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Find your way with the useful Compass Android app

by Ian Black

Not everyone needs a compass app. For most people, GPS navigation will get you where you want to go. But, if you are one of the few – and proud – that enjoys hiking, letterboxing or geocaching games, then the free Compass Android app is worth the download.

The app sports several compass types – old school analog, digital, digital with GPS readout, an antique style with spinning center needle, and a low-light night compass that won’t ruin your night vision with a bright backlight. All of these worked well in my testing. Snaptic helpfully integrates another free app called 3Bananas, which let’s you leave notes in location.

Outdoor games like letterboxing (www.letterboxing.org) require accuracy. So, it’s great that Compass’ full suite of settings let you adjust for things like True North vs. Magnetic North, sensor type and rate, altitude and direction, and more. The “Help” text tells you how reset the magnetometer of your phone by waving it in a figure eight. And, you can also change the background to fit your mood with wood grain, mesh, and sky wallpaper.

While Compass has updated this 1.1 version with “True North,” “Noise Filter,” and other settings enhancements, it remains pretty simple when compared to compass apps that blend in satellite maps or the camera for an augmented reality twist. Overall, though, it does a great job at replacing a real compass in both look and usefulness. Better still, the ads that run along the bottom don’t get in your way. Check it out.