Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Favourite iPhones Apps for Bushwalking, Hiking, the Outdoors and Fitness.

For about three weeks, I have been trialling a selection of free and paid iPhone apps, small applications for mobile phones, of which a small number may eventually meet my needs as a keen bushwalker (hiker), photographer and "naturalist".I have been overwhelmed by the variety of apps, their quality,  versatility and value. With a 32GB iPhone, I have plenty of room to experiment!

The key to versatility is the ability of iPhone 4 apps to integrate and multi-task in the background with the inbuilt compass, GPS, accelerometer and gyrometer, camera, video and music player. The high resolution touch screen makes many tasks such as map reading easier.

Some of these apps duplicate functions included in others, but offer them in a more user friendly manner or with more options. Be wary of free apps that include ads that will drive you mad with their insistence that you visit their website or depend for full functionality upon registering for  a website which then owns and shares your information and habits with third parties. Many of the free apps are "lite" versions of the full paid version and are made available so you can test the features before purchase.

In a previous post, I did a Google search and came up with a list of over 60 "outdoors" apps  which I then reduced to a smaller number for download especially those with a local flavour. I have intentionally omitted those that require registration on a website to work and those that can't use the UTM coordinate system, where this is critical. I have included "Lite" versions which allow you to trial the product free of charge before upgrading to the full paid version if you wish.

Over the next few weeks, I will review some of the best in more detail. Those that I have downloaded so far include the following :

Navigation
Gone Trekking Safety Outdoors: location aware safety notification app (Free version available)
MotionX GPS : attempts to bring many of the features of a dedicated handheld GPS, plus a sports and  fitness GPS, plus a geotagging camera into a single app (Free version available)
Map Overlay Tracer: overlay and trace maps directly on top of Google maps
Google Earth: explore your intended or current  location using 3D satellite imagery (free)
GeoLog Tag: acts as a GPS data logger and geotagging app (JPEG and RAW) for photos taken with any digital camera. (Free version available)
Declination: find your current magnetic declination based on the World magnetic mode. (Free)
Bit Map: offline map viewer for your own imported topographic  maps in standard image formats plus oz2 (Australian)
Map Tools: utility that lets users fully utilize coordinates. Converts between datums, including AGD66, AGD84,GDA94, NZGD49, coordinate systems, and map projections and calculates distances.
Convert Units; ideal for converting F to C, miles to km, quarts to litre, or with custom unit conversions km/hr to minutes per mile (Free)
Pocket Pedometer: specifically designed for walkers and runners, automatic movement detection, calibration, distance measure, calorie counter, conversion system. (Free version available)
Orienteering Compass : behaves just like an oil-bath compass with outer locking ring
BackToMyCar
: assures you of never forgetting where you parked again, take photo, turn by turn walking instructions, see distance and time left on meter. (Free)
Service Tools
No Signal: No cell service? In a dead zone? want to be notified when you can make calls again without taking the phone out of your pocket?
Photography
Photonasis has the biggest collection of photo effects on the app store  (Free)
Genius Scan: turns your iPhone into a pocket scanner, great for sending those trip intention forms you have just completed (Free) 
Photo Timer : capture group photos and self portraits
Flickit: keep your Flickr.com photostream up to date
Flickr: shoot, upload and share photos and videos: Geo-tag your photos or add them to a set. View your photos by set and tagBurst Mode: analyse fast events frame by frame eg bird flying
Remotomatic: make your iPhone a bluetooth remote controlled camera with self-timer shutter built-in.
Equipment
Camp and Hike: allows selection from a larger master list depending on duration, weather and type of trip.
ListPro : the ultimate list making toolkit (Free)
Reference
Australian. Birds (Michael Morcombe eGuide): a comprehensive collection of bird calls, sketches and a searchable, location aware database, which allows side by side comparisons.
Bird in hand; covers 23 of Tasmania’s common and endemic birds and includes bird calls, high quality pictures and information on their habitat, breeding, diet etc. Use the App while out bush to work out which call is which.
Star-Guide: displays the constellation to which your iPhone is pointing (Free)
Wikipanion: accessing Wikipedia has never been faster and easier eg do a search for Federation Peak, Tasmania and find out the history, location, climate, climbing routes and get photos.
Fitness
iWorkout Lite: Do you want a personal trainer in your pocket? metronome, pedometer, exercises, videos
Walkmeter: continually records your time, location, distance, elevation, and speed. See your results on maps, graphs, and a calendar, and organized by routes and activities. Monitor your progress with up to 20 configurable announcements including distance, time, speed, elevation, climb. Compete against your previous workouts along a route.
Pocket Pedometer (Free) measures distance, time, calories, steps with automatic calibration for walker. Battery saver turns off screen automatically.
First Aid/Emergency
Gone Trekking Safety Outdoors:  location aware safety notification app
MediProfiles: carry all the emergency medical information you need about your co-walkers in case you need it in a remote location. Published by St John Ambulance (Free)
TuneIn Radio: listen to and record over 40,000 radio stations via the internet including thousands of AM/FM local stations. Want the local weather forecast or fire danger report?
Utilities
Flashlight: the LED light on iPhone 4 and fills your screen with bright white light . Strobe for emergencies. Red light for night use.
KnotsGuidecontains 92 knots divided into 10 categories
Learning the Ropes- Navy Knots learn to tie navy knots with 3D animation and notes (Free)
GoodReader
: use it to view reference documents you have saved from the web. Super-robust PDF reader with advanced reading, annotating, markup and highlighting capabilities, excellent file manager, TXT file reader and editor, audio/video player, Safari-like viewer for MS Office and iWorks files.
Kindle
: gives users the ability to read Kindle books
Library : keep track of and share bushwalking books you have read, books you want to read, and books you are reading. (Free)
BooksApp Lite: easily catalog your entire book library, group related books together, recommend your favorite books to your friends and family and keep track of who has borrowed your books. Uses ISBN and scans barcode to import details including artwork. (Free. Limited)
Climbing Grade Converter : converts grades between 14 climbing grade systems including bouldering (Lite version is free but limited)
Weather
iBarometer: lets you easily know what is the pressure near you, using the internet. Great for calibrating your altimeter.
Pocket Weather AU: weather sourced directly from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) Keep up to date with weather alerts and extended forecasts.

Creative Commons License
This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

3 comments:

  1. AS you will guess, I have not tried many of these. The comments are taken directly from the iTunes website, but have been selectively abbreviated from a bushwalkers perspective.

    Your comments, from personal experience with these apps, would be particularly valuable to everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If you have Android instead, try Handy GPS on Google Play. This is a great bushwalking app which supports Australian map datums.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=binaryearth.handygpsfree

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HandyGPS is also available for iPhone now. Check out the App Store listing:

      https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=704471940&mt=8

      Delete