Sun Surveyor for iOS and Android

Comprehensive Sun & Moon Information in the Palm of your Hand, for any Location, Date & Time.

Get Sun Surveyor on the iOS App Store Get Sun Surveyor on Google Play


Gallery Additions (March 23, 2014)

I’ve had some submissions to the gallery pending for quite a while, and finally added them.

We have photos from South Carolina by architectural photographer Benton Henry. Some beautiful photos from New Zealand from Goina Thedinga – including one of a sunset with cows in the foreground. Jeffrey Greenwood from Montreal submitted a photo of a lake sunset.

Andreas Depping from Germany submitted a captivating photo of the Brandenburg Gate during the blue hour.

I’ve also added 2 photos from the always amazing Sergey Louks.

Please enjoy, and I hope to get future submissions into the gallery at a faster pace!

Latest Updates – Super Moon Finder + more – (March 2, 2014)

Recently, both the Android and iOS versions of Sun Surveyor were updated with some additional Moon-related features:

  • Super Moon finder! – when the moon is within 360,000km (223,694 mi) of the earth during a full or new moon, the distance is highlighted to indicate this special occurrence
  • Position angle of the bright limb relative to the observer – in plain English, the moon will now appear as it does in the sky, tilted appropriately as it will appear at the selected location, so visualization of “smiling moons” and more is now possible
  • Moon Distance, Next Apogee and Perigee – times when the moon will be furthest or closest to the Earth, respectively
  • Moon Age – in days from the last new moon
  • Moon Phase times – previously, only the date was shown

A user from the Southern hemisphere challenged me to implement the bright limb angle feature, since moon phases like first quarter and last quarter appear “reversed” below the equator and the app was showing a northern hemisphere bias by reflecting a fixed rotation (i.e. as seen in this article). I thought it would be nice to provide the other features and information while at it.

To find upcoming super moons, simply set the slider mode to 1 year, and scrub through the year until the upcoming moon phases indicates a super moon via the indicator seen below.

Super moon finder, moon distance, age, next apogee and perigee, position angle of the bright limb relative to the observer
Super moon finder, moon distance, age, next apogee and perigee, position angle of the bright limb relative to the observer

Latest Updates – October 26th, 2013

Feature Update – Location Import/Export/Edit: both iOS and Android versions of Sun Surveyor can now import KML placemarks (from .kml and .kmz files). KML is most widely known for being the data format used with Google Earth; locations can be imported into Google Earth, or imported into the app from a Google Earth export. Locations can also be interchangeable with other apps which work with KML.

In addition, a long-missing ability to edit location names and notes has been added. The name and notes are exported when a location is exported.

Finally, when exporting screenshots or data from the app, a .kml file is now provided as well.

It’s taken a while, but I’m glad to finally provide the ability for Sun Surveyor users to share locations with each other, backup locations, and interoperate with Google Earth, or other apps which use KML.

Gallery Additions: There’s a beautiful German castle from long-time gallery contributor, app-tester and feature-suggester Niel Hayes. Tonny Shih from Shanghai has provided some intriguing examples of his moon photography featuring aircraft. Walter Calahan (instagram)
has submitted a beautiful no-crop 1000mm moon shot. Michal Kroužel, who provided the Czech translation, and is a photographer who covers mountain climbers, submitted some photos from an adventurous trip to Nepal.

Previous submissions included the shot of the Breakwater Lighthouse from Maine photographer Jim Dugan, two wonderful photos of Spanish beaches from UK photographer Steve Purcell, and a sunrise shot at Red Rock Dawlish from Rory Rayton.

Latest Updates – Street View + More (September 15th, 2013)

Exciting news – Street View Panoramas are now available in the iOS version of the application. This allows for viewing interactive panoramas, where available from the Map View. A setting to change the field of view is also available, enabling visualization of more or less of the scene at once, if desired.

To use, look for the green and yellow panorama button to appear if the selected location has a panorama view nearby. Clicking it will open up the closest Street View panorama, and sun and moon paths can be seen overlaid onto it.


Screenshot of a Street View Panorama on the iPhone:


Some interesting panoramas to view as seen on an iPad:


Check out the Google Street View collections for many interesting places to explore in general, not necessarily in context with Sun Surveyor!

Languages: A Portuguese (Brazil) Translation – Ronilson di Souza has kindly provided a Brazilian Portuguese translation, many thanks to him! This is available in v1.10 for Android, and will be available for iOS soon.

Gallery: I’ve added some more photos to the gallery, one is a screenshot from Frank Meißner, of Tromsø, Norway, showing sun paths from a part of the world where they sometimes experience 24 hours of daylight! Another is from Rory Rayton, showing an ocean sunrise in Dawlish, on the south coast of England.

The 2013 OSU Solar Vehicle Team and Sun Surveyor

I received email from the Oregon State University Solar Vehicle Team co-founder, Hai-Yue Han, who mentioned that Sun Surveyor had a small role in their 2013 Formula Sun Grand Prix 1st place win!

This was thrilling to hear. The 3-day race involves solar vehicles from various teams competing to complete the most laps around the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX, solely using solar power. Each day involved a driving phase, and charging phases in the morning and evening, where teams attempt to locate their vehicles strategically to receive the most solar energy. Hai-Yue used the app to determine whether the vehicle would be obstructed at any point during the charging, by observing the sun’s path in the Augmented Reality view.

OSU Solar Vehicle Team 2013 First Place
OSU Solar Vehicle Team 2013 Vehicle

"In a race where we won with 661 laps, with the 2nd place car at 660 laps, Sun Surveyor definitely made a large contribution. We crossed the finish line with 12% SOC (state of charge) left, and Sun Surveyor probably bought us at least that much over the 3 days of morning/evening charging (having a light pole across your array is not what you want!). Without Sun Surveyor, we probably wouldn’t have won.

I definitely saw other teams that got obstructed by light poles at a place where our team was thinking of setting up, and because of Sun Surveyor, I told our team to move our car to a different location and they were puzzled until I showed them the AR camera with the projected sun path!" – Hai-Yue Han

This goes way beyond the scope of what I imagined the app being used for, and to me it’s funny that Hai-Yue originally emailed me to tell me that the Lite version of the app doesn’t do a good enough job of selling the full version, and mentioned the win almost in passing!

For more on the OSU Solar Vehicle Team:

OSU Solar Vehicle Team Site (Facebook Page)

OSU Solar Vehicle Team Flickr – lots of photos of the team and vehicle!

Latest Updates (August 4, 2013)

Sun Surveyor v1.9.9 was released for Android; this brings improvements to the Timezone detection functionality. A similar update to the iOS version is underway.

Sun Surveyor user Paul Conrad has submitted some of his wonderful Pacific Northwest-based photography to the gallery. You can learn about, and see more of his photography here.

Latest Updates (July 20, 2013)

The Korean-translated iOS versions of Sun Surveyor and Sun Surveyor Lite are now available.

The Android version of Sun Surveyor Lite (v1.4.5) now has a Spanish translation, thanks to Juan A. Gonzalez Sanz. An iOS version is underway.

Sun Surveyor v1.3.5 for iOS now features elevation lookups, and vertical-angle differential calculations. Elevation lookups can be turned on in the settings, this will use Google and Geonames web services to determine the elevation for shooting and subject locations.

Elevation, Korean

Latest Updates (June 30, 2013)

Today, the Korean translation of Sun Surveyor was published in the Google Play Store. The iOS version will follow, as well as translations of the lite versions.

In the gallery, I’ve added some photos by TV Smith. TV Smith has used Sun Surveyor to plan a few shots, and he’s generously allowed me to share them in the gallery.

In addition, I’ve shared another beautiful photo from Sergey Louks.

Latest Updates (June 15, 2013)

Over the past week, Apple approved Sun Surveyor and Sun Surveyor Lite updates for iOS, and they are live in the iTunes App Store. This brings the previously mentioned Map View update for Sun Surveyor, and Simplified Chinese to both.

Other news:
– A Korean translation is in the works and is nearing completion.