The iPhone for Bushwalkers?

Thanks to Extreme Tolerance

The iPhone 4.0  has many apps* which could be useful for bushwalkers, but will it ever replace the GPS for navigation? Will it replace your field guides, bird watching logbook and first aid book? Will the iPad with its large screen replace the iPhone in the field?

The iPhone is very versatile and has enormous potential, especially as a multimedia viewer of locality aware information, as an audio player of podcasts, as an eBook reader, or as a research tool, using its medium quality camera in combination with the GPS to produce geo-tagged photos and to record routes taken and locations.

Can you imagine a field guide which gives you the options based on your locality or listens to a bird call and brings up the image automatically? Perhaps a field guide that analyses a cropped photo you have just taken and recognises the the plant or animal from the field guide. Every wanted to be able to name a distant mountain range, based on its silhouette, the direction you are looking and your location?  Ever wished you could get instructions for CPR  and monitor your rate and number of compressions given? The iPhone would make an ideal bird watchers log book, with the recording of bird call, zoomed photo, and location all integrated with a bird identification database

Problems to be overcome before it becomes a versatile can’t-do-without tool for bushwalkers include:

  •     short battery life (chargers?)
  •     not waterproof (waterproof pouches?)
  •     can’t operate wearing gloves
  •     fragile: screen easily breakable (protection?)  

Apps for the iPhone for outdoors fall into several main categories:

  • weather: tides, surf, snow, avalanche
  • astronomy
  • photography
  • first aid/survival
  • field guides: geology, birds, plants, scats and tracks
  • navigation/geocaching
  • fitness/training
  • utilities: knots, flashlight

Some examples of useful “apps” for Australians

See also Some Great Uses of the iPhone for Bushwalkers

St John Ambulance iPhone apps:

  •    MediProfiles: keeps emergency medical information at your fingertips
  •    Resuscitate:  outlines St John DRABCD plan  and helps you locate a public access defibrillator
  •    First Aid: presents easy-to-read and step-by-step emergency first aid information

Bit Map By NIXANZ 

Bit Map is an offline map viewer for your own topographic or specialised maps. Store multiple maps on your iPhone, and switch between them. With Bit Map, you can view your own choice of maps, instead of generic maps chosen by somebody else, making it ideal for specialist maps with details not available on other mapping applications, such as highly detailed topographic maps obtained from your government mapping authority. Your topographic maps can also be viewed while offline with no cellphone or wifi network access, making it ideal for a wide range of outdoor pursuits including bushwalking, hiking, trekking, camping, cycling, touring. more…

Podcasts and Web Apps (Parks and Wildlife Service,  Tasmania 

Useful Links

Camping and Hiking Apps for iPhone
Top 5 iPhone Hiking Applications I Wouldn’t Mind Seeing (or Using)
Outdoor iPhone Apps: Guidebooks Go Mobile
The 25 Best Outdoor iPhone Apps 
12 iPhone Apps For Exploring the Great Outdoors 
iPhone Bird Guide Comparison

* apps = applications: small low cost or free programs which can run on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and can be purchased online 

View other related iPhone posts
Creative Commons License
This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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