The SOTAGOAT app is a well presented and popular app for iOS and works well on my iPhone 5s and the iPad.
Its features include displays for alerts and spots, just like the sotawatch.org website, configuration options allowing you to choose between UTC and local time for displays and posts, an option to produce a goat bleat when each new spot is received from sotawatch, a filter option to specify which modes you want to be informed about and the time periods in which you want the notifications and bleats to occur. It uses an internal list of summits which can be updated from a sotawatch site and can display a list of summits near to your current location, which it gets from the GPS info in the phone or tablet.
However, the current (2016) version of the app has an error in the time calculations for new alerts. Sotawatch uses UTC dates and times. I have sotagoat set to display and post in UTC. But the times posted and seen on sotawatch were always incorrect and I observed that they were incorrect by the UTC offset. The app was adding my UTC offset to the UTC times I wanted and then posting the adjusted time to sotawatch. I have found the error can be worked around by adjusting the alert time as follows.
When posting an alert I subtract my UTC offset from the alert time.
For example to post an alert for 2300 UTC I subtract 11 hours (in DST periods) or 10 hours (in standard time) and post the alert for the adjusted time, namely 1200 UTC.
This is easy for UTC times after 1100 but for earlier times, the date must be adjusted back too. It’s simple arithmetic you can do in your head. For say 0400, subtract 11 hours: I do that by one of these two methods:
- First subtracting 4 hours to get back to 0000, then subtracting the remaining 7 hours (because 4+7=11) from 2400 to get 1700.
- Add 24 hours to 0400 (2800) and subtract 11 hours from that (1700).
In each case, because the time is in the previous day, subtract one day from the date too.
What if I was in a time zone that is behind UTC instead of ahead?
I don’t know whether the software error treats both time offsets similarly. It is possible that it is correct for negative offsets.
The error has been notified to the author of the software but as it can take a while for new versions to be released via the iTunes Store, I will use this workaround until it is fixed. The utility of the application is too good in all other ways to stop using it.
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