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
- Pokemon Go – Catch a collection of cute digital monsters and battle them against friends.
- Ingress Prime – SciFi based exploration to secure Exotic Matter for the future of humanity.
- ZombiesRun – Mission-based undead escapology will motivate you to run for your life.
- Geocaching – Find real world “treasure” hidden by other users in lesser-known locations.
- 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
- BBC Weather – Most popular in the UK with a helpful “feels-like” indicator of temperature.
- Met Office – Powered by the UK National Weather forecast service.
- AccuWeather – ranked most accurate in the UK.
- DarkSky – So good, Apple bought the company to keep it exclusively on iOS.
- 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.
- Strava – Will track your walk/run/cycle and rank how fast you are compared with others.
- CouchTo5k – Doesn’t actually track you, but celebrities motivate you to get up & run!
- GoogleFit – Designed by the WHO, uses ‘Heart Points’ to track fitness across multiple areas.
- Fitness22 – The most accurate running distance tracker.
- 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.
- OS Maps – Access the original Ordinance Survey maps wherever you are in the UK.
- ViewRanger – Like OS, but it even works abroad.
- AllTrails – A range of ‘off-the-shelf’ rambles in your area, even has a weather forecast.
- Komoot – Plans your walk like a sat-nav, but even includes notes on footpath conditions.
- 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:
- TripAdvisor – Add your reviews to the 255 million already on the site.
- Facebook – Did you know you can leave reviews for places you tag in your photos.
- 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