It seems like people are staring into tiny screens everywhere you go these days, and I'm just as guilty as the next person. I'd say that I probably spend half of my work day using iPhone and Android apps (yes, I have two devices) and the other half on my laptop writing blog posts, articles and editing photos and videos.
According to this article on Yahoo! News, there are more than 100 million smartphone users in the U.S. With that many devices floating around, it's a sure thing that there would be a few apps that would be of interest to outdoorsy types in Florida. Here are five that I use almost every day:
IveGot1 (Free/iPhone only): Seeing some pesky invasive plants or animals while you are out and about? Fire up the IveGot1 app, take a picture and report the location. This app was developed by the University of Georgia in cooperation with the National Park Service, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the University of Florida. I think it needs a little refining, and hopefully future releases will have additional identification tools and photos. Give it a try.
FPAN Mobile (Free/iPhone only): This is a nifty app brought to you by the folks at the Florida Public Archaeology Network. It seems to mainly be a supplement to the FPAN website, with contact information for individual regions around the state. I do use it quite a bit, though – the events section of the app is terrific. You can view all sorts of cool event listings, such as paddling, biking and historical hikes. Perhaps in the future this app will include a historical site (parks, roadside markers, etc.) locator. That would be cool.
FLStateParks ($2.99/iPhone only): Although not an official Florida State Parks app, there is a ton of great information here. I primarily use it to locate state parks in relation to where I'm currently at – that is such a great feature. You can filter the list by distance, activity, city and cost.
FL Nature (Free/iPhone only): If I could only have one free app on my phone, this would be it. The Nature Viewing along the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail app is a cooperative effort by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Florida Wildflower Foundation, the University of Florida and the Florida Museum of Natural History. You can find birding trail sites by your current location or by a particular city, which is pretty awesome. The plant and identification features are great, and you can save your favorite sites, birds, butterflies and wildflowers to a folder. It's available for iPhone now, and there will be an Android version out soon.
Florida Nature by Audubon Guides ($9.99/iPhone only): This is the granddaddy of Florida nature apps. Seriously, this has replaced the softcover field guide that I have toted around for years. It covers all manner of Florida flora and fauna, with great species browsing and searching capabilities. Individual species have plenty of photos, range information, detailed description information and lots more. For birders, most species in the app have voice recordings, too. If you are into Florida Nature, this is the app you need.
What apps do you use the most? Head over to the VISIT FLORIDA Outdoors and Nature Facebook page and let me know your favorite apps for exploring the Sunshine State.