The Volvo Ocean Race’s iPhone and Android app is now available in the App Store and AppMarket, respectively. I loaded it onto my iPhone 4 to give it a try.
The Volvo Ocean Race’s app is a major improvement over last year’s. It includes tracking on an actual 2D map, and allows the user to toggle weather/wind conditions, teams shown, and also includes video and text news like you would find on the official Volvo Ocean Race website.
One of the best new features is the virtual 2D map which allows you to track teams and their progress, as well as weather and wind conditions.
The app launches you onto this screen after the initial loading process. In a Google Earth-style view, the map displays ports of call as well as left and right sidebars. The left sidebar, which is able to be hidden, toggles views, boats, news, and general settings. The right sidebar allows you to zoom in on a specific team, which is then highlighted in silver.
Zooming in is done with two fingers, and toggling the weather button in the bottom left corner shows wind and weather arrows around ports, like Galway, which is shown at right. The play bar at the bottom of the screen can be toggled to view a specific sequence in the race.
A slightly zoomed in view with the left sidebar toggled off. The proposed race route is shown in red between the marked ports.
Another big plus of the app is the fact that it displays great information the go. You can use it as a city guide, news center, and video center.
The video center shows YouTube videos from the Volvo Ocean Race channel on YouTube. They can be played like a normal YouTube video after clicking the play link.
Clicking on a city on the 2D map pulls up an information center from the website where you can find things to do, photos, and maps that relate to each of the ports on the Volvo Ocean Race circuit.
Position reports are displayed every three hours like on the website. The gridded format shows latitude, longitude, DTF, speed, and course.
The app also has Notification Center capability, a new feature on iOS 5. For iOS 4 users, notifications can still be displayed in badge format on the screen. Features can be changed in the Settings > Notification screen. For Android users, one would also assume that notifications are also available in the notification tray.
App screenshots by Taylor Michie / Racing Winds Media. Featured photo by Paul Todd / Volvo Ocean Race.