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Outdoor Exploration Apps for Exploring Suffolk

15 JUNE 2021 - RICHARD - HEALTH AND WELLBEING

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There are so many wonderful places to explore Suffolk and around our University and, as it is Suffolk Day, I have collated the leading Apps to download, in five different categories, to enhance your outdoor exploration experience.

Choose a Location-Based Gaming App

To motivate you to get out there and explore, these apps will help you to find magic and mystery, even in humble locations:

The Market Leaders

  1. Pokemon Go – Catch a collection of cute digital monsters and battle them against friends.
  2. Ingress Prime – SciFi based exploration to secure Exotic Matter for the future of humanity.
  3. ZombiesRun – Mission-based undead escapology will motivate you to run for your life.
  4. Geocaching – Find real world “treasure” hidden by other users in lesser-known locations.
  5. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite – Discover mystical “foundables,” cast spells and battle muggles.

My Preference: Pokemon Go is the original and still the best. It’s totally free, has huge depth but is easily accessible to new players. You will see your world in a whole new way. Do not be put off by the theming: It takes great skill and patience to “be the very best”.

Choose a Weather App

The weather can change at the drop of a hat, so download one of these to help you know what clothes to wear and when to head home:

The Market Leaders

  1. BBC Weather – Most popular in the UK with a helpful “feels-like” indicator of temperature.
  2. Met Office – Powered by the UK National Weather forecast service.
  3. AccuWeather – ranked most accurate in the UK.
  4. DarkSky – So good, Apple bought the company to keep it exclusively on iOS.
  5. CARROT Weather – Android based version of DarkSky.

My Preference: I use The Weather Channel App. Its rain-radar is useful for making your own predictions about when to make a run for cover. And it seems to be right much more often than the BBC. I also like that it tells you how much rain to expect, so you know if that rain will be light drizzle, or torrential downpour.

Choose a Fitness App

With all this exploration, you should probably keep track of how many steps/calories/miles you are ticking off along the way. Many phones do this automatically, and some of the games above will do it for you, but it is often worth having a separate App to do this, perhaps to inspire more active exploration.

Market Leaders

  1. Strava – Will track your walk/run/cycle and rank how fast you are compared with others.
  2. CouchTo5k – Doesn’t actually track you, but celebrities motivate you to get up & run!
  3. GoogleFit – Designed by the WHO, uses ‘Heart Points’ to track fitness across multiple areas.
  4. Fitness22 – The most accurate running distance tracker.
  5. MyTraining – 100+ training videos, calendar, and exercise database to inspire you.

My Preference: Conqueror Virtual Challenges – Choose a virtual challenge and use the app to track your progress along your route (I’m currently half-way along Hadrian’s wall – I can see where I am on Street View!) When you reach your goal, you receive a stunning medal in the post.

Choose a Navigation App

After chasing down that Pikachu, you may find yourself a little lost. Or maybe you want inspiration for a new route to walk.

Market Leaders

  1. OS Maps – Access the original Ordinance Survey maps wherever you are in the UK.
  2. ViewRanger – Like OS, but it even works abroad.
  3. AllTrails – A range of ‘off-the-shelf’ rambles in your area, even has a weather forecast.
  4. Komoot – Plans your walk like a sat-nav, but even includes notes on footpath conditions.
  5. GoogleMaps – You’ve probably already got this, always there to get you home.

My Preference: Buy a good old-fashioned 1:25,000 OS map. It won’t run out of batteries, will last for years and will inspire you to plan your own route. Just make sure it doesn’t blow away.

Choose a Review App

Now that you’re home again, remember to share your experiences with others so that they can enjoy your area too.

Only two I know of:

  1. TripAdvisor – Add your reviews to the 255 million already on the site.
  2. Facebook – Did you know you can leave reviews for places you tag in your photos.
  3. Google Local Guides – (My preference) Accessed through the “Contribute” tab. You can build up your contributor points and be a local hero. Also, you can unlock real-world discounts.

Other Notable Apps

Night Sky: for accurate stargazing.

Map of Life: identify insects, birds, and mammals.

PlantSnap: identify plants, flowers, and trees.

 

Image by jamie-street-Y602iPcTq28-unsplash

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