While there’s always the mapping and GPS apps, we took a look at what other outdoorsy apps that could be of use. Here’s a few we unearthed, and for once, stuck to the ‘5 things’ in the title.
iGeology – Simple but effective geology map. It displays a basic overlay on an OS map that you can zoom in, or it can use the GPS to do so automatically. Shows the underlying geology of the area you’re in. If you’re in certain areas then it’s pretty homogenous across a wide area, but in some places such as Snowdonia it’s much more complicated. A double tap zooms in and a long tap brings up an identification screen naming the geology. Could do with a bit of explanation of what the geology actually is as opposed to the technical terms used, even as someone who’s done some undergrad level geology I was lost with some of the explanations.
What would be useful, such as with extrusions and so on, is to explain when and how they formed. Maybe a snippet on the vegetation that prefers that sort of geology? As it is, this is a free app that satisfies a curiosity you may or may not have. Certainly I’d have scored more than a B- in my Geography A-Level project had this been around then! I wouldn’t mind paying for a bit more info regarding each location, but that’s being picky! A great app for anyone interested in the geology under their feet, but needs a network connection to function.[Rating:4]
Google Sky Map – I’ve taken printed star maps before on a wild camp, but whenever I’ve been sufficiently organised to do so, there’s invariably either been cloud cover or I’ve decided to kip. With this handy little app, you’ve got the star maps to hand so you can use it whenever you want. Point it in the right direction and it shows you the stars in that direction. Whack it on a tablet, put it in night mode and you’ve got a powerful tool for identifying that night time object. Would be useful if you could select the object being viewed and receive extra information (distance, etc) but i’m admittedly being picky. There are some others out there that track the ISS as well (e.g. Space Junk), if you want more power. For a free app, this does exactly what a casual observer needs and in that light it gets a [rating:4.5].
Knot Guide – Obviously, an app for knots, but it’s probably a bit late to be checking up that figure of 8 when you’re dangling off Clogwyn y Person on a rope that’s slowly loosening from its belay. It’s free though, and promises to be an ideal off the hill knot resource for scramblers, climbers, campers and those into alternative sexual practices. Unfortunately, it shows very little more than a picture of a knot, as opposed to the important stages that occur between string and knot. For that reason, it’s of little use to learn new knots, but only to identify one that’s already been made. [rating:2]
Survival Guide – Based on the US Marines Survival manual, if you’re ever stuck on a Welsh hill, then this will probably be of little use. It does give information that’s useful reference, such as how to survive the cold and how to start a fire. There’s a section on edible plants, including images, and how to build a shelter that would be useful if you’re putting up a tarp. Maybe not of much use on Crib Goch, but if you’re tarping it lower down with a kelly kettle then there’s some useful stuff in here. The hand to hand combat section might come in handy in a few foothil pubs as well. [rating:4]
British Hills – Useful little app based on the uk hills database. Could do with area of hill to make the lists more useful. It’s better on a phone than the tablet, so the images make it look sparse, but is fine on a mobile. You can log your ascent date and tick off the hill, but only the once. There’s an option to view the peak on a map and to search for images which is a useful feature. Overall, some useful features in here if you’re just browsing for hills and want to see some images, but the bagging should account for multiple ascents. [rating:3]
Have you got a fave outdoor app that we’ve missed? There’s that many, we’ve only just scratched the surface. Leave a comment below and give your fave app a heads up!