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Balloon Finder Release Notes

Balloon Finder is developed and maintained by Custom Digital Services, LLC for the Project: Traveler research project.  The latest download can be found on the Balloon Finder page.


Version 2019.0.1

Released 9 June, 2019

  • Updated map tile servers to fix download problem.
  • Replaced base maps with new June 2019 maps.


Version 2016.0.1

Released 1 May, 2016

  • Migrated the Balloon Finder over to Visual Studio 2015, and updated to .Net runtimes at 4.5.  This effectively ends support for Windows XP and below.
  • Cleaned up dozens of internal compiler warning messages.
  • Updated the Balloon Finder application icon for Windows.
  • Updated the Go To Balloon icon.


Version 2015.6.1

Released 30 June, 2015

  • Added a pop-up window with prediction statistics for Ad-hoc predictions. It shows flight time, flight distance, max wind speeds, etc.
  • Fixed bug that was stripping spaces when decoding APRS-IS packets.
  • Eliminated a redundant 'zero' when speaking certain altitudes.
  • Fixed a bug that caused crashing in Adhoc Predictions.
  • Fixed inconsistency in altitude reporting when speaking the altitude.


Version 2015.3.4

Released 11 March, 2015

  • Added a second option to only download the current map zoom/centering.
  • Re-prioritized the map tiles being downloaded on the fly so that the center tiles (center screen) get downloaded first.


Version 2015.3.3

Released 9 March, 2015

  • Balloon Finder now decodes compressed position (!) reports.
  • Added an (optional) feature where map tiles up to zoom 14 are automatically downloaded for the "Me" position, the tracked station position, the predicted landing spot, and the spot where the map is currently focused at.
  • Allowed (optionally) the mouse scroll wheel to zoom in/out on the map.
  • Fixed bug when decoding certain Mic-E encoded packets.
  • The map will automatically refresh itself if new map tiles are downloaded that were previously missing.
  • Numerous small tweaks to the mapping component to improve performance and predictability, especially when viewing at the "edges".
  • Extended the available comm ports up to COM50.
  • Comm ports will automatically disconnect/reconnect if setting changes were made to them while they were opened.
  • Balloon Finder will now notify you when an import of map files are complete with a pop-up message.


Version 2015.2.4

Released 15 February, 2015

  • Added a distance/direction/elevation indicator to aid in spotting the balloon visually.
  • Reviewed descent rate profile and improved accuracy.
  • Added a display for the number of minutes until burst, and the number of minutes until touchdown.
  • Added menu item to resize the window to specific pixel sizes.
  • Numerous internal improvement to lat/lon math.
  • Slowed the splash screen down slightly so that you can read it.
  • Fixed a small bug when reading out the cardinal directions.
  • Fixed obscure bug where flight predictions above 32k meters were causing errors.


Version 2015.1.2

Released 4 January, 2015

  • Symbol icons now have a transparent background so they blend into the map.
  • Added functions to iGate all stations, not just tracked stations.
  • Additional parsing of aliased stations.
  • Ignores digipeats of the software's own beacon packets.
  • Better initialization of the KPC-3 TNC modems, by entering TERMINAL mode, then setting MYCALL, PASSALL, HEADERLN, MONITOR, MCOM, and MSTAMP.
  • The mapping component version can now be identified in Help-About.


Version 2014.10.3

Released 4 October, 2014

  • Added voice annunciation of the balloon position.  Balloon Finder now speaks the balloon altitude, course, and speed on regular intervals configurable in settings.
  • Handles (or gracefully ignores) many new types of position reports.
  • Fixed a bug with certain types of MicE altitude reports.
  • Created several new toolbar icons, updated a couple of icons, and reorganized the icons to be more logical.
  • Increased the minimum form size to be consistent with the controls that are on screen (no more cutting of parts of the page).
  • Added the map zoom level to the status bar.
  • Fixed the TNC/GPS/Telnet status indicators when launching the program.
  • Balloon Finder now correctly ignores duplicate packets received within a 5 minute timespan.
  • Added an English/Metric parameter to switch many of the readouts between the two units of measure.
  • Improved the useability of the Tracked Stations form to be more intuitive.


Version 2014.9.5

Released 16 September, 2014

  • Added a feature to clear off all icons on the map (to de-clutter).
  • Added a setting in the Configuration screen to configure the plotting radius of stations.  Only stations within X miles (250 miles by default) are displayed on the map to reduce loads on the mapping component.
  • The mapping component now clears off stations that haven't been updated in over an hour.
  • Changed some program defaults to make them more user-friendly.
  • Parameterized some debug screens so that they don't show up by default.
  • Reworked some mapping code to make it more efficient.
  • Fixed some obscure crashing when lots of data is flowing in (from the Internet).


Version 2014.9.3

Released 15 September, 2014

  • Mic-E encoded packets are now decoded with latitude, longitude, course, speed, and altitude.
  • The primary-tracked balloon information is now displayed in the status bar on all tabs of Balloon Finder. This includes altitude, course and speed.
  • Documentation has been updated with instructions on how to accomplish most basic tasks within the application.
  • The installer has been refined and branded with the Custom Digital Services, LLC logo.