant chatter about how close we actually are. People’s judgement when it comes to distance varies a lot, so it’s great to have an application to give me the facts when I want to know them. It’s also great for knowing landmarks, how far I go walking if I go to a certain place in my town and so on.
To be honest, I wouldn’t use the Crowsflight application in my car for the simple fact that you can’t just drive where you want to drive because it’s the roads that will determine where you end up, and they obviously aren’t always going straight to where our destination is. It could be useful if I knew of an area already and I was just learning my boundaries. The screen it offers is very similar to the Need For Speed game I used to play and after I vaguely learnt all the maps the compass idea became very useful because it triggers your mind to the direction you need to go from here if you don’t know the area off by heart yet. However, if it’s an entirely new place you are travelling too, the compass idea has very little benefit. If you pull the car over to the side of the road you can click on the bottom right hand corner of the screen to bring up the map version. It will now show where you are and the destination in dots. The map itself is very detailed and it does have all of my local area like you would expect an expensive GPS system to have, so the maps side of things is really good, it just doesn’t naturally show the map from the main screen unless you click on the map icon. When inside maps it also shows the direction you are facing, so if you tilt the iPhone it will move. This makes it easy to understand exactly where you need to be facing for your destination, but also just getting a grasp of the area I’m in. If you move house, or really want to get to know a suburb, city or town better than this app is fantastic. However, if you are just travelling across the country to places you have no idea about, you may feel more secure using a traditional GPS device like the NAVMAN or TomTom that I use for my car.
Downloading Crowflight is free, but it will only let you save 5 locations to the database. If you want to save more you have to unlock the full version which costs $0.99. It’s available to be downloaded on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, but the developer mentions that it has been optimized for the iPhone 5. I’m using the app on the iPhone 4S, and I can confirm that it is good to use on that size screen, although I can understand how it would benefit from having a larger screen. After you open the app for the first time it can seem overwhelming with the amount of information that is presented in such a small space.
Crowsflight is available for free at the app store.