5 Cool and Handy Apps For Outdoor Enthusiasts

March 5, 2015

9:00 am

Spending time outdoors is highly delightful and does you a lot of good. A mere 10 min walk can drastically reduce your stress level and give your mind an extra boost of endorphins. What should I say about a luxurious weekend trip to the woods or camping at a gorgeous mountain lake? Maybe we are not as skilled as our ancestors were in dealing with Mother Nature, but we have the power of technology in our hands.  Here are five apps each outdoor enthusiast should test out on the next trip.

 1. Fresh Air


Ah, the weather. It can entirely make or break any plans.  Knowing the art of reading weather is pretty cool; however a geek like me prefers to rely on technology.  So far, the new Fresh Air app hasn’t let me down in terms of weather prediction. It’s an aesthetically appealing, minimalistic weather app you actually stare at for more than 3 seconds.  The forecast is displayed as a minute-by-minute graph you can play around with by scrolling for a few days ahead.  I particularly like it for the fact that you can monitor temperature changes during the day, so you won’t be trembling in a T-shirt when it suddenly gets chilly in the evening.

Available for iOS only for 1.99$

 2. Peak Scanner


This app quickly becomes your favorite if you love hiking and conquering peaks, literally.  Peak Scanner will tell you the name of the mountain, its height, and the approximate distance to it – just point your phone on it, no tapping needed. The app runs pretty fast and the data is really accurate. So far, it has a huge collection of terrains around the UK and Ireland, plus a user-generated mountains database around the globe. The French Alps scenery was marked pretty precisely I would note.

Available for iOS and Android for 2.99$.

 3. ViewRanger OutDoors GPS


Claiming to be the app for adventures, ViewRanger Outdoors will actually keep you out of adventures. At least those involving getting lost. The app is all-in-one offline mapping, navigation & guided trail service with a massive directory of scenic hiking routes from around the world, a collection of premium topography maps and free usual ones, as well as instant GPS tracking. You can save your routes and share them later with a community, and grab someone else’s routes to walk their walk.

Available for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire for free with in app purchases.

 4. Leafsnap


The idea behind Leafsnap is beautifully simple – grab a leaf, snap a picture, and let the app identify which species it is. The recognition technology developed in collaboration with specialists from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institute is impressively accurate. The leaf database contains a lot of curious facts about different trees and is easily-searchable. My kids love playing with this app as much as I do!

Available for iOS for free.

 5. GoSkyWatch


Love staring at the night sky out of town, but fail at guessing any stars names? Fret not, there’s an app for that too. GoskyWatch will determine your location and show you a detailed sky map. The technology works on the base of your phone’s accelerometer, so the app works fine on devices without compasses. Planets are color coded to show their relative brightness to other stars; zodiac sign constellations are marked with special lines, so you can spot them with ease. Brilliant design, touchless browsing, and nifty search options if you’d like to get help with locating a certain star or planet.

Available for iOS for 3.99$.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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