After 43 years of trying to navigate by looking over the side of a rotating hot air balloon, the ‘Irish Meet’ balloonists will be taking off with the ViewRanger ‘outdoors GPS & maps app’ on their smartphones.
The longest running national ballooning event in the world will take place from the 23rd – 27th September 2013 in Drumshanbo.
Ray Leslie, Event Director explains how ViewRanger, which displays the relevant Ordnance Survey Ireland mapping with the balloon’s location clearly shown, can be a real help when trying to navigate a balloon with essentially no steering:
“Having an Ordnance Survey/Land Ranger map, with your exact location constantly displayed, and accurately updated, is the exact tool needed. This is exactly what I got, when I came across the ‘ViewRanger’ website and subsequently decided to try using it on my Samsung Galaxy S2 mobile phone.”
The first hot air balloon flight in Ireland was by Sir Richard Crosbie in 1785, just two years after the Montgolfier brothers, and until now navigation has largely remained unchanged. This year will be the first time the competitors will be using their smartphones to track their location, via the ViewRanger app.
The app allows users to download free or premium mapping to their smartphone, and then uses the phone’s GPS technology to display the exact location of the user, without the need of a mobile phone signal. If they activate the app’s ‘BuddyBeacon’ feature the retrieval crew can also see the balloon’s location in real-time or they can send them the grid reference.
The ViewRanger app is proving popular with the ballooners planning to attend the Irish Meet as most of the pilots and support teams have already downloaded the app and have added the Ordnance Survey Ireland mapping to their phones.
Ray says, “I can honestly say, that knowing exactly which field I was over at all times in the flight, made it so much more relaxing as the Pilot in Command. It was one less thing to worry about, but quite a ‘Big’ thing!”
For more information on the event visit: http://www.meet2013.irishballooning.com/