Tag Archives: technology

How to Keep your iPhone Charged in the Outdoors

The iPhone has a reputation for using up batteries fast, but the new iPhone 4 seems to have an improved battery life, despite its ability to “multi-task”. You must however be extremely careful though that power draining apps such as wi-fi, bluetooth, and the GPS are not working continuously. Turn it off in the bush when you are not using it!

Despite all of this, there is little doubt that the iPhone will not last more than 6 hours with heavy use eg if using the GPS  or compass continuously. This of course is not long enough for an overnight hike, let alone a 5 day backpacking trip.

There are some obvious ways to keep a smartphone charged:

  • replace the batteries when they are flat
  • trickle charge with a solar panel
  • USB connection to computer
  • connect to an AC power supply
  • connect to an external battery pack

Well, the batteries of the iPhone are not replaceable, so that only leaves four alternatives.

I have just bought a PowerMonkey eXplorer, which offers all four options. It is available online from Paddy Pallin’s store at a bargain price for members. (PS I have been a member for more years than I can remember but I don’t stand to gain from this recommendation.)

PowerMonkey eXplorer (PowerTraveller)

There are alternatives to the PowerMonkey eXplorer (PowerTraveller) but none that I am aware of offers all 4 options.

  • Rechargeable Battery pack:  Energizer AP1201
  • Solar Charger only: try Powertraveller website below
  • Universal AC charger with adapters: comes with the iPhone too
  • USB connector: comes with the iPhone too

Why did I choose the PowerMonkey eXplorer?

  • Good quality for the price, rugged body and water resistant
  • Works with other battery operated devices such as cameras, phones, iPods, PDAs
  • Versatile: battery pack, solar charger which can hang from your pack or tent, AC power adapters for most overseas countries
  • Comprehensive range of adapters to suit most devices
  • Consistently good reviews on the web going back several years
  • Capacity to give 3 full charges for your iPhone in ideal conditions

If you haven’t seen the need for additional battery for your iPhone check out some of these articles:

Read a current review or visit the manufacturer/s website

Powertraveller Powermonkey eXplorer Review from FitTechnica
Powertraveller website

NB This product has been around since at least January 2008 and has undergone several improvements since its release. Be careful in placing too much faith in early reviews as there have been improvements.

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.


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 :

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
: 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?


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.


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)


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.


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?


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)
: 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.
: 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)


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.

Some Great Uses of the iPhone for Bushwalkers

For an update see: Bushwalking Equipment | Can I Really Do Without a Smartphone?

The iPhone 4 has many features which make it suitable for bushwalking and some which don’t. The built in GPS and compass, 5 Mb camera  with geo-tagged photos, the HD video recorder, its multimedia capabilities and its voice controlled mobile phone and wi-fi communications make it ideal.

I have just bought an iPhone 4 from Telstra, as they have better coverage, especially in regional and remote areas, and have being trying to find some iPhone apps* which might be useful. It wasn’t difficult!
Here are some links to useful iPhone apps for the outdoors. The descriptions below are from the iTunes Store.

Simple slider motion to contact emergency services and launch RESCUE app (all functionality requires connection and access to local cellular and 3G/Edge or Wifi networks) Automatically detects new country and inserts appropriate local emergency number Sends 4 sms/email messages to your contacts with an emergency message and location. Provides your emergency call back number in case you have a private or blocked number. Loud audio alarm to warn bystanders, predators, or yourself, that the RESCUE app has been activated. Hyperlinked messages to Google maps so your location is instantly known. 60 second countdown to automatically call emergency services, in case you cannot. Ease of operation during emergencies

 Rescue@ helps locating you when calling an emergency number. In an emergency and needs help? But unsure where you are? By using Rescue@ when calling the emergency service you will be able to provide that critical, and maybe even life-saving, information to the emergency service personnel. The application works by first locating you using the location service on your iPhone. This location will then be saved as a contact name when pressing the “Call emergency”-button within the application. You can then read your location out loud by simply looking at the contact name in the caller-ID screen. 

If you’re ever in a tight spot or emergency just press “Rescue Me!” and this application will send your location to your Twitter followers, and Facebook friends, and email account you set. This alarm message will come in the form of longitude and latitude coordinates, a Google Maps link, and a help message (which you can set) to ensure you can be found. The online society and your friends can take care of you. RescueMe can be a lifesaving tool.

Rescue Light is a simple app but very functional that can help you at various times. Need a red alert light? This is the app.

Stroboscope and Torch Light – FlashLight ! iStrobo is an application that turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a stroboscope. Define its frequency and start the stroboscope !

MorseEmergency is an application that sends a light SOS Morse signal through the screen of your iPhone or iPod touch. In some circumstances, long distance, noise… a light signal is the only message that can be sent or received.  

Send SOS alerts in Morse code with the blink of your screen!

In a swiftwater rescue scenario, it is useful to determine how far a person in the water has travelled downstream so that the search area may be narrowed and more effectively conducted. Although the math for determining this distance is relatively straightforward, it requires precious time that could be better used elsewhere. Mistakes may also be made in a high-stress situation, which may also cost time.

SAS Survival Lite is the FREE version of the complete SAS Survival Guide, available now in the app store. Based on the million-copy best selling book, this fantastic free app provides you with a bare bones guide to wilderness survival. Jam-packed with basic survival tools, you’ll be equipped for any expedition to the outdoors with this entry-level guide in your arsenal.

SAS Survival Lite is the FREE version of the complete SAS Survival Guide, available now in the app store. Based on the million-copy bestselling book, this fantastic free app provides you with a bare bones guide to wilderness survival. Jam-packed with basic survival tools, you’ll be equipped for any expedition to the outdoors with this entry-level guide in your arsenal.

Don’t panic! You have a survivalist in your pocket. iSurvive marries common sense to meticulous technique. This application addresses the essential needs of wilderness survival. iSurvive instructs the user, with concise language and detailed photo illustrations to tie knots, construct shelters, set snares, start fires, and find clean drinking water. It also serves as a quick reference for First Aid, Navigation, Weather, Rescue and more.

NOW you are able to send your location via email or SMS wherever you want whenever you want…A simple application that shows the user the exact geographic location in degrees, minutes and seconds. Along with that you can get the course in degrees and the speed in 3 different units (km/h, nm/h, mi/h).

First Aid

With Sun Alert you can calculate the maximal sun exposure time from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Whether you are at the beach, climbing mountains, skiing, walking, jogging or working outdoors you need to protect your skin from the UV radiation and thereby lower the risk of adverse health effects.

MediProfiles gives you peace of mind by having all of your Friends, Family and Co-worker’s emergency medical information at your finger tips. (St Johns)
Resuscitate focuses on the importance of the St John DRABCD Action Plan. The DRABCD Action Plan is used by First Responders around the world as primary assessment for every casualty. Included in the App is a powerful proximity sensor that locates your nearest St John Ambulance Public Access Defibrillator (PAD).

‘First Aid’ is Australia’s only iPhone app that presents step-by-step emergency First Aid information to the user with a large clear image for each step. (St Johns)

Know when and how much to drink before, during and after sports. 
Hydri-Assist helps ensure you are consuming enough fluid. Simply enter in your pre-workout wight, and then your post-workout weight (plus how much fluid you consumed in-between), Hydri-Assist will let you know how dehydrated you are, as well as how much fluid you should consume post-workout.


Allows users to find the distance between 2 or more points by simply tapping a path along a map. No addresses to enter or search for. No dragging pins around. 

Fully customizable activity planner with training history, calorie graphs, audio feedback and in depth workout plans with targets. As you exercise you can see your time, pace, speed, calories burned, training intervals, splits, view map in real time, take photos, listen to iPod music and receive audio feedback on your progress. When you have finished your activity you can view your activity history with stats, route map and splits. View cumulative graphs for distance and calories burned. View your personal best. View your photos and share your activity with friends on the Walk Tracker Website

The intuitive and easy-to-use interface of the app makes it easy to track how far you went, how long it took, what your pace/speed was, how many calories you burned, and the path you traveled on a map. Once your activity is completed, the data is synced to the RunKeeper website (www.runkeeper.com) where you can view a history of all of your activities, and cumulative totals of all of your vital stats. You can also share your progress with friends by posting your activities to Facebook and Twitter, and creating a profile page that allows people to view all of your public activities. (Free version available)


The Map and Land Navigation app is the U.S. Army’s official training guide to map reading, determining location, and navigating and includes over 600 pages of great content.


Bit Map is an offline map viewer for your own topographic or specialised maps in standard image formats (eg, PNG, JPEG) or .OZF2 map images. 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. 


With the push of a button, let other GPS Tracking users know where you are or request their location. GPS Tracking populates your iPhone’s built-in Google Maps with the locations of people in your private “opt-in” buddy list, as soon as they approve your request. It’s an interactive friend-finder, party-starter, child-locator, social networker and much more — a must-have, “Where are you? I’m here!” visual locating app. Push notification and GPS must be on for App to work. (Free version available)


For users with older iPhones without a built-in compass: this app will determine the direction you are facing based on GPS readings taken while you are moving. The app takes this reading and allows you to see the direction you are heading on a Google map. You can also choose to rotate the map so your direction is always shown straight ahead…this capability was previously only available to 3GS owners with a built in compass!


Turns your iPhone into a handheld GPS with compass and complete trip tracking!


Topos2Go Free allows you to view topographic maps. You can download freely available maps and store them on your device for use without WiFi or cell access. The full version of Topos2Go adds the ability to locate your position on maps and import/export waypoints.

Exact Altimeter for Australia

Uses different ways to determine your altitude. It has built in elevation database, and it can get your altitude from online altitude service. Furthermore, it shows you the altitude given by the built in gps. Additionally it provides information about the nearest settlement.


Calculates the distance of a thunder storm by measuring the time between a lightning and the corresponding thunder.


Gone Trekking is a location aware safety notification application for outdoor adventurers. The application utilizes the GPS, Google maps, calendar and camera features of the iPhone. Gone Trekking enables the user to record their departure, destination and waypoint information. The application also enables the user to email or post a Twitter message containing their trip details and maps. Video (Free version available)


FiresAU is about bringing bushfire awareness close to you if you live in Australia (NSW, Tasmania, SA). Where is the nearest fire to me? Is it where I need to go? Will I need to deal with one on the way?


Designed for adventure runners, ultra marathon runners or just about anyone who wants to track their location whilst out and about. Adventure Tracker is designed to run in the background and update your location to the server every 10 minutes. Adventure Tracker can update your position for up to 20 hours with a single battery charge. Data is automatically uploaded to the Adventure Tracker website where you can view your tracks or send tracking links to friends. If you are in an area where there is no mobile reception such as out in the woods or in a foreign country Adventure tracker caches all the data it is unable to send to the server so you can upload it over WIFI or 3G when available.


Track Trip uses the GPS receiver in your iPhone to record your location as you walk, run, bike or drive. This can be done in the background and uploaded every 10 minutes saving the battery. 


Users can search for a recipe based on the type of food and ingredients necessary to make the perfect meal. This is the first application that allows users to plan meals for an entire camping trip. Pick the number of days and campers and let the application do the rest. Generate shopping and equipment lists so you never forget an essential ingredient at home. 


Nothing is worse than driving 80 miles down the road for a glorious few days of backpacking, hiking, fishing and relaxing to find that you have left at home a few really essential items. You’ll be disappointed, and your entire trek could be ruined. Even Fido will feel the frustration. You can edit the extensive lists.


Huge list of items to consider
– Super easy to mark
– – what you’re going to bring
– – what you might bring
– – what’s already packed
– Add anything you find missing (or change or delete items)
– Group items by function
– Plan where to get your items (e.g., supermarket, sporting goods store, attic, garage cabinet)
– Indicate the weight of items (that we haven’t already weighed)
– Provide an estimate of what you’ll be hauling along the trail
– Store and switch between your gear lists for multiple trips
– See the weights of items according to the “status” you assign to them and by how you use it
– You control the order of categories in the main checklist
– Use metric or English units 


Animated Knots by Grog is simply the best and most comprehensive teaching and reference tool for boaters, climbers, fishermen, scouts and hobbyists. Watch as knots tie themselves in simple step-by-step photo animations. Use the manual controls to step through the animations frame by frame as you learn each knot. Tap the info button to get detailed descriptions about each knot’s correct use, advantages and disadvantages, and other information.


A SIMPLE quick reference collection of different knots. Currently the application contains 92 knots divided into 10 categories. (Free)


Tying knots is a vital skill to have in the Royal Australian Navy. With this handy tool, learn to tie different Navy knots with 3D animated tutorials and facts. (Free)


Knots, Splices and Rope Work’ is the complete original 1917 classic treatise by A. Hyatt Verrill, the renowned American inventor, author, illustrator, archaeologist, explorer, zoologist and friend of former President Theodore Roosevelt.


Search Google quickly using your voice, pictures, and location. Google Mobile App includes the following features:
* New! Google Goggles – use pictures to search the web. Goggles recognizes things such as landmarks, books, wine, artwork, and logos.
* Search by voice – speak your queries in natural language. Simply hold your iPhone to your ear and say your query.
(Supports American, British, Indian or Australian English accents, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Czech, Polish and Korean.)
* My Location – avoid typing your current location when searching for nearby businesses (e.g. “pizza” or “starbucks”)
* Google Suggest – tap suggested web search queries and local businesses that appear as you type
* Search history – quickly search again for queries you recently performed
* Contact search – search your phone’s contacts.
* Vertical search – search Google Maps, Images, News, and Shopping


Weekly goals for calories, time, or distance
– Workout tracking and history
– Body weight tracking system and charts
– Achievement system
– Twitter integration
– Personal weight tracking
– System designed by Personal Trainer


iTrail is an all-in-one, in-your-pocket, sports performance tracking tool, and GPS recording application. Whether you are running, cycling, walking, skiing, or drive, use iTrail to record your performance and location as you move. iTrail will work in the background whilst you listen to music, talk a call or anything else. iTrail uses iPhone’s GPS receiver. 


The LogYourHike iPhone App uses the built-in GPS of the iPhone as well as the built-in accelerometer of the iPhone and iPod Touch to measure the distance of your exercise activities. By working both as a pedometer and a GPS device you do not have to wait to get good satellite reception to start your run – the pedometer will measure your distance when the GPS signal is poor.


Forecast & observation data for hundreds of areas around Australia. Select it via GPS, Map or list.
– Push current temp, text forecasts and state,regional and local warnings to your iPhone (NEW in 2.1)
– Custom interface for browsing BOM warnings, all nicely formatted for your iPhone
– Tide graphs for hundreds of locations around Australia
– National Rain, Satellite and Synoptic Chart
– Animated weather icons
– Sunrise/sunset times
– All of the BOM rain and wind doppler radars with Find/Track me function as well as the ability to have it auto update (see ‘Live Radar’ in settings)
– National rain & cloud radars & Synoptic chart
– Extended forecasts for regional areas
– Give your locations custom names
– Shake to refresh, simply shake your phone to refresh the data
– Realtime UV support for some locations
– Last update is always cached, so you don’t need a network connection to check the weather for the week, once you’ve got it once.
– Updates are tiny (less than 10kb) so you don’t have to worry about your iPhone data cap.
– Supports landscape and portrait view, and in landscape you get all the information on a single page. 


– 7 day forecasts for more than 250 official forecast locations
– Detailed local observations, typically updated every 10 mins
– Each forecast location includes up to 6 nearest official observation locations, accessible by side-scrolling action.
– 50 rain radar locations around Australia
– The radar view also has a “Locate Me” feature which queries the iPhone’s GPS and then centres the radar map on your current location along with an animated crosshair cursor.
– Radar data delivery has been carefully optimised to arrive quickly on your iPhone
  (Free version available)


1) It uses GPS to show your location on the radar.
2) Oz Radar supports full screen landscape view.
3) National cloud and synoptic charts.

Time and Australian Weather, a match made in heaven. Weather sourced directly from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) displayed elegantly alongside the current time. 


iBarometer is an application pretty, simple, accurate, and efficient. It lets you easily know what is the pressure near you. Contrary to standard applications (with predefined cities), this version of the barometer will give you precisely the pressure of where you are. It integrates its own conversion system.


World Tides uses the Simply Harmonic Formula and harmonic constants provided by the UKHO to give 7 day tide predictions without the need for an internet connection. Features: Moon/Sun Rise/Set times, large slidable tide graph, recent locations, built in zoomable map, gps sensor, search, and details page.


Moonlight features a photorealistic display using OpenGL rendering technique that paints the moon’s current appearance including all variations in distance, equatorial ecliptic angle and moon libration. The program takes the observer’s (that is you) current position and time into account for exact rendering of images. Alternatively, you can enter your own coordinates and view the moon from anywhere in the world. Go into time warp mode and accelerate time: Fast forward or rewind to see how the moon changes over time.Moonlight not only displays a pretty 3D image but also shows various essential data points: moon phase, distance between earth and moon, julian date or local sideral time.

Wooly Wind Chill plus ground Speed 

Calculate wind chill temperature by simply selecting the air temperature and wind speed. The calculated wind chill temperature is displayed “on the fly”.For those who travel by bike, motorcycle, boat, or other means where you find yourself exposed to the elements while in motion, Wooly Wind Chill now has the option to calculate the approximate effective wind chill based your current moving speed (not factoring for actual wind speeds).

Field Guides

Pictoral database of common gemstones, with high-resolution images. Over 2000 gems are included. The images in this app are categorized by Varietal (Agate, Amethyst, etc.) This app includes some information about the gemstone, such as location found, habit, shape, hue, tone, etc. This app is mainly aimed at students, professors, scientists, hobbyists, and those in the field who wish for help identifying gemstones, or learn a bit about what they’re seeing in the field. 


This app brings back the ancient knowledge of former generations: Here you will find out how to identify conclusively a thundercloud and what kind of weather can be expected in what time frame when you see fleecy clouds. Here you will find out if it is going to rain when the spider stops spinning its web and much, much more. With detailed descriptions of all cloud types and the weather they bring
– Complete cloud atlas with all cloud families, species and types according to the International Cloud Atlas of the WMO (World Meteorological Organization)
– Large photo gallery with over 70 examples of all cloud types


Michael Morcombe’s Field Guide to Australian Birds has been called the most comprehensive field guide to Australian birds in the market today and now it is perfectly complimented by the eGuide which features:
-iPhone optimised controls   swipe to next or previous species, one-tap enlargement of an image and rotate the device (landscape) to enlarge an image completely (and fit the width of the screen).
-Over 3000 hi-res bird images covering over 790 bird species.
-Most bird species have a detailed distribution map showing any subspecies that occur.
-Detailed text descriptions of almost all bird species including songs and calls, measurements and breeding behaviour.
-Over 1800 carefully-selected and edited sound recordings for over 600 species. Many species are represented with multiple call examples showing the full range of vocalizations.
-The ability to compare any two images, maps, or sounds, side by side on the screen. The ability to filter by geographic location, so that you see only the species likely to occur in your location, and to further reduce the possibilities to usual or vagrant species in the selected area.
-A  Smart Search  that gives the ability to search by distinguishing features such as size, colour, physical features, habitat and exclude certain types of birds (eg. Passerines).
-A basic personal species list that stores your sightings saved to the device* (ability to upload list coming soon)
-A comprehensive help and introduction section to help you if you get stuck or don t understand how a certain feature works.


Need a quick and easy way to keep track of bird sightings? This app makes adding sightings in the field quick and easy with these features:
– Quickly search through a complete list of over 800 Australian bird species using common name, scientific name, or “alpha code” abbreviations.
– Automatically connect to web resources to help verify your sightings, including Flickr images, Google images, and Wikipedia articles. Access a wealth of birding info without huge downloads hogging space on your device.
– Save and manage your frequently used birding locations with gps tracking and map view.
– Annotate your observations with notes and protocol information.
– Export your data as a .csv file that can be opened with spreadsheet applications or submitted to birding websites.


Displays the sky view at the correct orientation when held at any angle not just landscape or portrait. Simple operation, no buttons to press or modes to select, just point to the sky to start exploring. Unique rotation scheme enables touchless navigation even for the iPod touch without a compass.
Many features specifically for efficient outdoor use. Red light mode to preserve night vision, magnitude adjustment for viewing conditions, planets shown with relative brightness for easy identification, touchless navigation, heads up information display, full 180 degree display to see at a glance what is in the sky and where. Looking for a planet or star? Just use the finder and let the arrow guide the way.


The App 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.

Birds of Australia

This application includes up-to-date Wikipedia entries and pictures of over 700 birds native to Australia. Prepare for your birdwatching activity by downloading (caching) all articles and images on your iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad (approx. 600 MB). Reference the guide when outdoors without an Internet connection. Over 700 birds grouped into 93 species families!!!
Key Features
* Wikipedia articles cached complete with full large images. Simply click on any image in a cached article to view the large image.
* Image Picker
* search capabilities
* landscape & portrait modes
* Wikipedia pages formatted for iPhone display
* Cache update from server resumes where last stopped
* Server will be updated periodically with new entries and updated data from wikipedia.

Trip Records
outdoor-adventure-blogs (Free)

Stay up to date with the latest Outdoor activity and lifestyle blogs, ideas and adventure writings with heaps of news and posts preloaded into this app and being constantly updated by some of the most engaging bloggers in the world. You can also use the Outdoor Blog Reader as your main news/blog reader because you can easily add your favorite rss feeds on any topic via the “Add Blog via URL” or “Search Blog via Keyword” features.

Blog Reader features include:

* Heaps of pre-loaded blogs
* Search Blogs via Keyword
* Add Blog via URL
* Read blogs offline
* Checks for new Blog posts when you launch
* Delete, move or add blogs
* Categories
* Email blog posts to your friends
* View in posts in Safari
* Unread posts indicated by number
* Help for Blog Reader functions

Trip Journal allows you to document vacation experiences and share them with your friends and family. Impress everybody with real time updates from the visited destinations and let people see proof of your latest adventures, as your journey unfolds.
* software applications downloaded  from the iTunes store.

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
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Why use navigation software with your GPS?

MacGPS Pro screen capture

Navigation software has many advantages over using a map, compass and measuring device to plan a route. Two of the best are the time savings and the increased accuracy.

For many people a key advantage will be the ability to zoom in and enlarge what you see, making it easier to count contours and recognise symbols. For others it will be the ability to position the cursor on the map at a point of interest and read the grid reference with high accuracy, without any need to physically measure.

For most, it will be to plan a route, by clicking a series of carefully selected waypoints, naming them and then exporting the waypoints to a  kml file, which can be viewed in Google Earth. If like me, you have a lightweight small screen GPS eg Garmin Geko 201,  then the time saving is enormous, compared to having to enter each waypoint manually using the rocker button, to repetitiously scroll through the alphabet.

Garmin Geko 201

Want to get a bearing between two points? Simply click your cursor at the first point and drag to the second and read the result.

Want to measure the distance along a route? Simply click a series of points along the route, the closer together the more accurate,  and then read the result.

Want to see how your actual route compared with that planned? Simply import your GPS data back into your computer and look at the points on your map.

Your mapping software is your interface between your map and your GPS and as such, the quality of your map is critical, but that’s another story for later.


For Mac users:

Navigation software: MacGPS Pro
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Can my GPS replace my map?

Ever thought that with the purchase of your upmarket colour screen GPS that you don’t need to take a map with you any longer? Wrong, wrong, wrong …..

Many years experience with using GPS on bushwalks has convinced me otherwise.

Ever had your batteries go flat at a critical time? Ever had your GPS freeze and then reset itself to factory settings wiping all your waypoints and routes when you have rebooted it? Ever dropped your “waterproof” GPS onto rocks and had it bounce into a nearby waterhole and then slowly sink as it fills with water? Ever struggled with the buttons on your GPS  in the dark while wearing gloves?

Well I have and that’s why I always take a map as my primary navigation tool.

I use my GPS to check my location at each stop, to find a difficult campsite or waterhole, or the precise turn off from a ridge line down a spur. I haven’t yet, but I might one day use TRACKBACK to return to a previous known point when I am geographically embarrassed. I sometimes use it to estimate walking speed so I can estimate how long it will take to reach a campsite. With some GPS you can determine sunset, sunrise and tides, which can be very useful information on some bushwalks. I have used it to find altitude and therefore help me determine my location on a known track or to work out how much further it is up to a saddle. Of course some of these can be done with a map alone, but often it involves calculations and looking for labelled contour lines.

Normally I don’t have my GPS turned on continuously during a walk but there are times when its fun to get back home and be able to trace a difficult or off-track route on a map or Google Earth or to determine your walk profile using elevations. If you take lots of photos, there is software that will link you photos with the GPS location using your time log, assuming you have the clock on your camera set correctly to the same time -zone.

I use my map to give me the big picture, orientate myself, show local topography and allow me to follow my route continuously by reading “map-to-ground” and by “thumbing” the map. It takes lots of practice but is very rewarding. I actually enjoy map reading, anticipating what I will see around the bend and looking at my surroundings as I walk. As my map reading skills improve, I find myself using a GPS less and less.

The danger with a GPS is that you are so engrossed looking at the screen that you don’t actually see your surroundings. If you become “lost” then you have no mental image of the route you have taken to get you back to a known point.

Murphy’s Law can be guaranteed to ensure that at the point when you need it most that your GPS will fail!

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Tackling an Ageing and Falling Club Membership Part 3

Using Some Web 2.0 Technologies to Improve and Retain Club Members (Part 3)

Blogs (online diaries like this)

Do you want your Association/Club’s web page to be easily found in a Google search by potential new members?

 One of the best ways is to have new content appearing on your website regularly and what could be easier for your webmaster than having a member’s blog. Even better, good content will encourage others to link to your blog, positioning your website even higher in web searches. The more “followers” your blog has the better so offer the opportunity for people to choose to get automatic updates when you add to your blog.

Do you want greater ownership and participation from your members?

A blog encourages interaction between members and it is this interaction that is more important than the content itself in retaining members. Younger members are familiar with and welcome this high level of interaction that is missing from most conventional club websites. Your club leaders should take the opportunity to browse you club blog and to interact with new members

It is possible have contributions and comments automatically ranked and use this as a guide to what is popular and to respond and provide more of the same.

Why have a boring website that no one reads?

Sharing Photos and Videos.

Improve Club spirit by encouraging members to add photos and videos to your gallery. Organise an annual club photo and/or video competition using free web 2.0 photo sharing sites such as Flickr,  Picassa and YouTube. Don’t just upload members photos to your gallery, but ask them to comment and rate the photos posted. Offer prizes for the best in a variety of categories, using online voting.

Improve Participation by Improving Communication

Do you struggle to get “new blood” on your Committee? Have you thought about running Committee meetings online for those who can’t make it due to other commitments? How can members be reminded of Club events in a way that can’t easily be ignored?

 There are many programs around which allow you to chat with others and  to share good quality video and audio free of charge.

SMS is universal – nearly everyone has a mobile phone; it’s instant – messages are normally delivered in 10 seconds or less; and it’s reacted to by most people, more so than letters, emails or phone calls.

Why not try some of the ideas above? 

Don’t expect  to see a rapid uptake as it takes time for inhibitions to be overcome and for web 2.0 technologies to be accepted by those who are only familiar with the old paper copy or fax. Many people are happy to read a blog but feel embarrassed about commenting.

“Seed” your blog  by asking Committee members to regularly contribute until momentum takes hold.

Other posts in this series can be found by clicking on the membership tag on the right of this page
Post Options
Tackling an Ageing and Falling Club Membership Part 2
Tackling an Ageing and Falling Club Membership Part 1
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Tackling an Ageing and Falling Club Membership Part 2

Why should Clubs use web 2.0 technologies?
The key advantage of using web 2.0 technologies (social networking sites, blogs, wikis) is that they are interactive, with members communicating directly with each other, often in real-time. 
Does your Club funnel communications via your club office bearers or web master, who can sometimes inadvertently act as filter or even worse as a censor? Filters can often slow down communications and act as a disincentive to be involved in Club business.
Members using web 2.0 feel ownership of their communications. They feel empowered. Web 2.0 content is member generated and ideas are shared before being informally reviewed by others via the comments below each post. No longer is the Committee the sole custodian of the “club wisdom”.
Younger club members are likely to feel more at home in an organisation where a hierarchical structure does not inhibit their communication with each other. Before joining, they can immerse themselves in the club culture via the club’s website and decide whether they will feel at home and welcome.

Other articles in this series:

Useful Web 2.0 technologies
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Tackling an Ageing and Falling Club Membership Part 1

The problem

Most Clubs and Associations have in common an aging and falling membership. It is often difficult to fill leadership positions. Surveys of members will often show that they consider this to be the most important issue that their club leadership should tackle.

How do we tackle this problem? Can we use  web 2.0 technologies to help us? What could work?

An common goal of all clubs and associations is to recruit more, and preferably younger, members and then to retain them. Try to share the load better so that a few dedicated members don’t do all the work and burn out.

Older members might be tempted to send out an email or even a letter to existing members and ask them to approach prospective members. These can be expensive and ineffective with poor response rates.

Web 2.0 technologies involve interaction and are very familiar to  young people, with well known examples being FaceBook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter. They offer the opportunity to interact with potential members who have never thought of joining a walking club and by the nature of the marketing technique, represent the target audience we need most.

All clubs need to spend some time marketing themselves using web 2.0 technologies.

Other articles in the series:

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First Aid Updates

Just been checking through some of my first aid articles which I prepared as an aide-memoire to carry with me in the bush in the late 80’s and early 90’s when I was leading groups of students in the Grampians and Flinders Ranges.

Do I delete the articles? Are they so far out-of-date to be a danger to unsuspecting readers? Should I add a disclaimer to each article explaining how they could be out-of-date? How do I know if they are out-of-date? Should I update them? How long will they remain up to date? What is their value to bushwalkers? Could I link to more recent articles that I know will be regularly updated? What are the copyright implications?

These were prepared by condensing the information in the first aid manuals provided at Senior First Aid courses I attended. Initially I printed the text on small sheets of paper the size of a business card and stored them in a plastic business card holder with clear pockets. I still carry it in my first aid kit, sealed in a waterproof bag.

Then in the nineties I went digital and imported them into my PDA, initially a Sharp ZQ-650 which had, what was then an enormous memory of 1 Mb. I have just found it in the cupboard and replaced the batteries. It works… sort of!  I remember purchasing this ….it cost as much as a small laptop today! I used to use it to keep my bushwalk diary, emergency contact details for each of the students in my group and phone numbers when on an expedition

Why did I discard it? Was it the white line across the middle of the screen which obliterated some of the words?

Today I have saved the text file as a pdf and imported it into my mobile smartphone (Nokia N95), which I always carry with me in the bush.

Which is likely to be more dependable and easy to use in an emergency? Hard copy or digital?

I think you can guess what I think. Why else would I still carry the hard copy in my first aid kit?
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