The App That Shows All The Peaks Above Kapolei

You see these Kapolei neighbors every day, but do you know their names? The augmented reality app PeakVisorcan show you in real-time. The app now has info on 1,137 mountains in the state, including the ones that hover over the growing Kapolei skyline.

The app covers all of the major mountain ranges of the world. Mountaineers and hikers use it to enrich their experience, and to make sure they’re in the right place. (If you’re taking the app out of cellphone range, you can download all the data before you start your trek.)

Download the app (iOS $5.99, Android $4.49), then aim it at the mountains. Once the app loads the landscape, you’ll see names of peaks in a virtual overlay on your screen.

See the View From any Peak

If you tap one of the peaks, you can use the cool teleport feature. The screen will show you what it would look like if you were on top of that peak. It’s a 360-degree-view, so as you turn around you see what the view would be to every direction.


Not quite, Geena, but close!

See the West Side Like a Bird Does

Another cool feature is the 3D map. Tap the 3D button, and you get to see a 3D, birds-eye view from wherever you are. It’s like being in a sidecar with a bird. Again, you can turn the screen and see the view from different angles.

Here’s what you’d see if you hovered above Kapolei and looked toward the Leeward coast.

birds eye view of kapolei
Granted, this is a basic map view, not a detailed satellite view, but it’s still pretty cool. (If you want to see this view for real, there’s a local helicopter company that can take you.)

Are the Names Accurate and Culturally Appropriate?

I think it’s fair to say that the names of the peaks are close to accurate, and that PeakVisor has made at least some efforts to recognize Hawaiian names.

The app’s geographic name data comes from the U.S. Geological Survey. For example, the hill that gives Kapolei its name is shown as Puʻukapolei on the app. That’s the USGS’s name. But the local caretakers of the spot prefer Puʻuokapolei.

On the other hand: the official USGS name for the popular hiking spot near Waikiki is Diamond Head. The Hawaiian name is Leʻahi, and that’s what PeakVisor shows. (Actually “Leahi,” but the effort is there.)

official USGS ruling of diamond head name

Really Easy to Use

You really do just point your device and let the app do its thing. Anyone strong enough to hold a phone could use it — though being able to read the peak names could help.

Seems like a good way to learn a little more about the area, and practice ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi at the same time.