After the first celebrated post 18 essential mobile applications for field trips, here you have the second one with 16 more apps. We have put more emphasis on those dedicated to hiking and routes. Whether you own an Android terminal or an iPhone, here you will find the application that best fits your needs in your nature trips.
MAPS AND GPS
It is imperative not to be disoriented during a mountain trip. In addition to the basic precautions you should know before you leave, a good maps application becomes necessary… as well as one or two extra batteries!
ORUXMAPS – MOTIONX GPS
Just for Android, OruxMaps is a GPS tracker, allowing us to create our tracks and follow them on the map. We will be able to share our position with our colleagues and you’ll see their position too.
The app also allows us to download tracks created by other users from different sites such as Wikiloc and a lot of more pages that we can find in the developer’s website. Then we can save them in our phone and use the app offline.
It can also be synchronized with external devices such as bluetooth GPS or pulsometers like Polar, Zephy… and we can create and save points of interest.
The application is free and to get the latest version or an earlier version you can download it from the official site. Currently on Google Play we find the donation version (3.03 euros).
The alternative for iPhone is MotionX GPS (1,99 euros), with features quite similar to OruxMaps.
Naturapss offers us hiking trails in Spain adapted to our needs and level. You can search for routes by length, difficulty and type of route. In addition you can search by location and keywords. Because it works offline we will not have to worry about mobile coverage. You can also include your routes and sponsor them to boost your territory. It’s free and its unlimited Pro version costs 11 euros.
It was awarded as the best active tourism app in FITUR 2014 and was a finalist for the 2014 WSA-M World Contest.
Alpify is a GPS locator for emergencies that sends our position to our friends and relatives if we are in a trip in the mountains (or we are going to travel, or to a party, or to locate elderly people or children…) and warns them if we have arrived to our destination. It consists of an emergency button that immediately notifies the emergency services in case of an accident. It operates in Spain, France, Venezuela and Chile.
Simple but effective free application to know the name of any mountain just by pointing our mobile at it. No internet connection required. It also gives us information on shelters, bivouacs, fountains and more points of interest in Spain for a donation of 60 cents.
You may also be interested in other applications with the same feature which we discussed in a previous article, also for non-Spanish peaks.
If you spend the night in the countryside or if you live in it, you need another map, a map of the sky. Of all the star maps we have tested (including Google Sky Maps), we prefer definitely Star Chart. It is free (if you want to observe more objects you’ll have to pay) and even has a version for virtual reality glasses (VR).
Simply point your device to the sky to recognize stars, constellations, planets, galaxies, meteor showers, artificial satellites… If you click on it you’ll get a multitude of astronomical data such as distance to Earth, size, etc.
It also has other interesting feature such as tours, to make virtual trips to any point in the Solar System.
Natusfera Is an application adapted from iNaturalist (we review it here) developed by CREAF (Ecological and Forestry Applications Research Centre).
It is a project of citizen science that allows us to:
- Save and share your observations in nature.
- Connect with other users to help you identify and expand your knowledge
- Help scientists obtain data on the distribution of species
- Contribute to existing projects or create your own projects
FossilMe allows you to identify a fossil correctly and classify it in your collection. The information is stored in the cloud, so you will never lose it. You can geolocate the fossils that you find and visualize them in an interactive world map.
Like other applications, FossilMe is also a social network where you can share your fossils and ask other users for help, as well as keep up-to-date on news related to paleontology. The section “Market” allows to exchange, sell or buy fossils. At the moment it is only available for Android but the iOS version is expected soon.
A paleontological encyclopedia in your pocket developed by a biology student, with information on 96 species of plants and animals.
The application is structured by geological periods, each with its interactive paleogeographic map, information on the most important events, chronology on the evolution of life, etc. It also has a quiz with 325 questions to test your knowledge. The application is in English and Lithuanian and works totally offline.
If you want to learn more about fossils you can visit Knowing fossils and their age.
AUDUBON FIELD GUIDES
the National Audubon Society is an American NGO dedicated to the conservation of nature, one of the oldest in the world.
Its best-known app is the North American Bird Field Guide. You can identify more than 800 species of birds and get information about their appearance, call, maps with migratory routes… eBird functionality locates birds seen near you.
It also exists a version about California birds y and owls.
Audobon has field guides of almost any subject: mammals, fish, insects, spiders, reptiles, butterflies, mushrooms, flowers, trees, African wildlife… take a look at the full list here.
If you are a more advanced bird watcher or a professional ornithologist in North America or Hawaii, the iBird applications are the ones you are looking for. You’ll have to pay for them, but they offer a multitude of options that will allow you to save your observations in great detail or to access to complete field guides.
Do you own Google Glasses? With the app Glass Birds you only have to look at the bird, ask them to recognize it and the information will appear on the screen.
Applications range from guides for beginners who watch birds in their garden, to pro, plus or ultimate guides, both for iOS, Android, Kindle or Windows 8.
Mosquito alert is a citizen science platform coordinated by CREAF with the support of “Obra Social la Caixa” to make research and and control mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as Dengue or Zika.
Through the app we can take a photo of tiger mosquitoes or yellow fever mosquitoes and send it. The data, once reviewed by experts, are placed on the map and help scientists to detect and control their spreading.
Mosquito Alert is recognized by the United Nations for being an example of a citizen science project that fights for human health globally.
BOTANY AND MYCOLOGY
You see a tree, you take a picture of the leaf and you automatically get the identification of the species. This is what LeafSnap does: it analyzes the shape of the photographed leaf and compares it with the species database of North America (East) and Canada. There is also a UK version.
Thanks to the geolocation we can save the location of the tree, and in addition to the identification, it will give us information about the flowering season, photos of leaves, fruits and seeds, where it grows…
It is only available for iPhone. For a similar app for Android and iPhone, see Pl@ntnet.
Like Audubon, NatureMobile offers us field guides on different topics, although here we find more variety on botany and mycology: fruits and berries, wild fruits and herbs, mushrooms, medicinal plants, trees, fruits and exotic vegetables.
On animals we can even find guides on breeds of dogs, cats, horses, birds and fish.
The guides are in English, French and/or German and they have a free Lite version and a Pro versions. They also include questionnaires to check our knowledge.
It is avaliable for Android and iPhone. Check the complete listing and download them from here.
ORCHIDS AND IBERIAN TREES
Two offline field guides from the same developer to identify orchids and native trees from the Iberian Peninsula, including Spain, Portugal, Andorra and the Balearic Islands. More information on species can be found on their website as well as a dichotomous identification key.
They cost 7-8 euros depending on the version for Android or iPhone.
Árboles ibéricos: Orquídeas ibéricas:
If you want to find out more about orchids, don’t miss the post Orchids: different colours and shapes for everyone.
Do you know more apps? Would you share them with us in the comments?
- Cover photo
- The rest of photographs were obtained from the corresponding stores.