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Apps to enjoy the great outdoors

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Summer is a mercifully predictable season: hot and sunny basically every day. After the erratic temperature swings of spring and the miserable, drizzly days of winter, we’re well overdue for some warm and windless weather we can step out into confidently – with no need for umbrellas or coats!

Finally, we have the freedom to once again go out and enjoy the outdoors without fear of the elements. We can snorkel, canoe, hike and camp to our heart’s content. So get ready to soak up some Vitamin D on a beautiful beach trip or family picnic at the park.

While studying environmental science, I met lots of outdoorsy people who showed me the ropes when it comes to awesome outdoor activities. Thanks to smart technology I can combine this new love of adventuring with the great advancements of apps. Here are some great apps to enjoy the outdoors this summer.

For camping: Wikicamps Australia – iOS and Android

camping

One of my favourite summer activities is travelling the West Australian coast on epic road trips, pitching tents at campsites along the way. The best road trips are spontaneous and avoid over-planning: you just camp wherever you end up on the journey. To make sure there actually is a campsite in your immediate location (and avoid the ramifications of illegally putting up your tent in a no-camp area) make sure to download the Wikicamps Australia app.

This app contains a comprehensive list of camp sites and caravan parks across Australia and it continues to be updated every day. Not only will this app help you find a place to stay for the night, but it also features information about the sites such as pet rules, star ratings and the locations of toilets and showers. This app has a crowd sourced database so you can add any camping gems you find for others to enjoy too.

For stargazing: SkyView Free – iOS and Android

stars

While you’re out in the country camping, you should definitely take advantage of the amazing starry sky, free from the light pollution of the city, and do some serious stargazing. As my hero Carl Sagan put it, “astronomy is a humbling and character building experience” and I believe there’s no other experience that can make you feel both so important and so insignificant at the same time. Stargazing is not only great for putting life into perspective, but there are so many cool things to learn about the stars, planets and galaxies: after all, astronomy is one of the oldest sciences, with even the earliest human civilisations recording their observations of the night sky.

For the ultimate stargazing experience, download SkyView Free on your smart device. This intuitive app is an essential for all you amateur astronomers: it will tell you exactly what will be visible in the sky on any given night to help you identify all the planets and constellations. The best part is, Skyview Free does not require a data connection, meaning you can still get all that stellar information even if you’re out in the middle of nowhere. So what are you waiting for? There’s a whole universe out there for you to explore!

For navigating: MotionX-GPS – iOS 

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There are plenty of adventurous outdoor activities to enjoy in summer: sailing, hiking, cycling. Regardless of your vice, you’re going to want to make sure you have a reliable GPS to navigate safely so you can come back from your journey in one piece. For a dependable GPS app, why not give the highly rated MotionX-GPS a go?

This solid app displays and tracks your geographical position on street maps, terrain maps, satellite maps and even marine charts and guides you to your selected destination(s).  But what if you like to hike out in the sticks where there’s no reception? No problem: MotionX-GPS gives you the option of preloading maps with the route you wish to take. So with just a little extra planning, you won’t get stuck when you drop out of a connected area.

For festivals: Bandsintown Concerts – iOS and Android

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In Australia, we love our outdoor music festivals, especially in my homeland of Perth where we forever lament being left out of concert tours and deeply appreciate every musical event that does come our way. We brave the sweat and unsightly sunburn to get out to as many summer concerts and festivals as possible. If you want to know the coolest place to be in the hot summer sun, apps are here to help.

The Bandsintown Concerts app makes hunting down the acts in town so much simpler. You can finally say goodbye to those frustrating days of finding out you missed your favourite singer’s only show in your city via a friend’s Facebook status. Make sure you’re always the first to know by tracking your favourite acts as well as browsing the app for upcoming shows and concerts.

Got a favourite app for the outdoors? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo credit:

StockSnap

Dave Dugdale

Skeeze

HighwayEngland

Eva Rinaldi

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