For the outdoor experience, thousands of apps are available for smart phones and many are free.
A lot of old school types would never take their telephone into the wild. But the apps are a wave that is rising into the future: Tom Stienstra listed 10 of his favorites in the story at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/11/SP1C1MNEDE.DTL#ixzz1mJ0zFpHK.
Readers then sent in their favorite apps and many had questions about their particular smart phone. Here are the the best responses, edited for length. They explain how not all apps are available for all smart phones, and some additional great apps that are available:
Robert Nissenbaum: “There are numerous apps listed for tides, but one I’ve found that works well and quickly is Tide Data Free. It quickly figures out where you are and lists the tidal reporting stations for the area. You quickly see the composite data in a list form or switch to a graph. You can also easily change the date if you are planning a trip.
I use it on an iPhone 4.”
From Dan Sullivan: “The problem is that most of the apps you listed aren’t available for BlackBerrys. However, there is one excellent and free app expressly written for BlackBerrys called GPS Logger II. Here’s a link: http://www.emacberry.com/gpslogger.html. This app allows you to track distance, speed, elevation, track, etc. in many different ways, and also allows you to enter waypoints or “back home” directions to return to a waypoint or starting point. It also allow you to time yourself over various user-set intervals, such as time per mile, distance per time, etc. One cool feature is that you can automatically send an email showing your current location every user-defined time period, or even to send an “alert” email to someone if you haven’t moved or covered a pre-determined distance in an established period of time.”
Gary Glass: “Although I always carry a compass and usually a topo map, some of the apps for a smartphone are useful. I like the North Face app (free) that tracks your hike and displays on a Google Earth map. It seems fairly accurate as to distance but the elevation change is not always good. It does use the battery more quickly.
“I also like Pedometer Free GPS+. It also tracks the hike on a Google earth map but is not limited to GPS when out of range. The battery usage is also much lower. It lacks an elevation change feature.
“Finally, I really like Maplets (paid app). You can download copies of park maps. Usually these are the ones sold in the park and not topo maps but I find it very useful for the parks that I hike all the time and just need a quick reference. Since the maps are stored on your phone, you do not need cell service to access. It also has a location feature to show where you are on most maps.”
Scott Reider: “When I tried to download a few of them from iTunes, I could not find them (Outdoor Compass, Scats and Tracks, Google Sky Map, U.S. Army Survival Guide).”
TS: Some of these are not available on all platforms. Most are available on Android-based phones.
Greg Malone: “Boat Ramp App by http://www.takemefishing.org.”
Nels Christensen: “Would you provide more information on item No. 8, Outdoor SOS, please. I am unable to find a good match in the i-Tunes store.”
TS: That’s an Android app.
Tiger Wong: “AllTrails is one of my favorite apps for finding parks & hiking trails near me. I travel a lot for work. Whatever city or state I’m in, I can ask it to find parks near me and I can use different criteria to filter my search i.e., hiking, biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, etc. Their website (http://www.alltrails.com) also offers listings of local events if I didn’t want to go out on my own. Another great one is Trailhead. I use AllTrails more because I found it first. Two others I use are Oh, Ranger & Park Guides. Oh, Ranger is similar to AllTrails, while Park Guides covers 50 National Parks.”
Craig Inouye: “I like iBird and use it often and have since its inception. The Scats & Tracks looks interesting but pricey for a smaller interest. The one you didn’t mention was AccuTerra, an app that has GPS tracking on topographic maps. It provides the maps ahead of time so you don’t need a cellular data network. It keeps the data from a hike or other trip including altitude, distance, time, and more. It maps with green dot breadcrumbs indicating the path taken. It also has a camera feature that marks the location of the photo on the too map. All this can be emailed and the recipient will see the trip on Google Earth with all the info included.”
Josh Shaeffer: “Runtastic builds fitness apps and has a social community (http://www.runtastic.com), where people can post activities, cheer others on and create competitions. Runtastic PRO/lite, road bike, mountain bike, pedometer and more . . . Road bike app is nominated for top 10 mobile app at this year.”
source: Tom Stienstra’s Outdoors blog, San Francisco Chronicle