Wednesday, 13 February 2013
iPhone Apps for the Great Outdoors
I’ve been asked by quite a few friends recently what are some of the best apps when it comes to finding your way around in the wild. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would consider this heresy but when if comes to nature there’s room for everyone. Here are a few of the apps that I personally use and think can accentuate the outdoor experience.
Chirp+ £1.99 - This is a great app for identifying and learning bird songs. Most of the European breeds are included often with multiple calls for each bird. When you’re not outdoors you can listen through specific birds song or watch a slideshow swat up and then take the test when you think you are ready. With a little time you’ll be amazed how much it changes your perspective of a walk in the country.
Spyglass A.R. £2.49 – Spyglass is a massively useful app for any outdoor enthusiast with far too many uses to go into in any depth without boring the majority of people. Spyglass utilizes every sensor the phone has available to provide a vast amount data, on the screen via an Augmented Reality type head up display (HUD). I personally use it to remember locations of wild plants or patches where I’ve found mushrooms, the beauty of it is that unlike nearly all other apps out there you won’t require a signal to use it (once your location has been defined). As well as this Spyglass can also be used as a speedometer, sextant, compass, range finder, waypoints tool and inclinometer.
Star Walk £1.99 – Have you ever looked up at the stars and wondered what’s out there? Of course you have! Star walk can tell you a huge amount about the night sky, simply fire it up and point your iphone to the stars. The app again uses augmented reality to tell you the names of the stars, planets and galaxies as you point your phone at them. It will also give you the rising and setting times of the sun and any planet that will be visible in the sky that night. On top this there is a search function, simply type in name of the star, satellite, galaxy or planet you are looking for and it will point you in the right direction. Other functions include a calendar to inform of events in the near future, a time function so you can look at what the sky looked like all the back to 1600 and my favourite which points out the places in the sky to watch for meteor showers.
Find Friends Free – My friends and I often set off from different locations to meet up in rather ramdom parts of the countryside, the find friends app makes it very easy for us to located each other by showing everyone location on the same map. To get it set up you have to email you friend to request permission and hey presto they appear on the app. You and your friends have the option to turn off sharing your location at any time to maintain your privacy. Over all just very useful to have even in town!
Rogers Mushrooms £1.49 – This is a digitally enhanced version of the book “Mushrooms and other fungi of Great Britain and Europe” by Roger Phillips. I guess RM Mushrooms is a little punchier! It uses a key system to help you identify wild mushrooms you find which is the preferred method of professional mycologists. RM Mushrooms has over 2400 colour photos and 1550 species listed to help identify what you are looking at also whether it is poisonous, hallucinogenic, or edible. As a word of warning I’d say never EVER identify a mushroom you plan to eat by photo alone, there are often similar looking species which will do you no good at all.
The Foragers Apprentice £1.99 – This app is a great start for anyone wanting to learn about wild food and foraging created by the highly acclaimed Ashburton Cookery School. You can search by the habitat you find yourself in be it Beach, Hedgerow or Woodland. Also included are some useful if basic recipes to give you some inspiration on what your wild haul can be used for.
tideApp Free – Personally I don’t live that close to the coast so when I do make the journey down there I like to know what the tides doing. This is mainly because I’ll be out looking for food in the intertidal areas and getting the tide right makes the difference between a muddy walk and a scuba diving mission. tideApp includes tidal information for 4,364 ports worldwide with tidal forecasting up to 2029 so you have plenty of time to plan your beach trip in advance.
That’s my list for now, please let me know what you think and if you have any other recommendations I’d love to hear them.