Diving apps for the iOS platform come in a number of forms. There’s the dive magazine, dive logger, dive planner and now the divers social app. Dive magazines come in two flavours – either a downloadable app (such as DIVE and Diver Magazine) and now through the Apple Newstand app.
Dive logging software has moved on a lot from the original paper based log books and Suunto style desktop applications. One thing divers like to do is to talk and relive their dives with friends over a beer. With the advent of the iOS based dive loggin apps, you can synchronise logs between your dive computers (I sync my Suunto and VR3), manual dives performed without a dive computer, pictures, ratings and equipment used easily out in the field. My preferred dive logging app is Dive Log Manager for the iPhone. It’s made up of the iPhone app and free desktop companion to synchronise with either your desktop software and/or dive computer.
The third category is dive planning – which can be split between recreational and technical planning. With Padi’s move away from teaching the basics of using the RDP process to using software and more people wanting to dive on Nitrox, it is certainly useful to have a dive planning tools for recreational dive purposes at hand. I’ve seen far too many people dive “blind” by following a guide not knowing the implications of their choice of gas. There are a number of free apps that allow you to plan repetitive dives with limits on the Air/Nitrox mix and several Pro apps which remove the restrictions. They also have hand calculation tools all divers to work out the best mix for depth, equivalent air depths and max bottom times. Apps such as iDiving, iDive and iDive Nitrox have similar functionality and costs.
Technical diving introduces a few more issues – multiple gasses including trimix, multi-level, gas bailouts, VPM models, conservatism and the list goes on. Most technical divers would travel with a laptop installed with either V-Planner or some derivative so that they can iterate through numerous scenarios to optimise depth, time, gas and risk. A new alternative is to carry your planning software (and diving history) on your iPhone or iPad. V-Planner was migrated over to the iOS platform early on and provides an excellent planning tool (Warning : Always double check you plan with an alterative source where possible to reduce the risk of error!). V-Planner presents the VPM decompression model and includes both VPM-B and VPM-B/E model versions. The diver can specify any combination of nitrox or trimix, and as many deco gases as required. Planning methods include both OC and Closed Circuit Rebreather. It includes planning for bailouts with SCR and OC legs in a CCR plan. Includes details of ppO2, END, and gas consumptions. It includes many of the features from the desktop version such as conservatism adjustments, extended stops, adjustable last stops, the planning monitor system and extensive control over many other planning features. Also included is a set of dive planning tools for calculating best mix, maximum operating depth (MOD), END, EAD and other planning considerations. The Mixer utility for blending nitrox and trimix, is included too.
A new app on the block is the Baltic Deco Planner, an app that is similar in functionality to V-Planner but a little more polished with respect to the user interface. The best addition is the graphing capabilities – very useful for looking for your off-gassing points and on deeper dive profiles looking for potential isobaric counter diffusion events.
Finally, there’s the social apps and or travel tools. There are a couple of niche players out there who think that the diving community need their own collaboration platform such as Diving Dude, DiveTime and the aptly named “The best scuba diving and snorkelling locations”. Unfortunately, I find that little applications such as Facebook, Google and TripAdvisor cover those bases quite comprehensively already!