Offline moving map gives travelers a WindowSeat

Screenshot1.JPG

I haven’t blogged about cool iPhone apps of late because,let’s be real, who can keep up? But one particular new app, called WindowSeat,has caught my eye.

Launching in January 2011 by Portland-based AppOven, WindowSeat is an in-flight map that gives passengers a chance to track their continental US flights asthey fly – and learn more about points-of-interest below them – without needingGPS or a persistent network connection.

An offline moving map? Intriguing (even though I truly do not want to give carriers any further reason to delay equipping their aircraft with in-flight connectivity…the time is now, and Lufthansa’s re-launch of FlyNet this week made that point crystal clear!)

So what has AppOven cooked up with WindowSeat (i.e. how does it work)?

Screenshot3.JPGUpon entering departure and arrival airports, users canchoose from one of five flight paths based on up-to-the-moment historical databetween cities. Once they enter their wheel-up time, WindowSeat provides a viewinto the flight’s location and tracks how much time remains, says AppOven.

100% accuracy “may be elusive”, says the firm as thereis no way to account for flight diversions and weather irregularities withoutGPS or a persistent network connection. For example, the pilot “may announcethere’s only an hour left in the flight, but the app may show an hour andfifteen minutes remain. In this case, the user can adjust the flight time, andthe app will recalibrate the plane icon’s location on the map.

Likewise, a user may look out the window and notice the Great Salt Lake below them, but the app may show thatthey already passed it. Here, the user can drag the plane icon back on the map,and WindowSeat recalculates the remaining flight time, says AppOven.

“One of the app’s core features is the dialogue betweenit and the user,” says WindowSeat’s creator, PhilTseng. “In this way, a user can make the flightprediction even more accurate by using their own observations as well asinformation they gather from the cabin staff.” 

The points-of-interest database contains images anddescriptions of landmarks and geographic areas throughout the US. Users can alsolet their online friends and followers know about the points-of-interestthey’re flying over with a simple update that synchs up to their Facebook and Twitter accounts once they’re online,notes AppOven. 

WindowSeat, which requires iOS 4.1 or later, has reachedits beta milestone and will be undergoing real-world testing in the next fewweeks to prepare for launch in January 2011. At a price of $6.99, WindowSeatis not cheap. But if you’re a moving map fanatic, it might just be worth it. At the very least, WindowSeat will help pass the time as you wait for your hometown carrier to hurry up and get in-flight connectivity already, ahem. 

, , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to Offline moving map gives travelers a WindowSeat

  1. Lesley December 10, 2010 at 8:16 am #

    This app looks great and I really want to get it, but I can’t find it anywhere on the app store! Where can I download it?

  2. Mary Kirby December 10, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    The app is in beta testing right now, and will launch in January. If you’re interested in participating, drop me an email – at mary.kirby@flightglobal.com – and I’ll connect you with the right person. Thanks!