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Review: Divespot

New dive photo app for the iPhone brings weather, dive site info to your photos Divespot is a newly launched...

New dive photo app for the iPhone brings weather, dive site info to your photos

Divespot is a newly launched app by developer Pei Hsuan Li, allowing users to overlay photos with dive graphics, weather info and dive site info. It works in much the same way as Instaweather and similar apps, grabbing info from online sources, combining it with the phone’s GPS and overlaying it graphically onto photos.

Divespot screenshot 1

First impressions
The app downloads quickly, indicating that it doesn’t use a lot of space. Once downloaded, users must give it access to photos and location services to get the full benefits. The app runs smoothly, and in the time I tested it, didn’t suffer any hiccups or crashes, unlike some first-generation apps I’ve tried.

The layers
Users can superimpose a few fairly simple layers onto their photos: a scuba-mask outline, the top of compass, a depth gauge, a dive tank and the app developer’s logo. All feature a small, fairly discreet logo in the upper right corner, as well the current weather and diver’s location, based on the phone’s GPS. The position is given based on a nearby city unless users specify a dive site (more on this below).

The depth-gauge layer has quite a nice feature, where users can adjust the gauge to indicate their maximum depth on the site they’re photographing, up to 60 meters or 200 feet. Similarly, the compass layer also shows the photo’s heading.

Divespot screenshot 2

Tapping a small location icon in the bottom right corner opens a database of dive sites. The developer states that more than 10,000 sites worldwide are stored in the database, which is impressive. I could locate all my favorite dive spots even in Denmark, and quite a few I didn’t know of. Selecting one of these sites will override the city as the location, and places the dive site instead.

The app doesn’t, however, provide info on the dive site, nor does it automatically update your dive location, which adds a margin of error. The diver must know which dive spot he or she is diving to make sure the right location is chosen.

Using the app
Using the app is simple. Chose a layer, frame your image, point and shoot. Again, much like Instaweather. It’s also possible to use an existing photo stored on the phone and apply one of the layers, and then share it. You can share your picture on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr, or you can share it via email. In the app’s settings, you can chose to save the original photo (without the layers), as well as whether the augmented photo should be saved when it is shared. Unfortunately, much like Instagram, there’s no option for saving an augmented photo without sharing it. If you want to keep a photo with one of the layers for your dive-trip photo album, you must share it first. This suggests that the app is quite share-focused, rather than photography-focused, and it’s a bit of a shame, as using a photo with one of the layers could be fun when using one of the logging apps that allow you to add photos to a log entry.

Bottom line
Divespot seems well constructed and runs smoothly. Taking photographs, applying layers and sharing all work well. It is unlikely to be considered an essential app for divers, as it doesn’t really supply a critical function to diving, planning, or logging. Mostly it’s built to share envy-inducing photos of your dive location, along with info on how amazing the weather is (or isn’t). In that sense, it is almost like an add-on to Instaweather. But for the relatively low cost it’s worth downloading, if you’re into sharing vacation snapshots with your diving friends on various social media.

App name: Divespot
Developer: Pei Hsuan Li
Price: $1.99
Operating system: iOS 6.1 or newer
Available through: iTunes App Store