10 apps that you should not miss when you are in nature

Today’s mobile phones offer us a multitude of new opportunities and functionalities to orient ourselves more easily in nature, to understand and discover nature and for safe trips. All we have to do is to install the most suitable applications and use them to their full potential. At the same time, we need to be aware of the limitations of technology and find a balance between the time spent on the phone and the moments of disconnection.

The recommendations below include a diverse range of apps, starting with nature orientation, astronomical observations, understanding nature and a some apps that can increase the safety of our trips.

1. Mapy.cz

Google Play – 4,8 ⭐, Free

App Store – 4,9 ⭐, Free

Wherever you are, a map application is indispensable. There is a great variety of such applications, with very varied functions, and the choice of one or the other depends more on your personal preferences, the area you are in and the type of activity you do. Our choice is Mapy.cz due to its flexibility and ease of use.


2. PeakFinder

Google Play – 4,6 ⭐, Paid

App Store – 4,9 ⭐, Paid

This app does exactly what its name says: it identifies mountain peaks and shows you some details, such as the height of the peak and the distance to it. If you have doubts about identifying the peaks you see in the distance or you are simply in a new area, the application will help you recognize what you see. The application also works offline, once you have downloaded the database with the area of ​​interest.

Using augmented reality, it shows you exactly what you see through the phone’s camera and you can take photos with the tips of the tips. The good part is that once you buy it, you can use it anywhere in the world, whether you are in the Caucasus, the Alps or in Retezat.


3. Star Walk 2

Google Play – 4,7 ⭐, Free

App Store – 4,9 ⭐, Paid

“Look at the sky,” wrote a stencil that can still be seen in big cities. We tell you “look at the night sky”, and Star Walk 2 is your personal planetarium available on your phone. All you have to do is walk away from light pollution sources and point your phone at the sky. The application will help you discern the most important landmarks in the sky: planets, stars, constellations, galaxies, artificial satellites, the International Space Station and much more.

A lot of scientific information is available at a single tap on the elements on the screen, and myths, 3D models and the image gallery are available for a fee directly from the application.


4. PlantNet

Google Play – 4,7 ⭐, Free

App Store – 4,6 ⭐, Free

It is an application that allows you to identify plant species only based on photos taken with the phone’s camera. Of course, how well you will be able to identify the correct species depends on the quality of the photos you will have to upload in the application.

The database currently includes over 27,000 species, and it is constantly expanding as new species are added. The identified species have rich galleries with different elements of the plant (flowers, leaves, fruits, bark, crown, etc.), a link to the corresponding page on Wikipedia, useful links for more information, a map with the global spread and conservation status.

The application is not entirely dedicated to spontaneous flora, but also includes many decorative plants, invasive species and weeds, making it useful in daily use.


5. iTrack Wildlife

Google Play – Paid

App Store – 4,1 ⭐, Paid

The application also has a free version, iTrack Wildlife Lite, but it greatly limits the number of species available. The application includes a complex search module by trace size (length and width), number of fingers, shape, claws, symmetry and trace type. Once the author is identified, you will find a lot of information and photos with traces, other marks left by the animal (fur marks, claws, excrement, skull morphology), link on the English page of Wikipedia and others.

The app also has a section with useful information on how to identify traces, their anatomy, how to make accurate measurements, gait patterns and other useful information.


6. Merlin Bird ID

Google Play – 4,7 ⭐, Paid

App Store – 4,8 ⭐, Paid

For bird enthusiasts, an application, no matter how good it is, cannot yet replace a quality determinant. But for beginners this application is the perfect choice! The first step is to download one or more packages, depending on the regions you are interested in.

The application creates lists depending on where you are and the time of year with the species most likely to meet them. The identification of birds can be done both by photo and sound, and by filling out a form with some essential information. For the species included in the database you will find a photo gallery, a short description, sounds and a map with various information.


7. Field Guide to Clouds

Google Play – Free

App Store 4,0 ⭐, Free

This is a simple application that helps you identify the main types of clouds. The application contains information about how to form different types of clouds, what their names mean, what they contain and what they say about the weather. Being an educational application, it also includes some games.


8. My Lightning Tracker

Google Play – 4,6 ⭐, Free

App Store – 5,0 ⭐, Free

This application allows you to see lightning in real-time anywhere in the world. We know, it’s not very pleasant to be surprised by an electrical storm, especially in exposed areas, so the application allows you to receive notifications when there are electric discharges in your area within a radius of 60 km. This is although you will most likely hear the thunder first and only then will you receive the notification. In any case, it is very relaxing to stay sheltered in the cottage and see the real-time animation on the app.


9. Offline Survival Manual

Google Play – 4,8 ⭐, Free

Hopefully you won’t need it, but it could prove useful in extreme situations, until rescue teams arrive. Ideally, you should study it before you get into such situations and learn the essentials.


10. Salvamont-Mountain Rescue

Google Play – 4,6 ⭐, Free

App Store – 1,9 ⭐, Free

An interesting and useful application that should offer users a wide range of functions: mountain warnings, weather, mountain trails, contacts and locations of cottages across the country, the state of the slopes, and an SOS function. This is a location service, through which you can notify, in real-time, the Salvamont dispatcher about the route and GPS coordinates, altitude and even the battery level of your phone.

Unfortunately, the official description does not match the reality on the phone, so we did not have access to information about routes, slopes and cottages. We don’t even know if the other modules are functional, so our recommendation is to test the app’s functionality first and not rely entirely on it.

This article was made within the PET Romania project, developed by the Romanian Ecotourism Association, in partnership with the Ţara Dornelor Ecotourism Associationthe Retezat Tourism Association and the Măgura Ecotourism Association, with the financial support of Active Citizens Fund Romania, a program funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2014-2021 .

The content of this material does not necessarily represent the official position of the EEA and Norwegian Grants 2014-2021; for more information visit www.eeagrants.org .