Urbit operates differently from the traditional internet. When studying how Urbit works, or when trying to navigate and interact with the network, questions about the connection and data of planets, stars, and galaxies may arise.
In this regard, Astrolabe emerges as an extremely useful tool.
Astrolabe is a complete application for exploring the Urbit universe, its galaxies, stars, ships, and more.
If you would like to know information about a specific planet, such as its host star or who its pals, strolabe is definitely the place to do that.
Moreover, if you want an overview of the entire Urbit architecture and its connections, you can easily navigate an interactive map on Astrolabe.
To make the most of the features and information that this application provides, we recommend that you have some knowledge about the Urbit architecture. These articles about Urbit and stars are a good starting point. By reading these articles, we learn that galaxies and stars in Urbit serve to facilitate communication between planets and other IDs, and that each ID in Urbit is assigned to a galaxy.
So before going into more detail, let’s first find out how to install this application.
Installing the Astrolable app
To install the app, you will need to know the ship it is distributed from, which is often the Urbit ID of its developer.
In the case of Astrolable, look for the application developed by ~midlev-mindyr and click on the astrolable option.
Another way is to type ~dister-midlev-mindyr/astrolabe into the app search bar, to go directly to this developer’s app.
In the window that shows some information about the application, click the “Get App” button.
In the pop-up, click on “Get astrolable” to start the installation process.
When you open the application, you will see a screen like the one in the image below:
By clicking on Star Chart, you will start the interactive mode. The first image shows all 256 Urbit galaxies:
It is possible to see that many of these galaxies have not yet spawned any stars or planets. Other galaxies have spawned stars, without any planets, and others have spawned stars and planets.
This graphical Star Chart tool shows the relationships between ships and galaxies on the platform. It allows users to navigate through different Urbit galaxies and ships and see detailed information about each of them by dragging the mouse and zooming in and out, in a very practical and intuitive way.
How to use the search
In the upper bar of the app, there is a search field. This field searches in a very intelligent way. For example, if you want to search for the user ~midlev-mindyr, you can type midlev-mindyr in the search field, but if you don’t remember the full name, you can also do partial searches. When the search has become specific enough, all ships with matching sigils will be shown.
When you type part of an ID in the search bar, all your contacts and peers will be searched for IDs that match that string. For example, if you only type “datsy” all possible matches to that term will appear.
You can use an asterisk (*) to replace any character. If you want to search for ~samnec and ~sarbec, you can type ~sa**ec.
Records of all spawned ships will also be searched, but if the search is too general, the scope will be narrowed or not executed. For example, if you search for ***hec, Astrolabe will limit the search to stars under ~hec.
Note: On the frontend it will also add in all matching ships that are “peers”, meaning ships you’ve communicated with on the network in some way.
A Sigil is a default profile picture based on your ID. You can read this article to better understand how this representation works.
By clicking on the symbol to the right of the search bar, the Sigil Input Tool opens.
Use the dropdown menu at the top to select Galaxy, Star, or Planet.
Click on a square to start selecting Sigil components.
Select component categories on the right and click on the sigil options to add them to your search.
NOTE: Some sigil inputs are considered ambiguous, even if they match a particular sigil exactly, because more details may match a different sigil. For example, ~zod is a circle, but a circle in the suffix position may be a more general search. A future version of Astrolabe will allow you to see the ship whose sigil most closely matches your search, even if the search is ambiguous.
To better understand what Sigils are, read this article.
Information provided in the Ship View
As a result of the search, you will have a summary view of any ship, such as the @p, which is its sponsor, possible moons, etc.
The ship view lets you see all apps developed by a ship or its moons. Astrolabe also displays pals tags and potentially allows you to add friends and/or edit tags from the application.
By clicking on “View in Star Chart,” you can see the user’s location in the constellation.
Click and drag to move your view; use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out. Click on a point to see the full view of the ship.
The Sponsors/Parents toggle allows you to switch between two different views of the network. The default view of sponsors shows each planet under its sponsoring star and each star under its sponsoring galaxy. Planets and Stars without sponsors are not present in this view. In both views, all galaxies are shown.
The All/Peers/Pals selector allows you to filter which points are easily visible on the chart. If you select Peers, only ships that your ship has spoken to will be fully colored. If you select Pals, only ships that you have added as pals will be fully colored.
How to interact with the community about this application?
You can join the application’s discussion group (using the Groups app). The group address is ~poster-hoster-midlev-mindyr/astrolabe
Special thanks to developer ~midlev-mindyr for reviewing this material.