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Monday, February 11, 2013


Getting outdoors in the winter is one of life’s great experiences. Hiking on snowshoes, cross-country skiing or snowmobiling, you can experience nature with a clean, fresh blanket of snow. Just because you’re in the winter woods, however, you don’t have to leave technology behind. Add to your winter experience with five great apps. Most of these are available on iphone and android though some are only on Apple atm.


Birds
iBird Explorer -  (price varies)


Even someone who isn’t a confirmed birder can enjoy the sight of the species that winter-over. This application provides a large, but easy to use, database of North American birds. You can easily identify species, read a general or detailed description, match their song and even add them to a favorites list, in case you’re keeping track of which species you’ve seen. There are three versions: Pro ($19.95), Yard Plus ($9.99) and Lite (free). Available from www.ibird.com.




Tracks
My Nature Animal Tracks - $4.99


Snow makes a great canvas for animal tracks, and this app helps you identify 46 different species. Digital photographs of tracks, gait patterns, range maps and vocalization allow you to match the animal with the tracks. Available from www.mynatureapps.com






Trees
Virginia Tech Tree ID -   Free


Developed by forestry professionals, this guide allows you to identify 969 woody plants in North America. It provides identification by bark (since, of course, deciduous trees don’t have their leaves in the winter) and by needle configuration for conifers. One of the great features is that you can use your GPS location or just enter a zip code to get a guide to the plants found in that specific area. Available from Google Play.




Maps
Locus -  Free


The most popular off-road map application on the market, Locus allows you to view maps offline (useful for wilderness areas), online and navigation aids. Available free of charge from Amazon.com.





Survival
Survival Guide -  Free


It’s always useful to have a back-up plan just in case something goes wrong when you’re in the woods, and this guide provides a detailed guide on how to keep alive until you find your way out or are found. Based on the U.S. Military field manual FM 21-76, edited by Max Sonderstrom. Available from iTunes. This is a great fun app with plenty of very useful information to look over.
These are our absolutely favourite apps and they are well worth checking out whether you want to sit and dream of the countryside in the long winter months or have some useful tools at hand when you're actually out there!




Author Bio:Sam Jones, the author, has been investigating winter sports apps on his iPhone 4s and thinks that these are the best currently available.

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