Skyscape is one of the most popular medical resource providers in the App Store. They offer a vast range of over 600 medical resources for healthcare professionals of all grades and modalities.
Skyscape offers a ‘freemium’ model, where the app itself and some content is available for free. However, more desirable premium content comes at a price. One of the most popular premium resources is Netters Atlas of Human Anatomy.
Netters is one of the most popular and best selling anatomy resources alongside other heavyweights such as Grays Anatomy, Agur, Moore’s clinical anatomy, and Thieme’s Anatomy to name just a few. Netters Atlas of Human Anatomy for iPad is based on the 5th edition and contains over 530 colour illustrations.
The user interface of Skyscape resources has always been driven by utility and functionality. Netters Atlas of Human Anatomy is no different with a text interface. There are 4 main features:
- A ‘Table of Contents’ mode
- A searchable index
- A history function (with bookmarks)
- Skyscape’s Smartlink technology designed to bring multiple Skyscape resources together.
The search and history function are effective and it was straightforward to find various anatomical areas of interest. It should be noted that the history function will also include articles viewed in other Skyscape resources (see screenshot).
The quality of any anatomy app is strongly based on the quality of its anatomical illustrations. Netter’s hand drawn diagrams are renowned and transfer to the iPads 9 inch screen with excellent results.
Some iTunes reviews suggest that the quality and resolution of the diagrams is of a low standard. I found that this was only apparent when zooming in using standard touch gestures.
This was sometimes an issue when zooming in on highly detailed areas (see screenshots for example of before zoom, medium zoom and full zoom).
Despite these image resolution issues, the actual range of anatomy covered in this app is excellent. There are numerous images of each anatomical region and area which helps consolidate anatomical understanding of complex structures.
Each image has tens of labels ensuring that every structure is annotated. As such, many healthcare professionals will find it useful as a reference resource.
Each diagram is labeled with a number of blue dots which can be touched to show the answer. There is some inconsistency here as clicking some labels brings up a blue notification box while clicking others open a new page. The blue notification box system is fine as it allows you to continue observing the original image.
Opening a new page is not an effective system. You lose sight of the image and therefore can get confused about exactly which structure is being noted. It would have been nice to have the particular structure highlighted once it had been selected. In the screenshots below, one label was clicked in the image on the left and the label displayed was the image on the right.
Skyscape has taken a leaf out of Inklings business model and allow user’s to purchase individual sections at a reduced price rather than the whole book. Skyscape also offers an interesting ‘Rent a book’ offer where you can get access to the whole textbook for 12 months for a marginally reduced price ($71.95 vs. $76.95). The main difference is that renting a book includes access to any new editions that may be released within that year.
- Complete collection of anatomical illustrations covering the whole human body
- Numerous images cover anatomical areas from a number of views helping to understand the complex interplay between various anatomical structures.
- Opening a new page when selecting a label
- Resolution of images when magnified can be poor making the anatomy unclear
- Whilst Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy is expensive, it is a complete anatomy text with decent anatomical illustrations.
- The labeling system needs updating before it can be fully recommended as the app is difficult to use when a new page opens once a label has been selected.
- Similarly there are potentially a number of issues relating to the low resolution of images during magnification.
- Overall Skyscape’s version of Netter’s Atlas of Anatomy is a good anatomy atlas, although it is not a stand out contender.
Note: iPhone users can find our review of the Netter’s Musculoskeletal Flash Card app here.