Sky Map

Common Sense Media says

Excellent tool encourages appreciation of the universe.

Age(i)

2
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5
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7
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9
10
11
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13
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Great menus, clean graphics, and quick response are pluses. The gallery's layout could be better.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

You can enter locational data manually or you can use GPS. Before using the app, users are asked to accept the terms of service for YouTube, Google Maps, and Google Books. You can opt out of sending anonymous usage data to Google Analytics in the settings.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Sky Map is wonderful tool for fostering an appreciation of astronomy that makes planned or impromptu family sky observation nights easy. This Google-powered app features layers accessible through the device and on-screen menus, easy search and find, manual or automatic orientation, a gallery of Hubble images, night mode, and time travel. The only thing you need to provide is comfortable reclining chairs, cozy blankets, hot chocolate, a beautiful night sky, and a dash of curiosity.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • astronomy

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • part-whole relationships
  • thinking critically
  • asking questions

Self-Direction

  • academic development
  • initiative

Emotional Development

  • perspective taking

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The app is well-designed and easy to use. The Hubble images are a fascinating draw, but the app could use a little fun factor.

Learning Approach

Great data is presented well in layers, and the search function empowers kids to search the sky. Some background information about astronomy would be a huge boost.

Support

While the app is intuitive, it's too bad there aren't any extensions or links to NASA or other great astronomy resources.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • astronomy

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • part-whole relationships
  • thinking critically
  • asking questions

Self-Direction

  • academic development
  • initiative

Emotional Development

  • perspective taking

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn about astronomy at a basic level -- like which one is Venus? -- or get motivated to research more advanced concepts like Messier objects, time as a dimension, why night mode uses red, the Hubble telescope, and the celestial coordinate grid. Kids can also gain basic understandings about orientation, cardinal directions, and horizon lines by seeing them used in context. It would be nice to see more reference information about astronomy or celestial objects. Sky Map is a sharp pocket-planetarium tool that can help foster kids' curiosity about the universe.

This Learning Rating review was written by Leslie Crenna

Parents say

Kids say

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What's it about?

Using network (default), GPS, or manual location, kids can either angle and rotate their device to view the celestial sphere in all directions or swipe around any direction they wish using a handy orange horizon line and cardinal directions for orientation. A tap-activated on-screen menu allows users to select layers, toggle between automatic and manual navigation modes, and zoom in or out. The menu offers search, settings, time travel, night mode, a Hubble image gallery, and tight-text help.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Sky Map is a versatile, easy-to-use planetarium in the palm of your hand -- now that's power. It even does something traditional planetariums could never do: Hold your device at the floor, and you'll see the southern hemisphere just where it ought to be (for all you northern hemispherites out there). Kids can see stars, constellations, galaxies, planets, meteor showers, and Messier objects (learning opportunity here) in regular or special night mode, which changes all text and lines to red for easy viewing. The Hubble gallery hits you with those surreal but real astronomical images easily located -- along with any other object -- through a simple ring and arrow guidance technique. The time travel feature could have scientific as well as historical uses.

The only items missing are constellation images, for instance, a Swan around Cygnus, like those provided by the similar iOS app Star Chart, perhaps a slightly better layout for help text, and some background information about the study of the stars for blossoming observers. Still, it's a fantastic app.

Families can talk about...

  • Schedule a family sky watch night. Encourage the whole family to set up a viewing area -- and prepare goodies.

  • Research good days, times, or objects to view.

App details

Devices:Android, Apps for Windows
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:August 31, 2011
Category:Reference
Topics:Science and nature
Size:2.20 MB
Publisher:Sky Map Devs
Version:1.6.4
Minimum software requirements:Android 1.5 and up

This review of Sky Map was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byMURUP July 5, 2013

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