Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Ipod apps of interest

If you own an iphone or ipod touch then here's a selection apps that may be of some interest to the outdoor enthusiast.

First up is Chirp! and Chirp! USA. I highly recommend these apps from ispiny, here's the marketing from their website:

The Chirp! family of apps for iPhone and iPod Touch feature the songs of the most common birds of backyards, gardens, parks and woodland, in north-west Europe and the USA. Tap the name of the bird to hear its song, tap again to stop the song. If you need extra help in learning the songs, simply tap the bird photo to flip it over and reveal helpful tips. After listening, try the quiz to test your memory. Answer fast to earn a score multiplier and get on the high score table!

A very special feature of Chirp! is that birds are arranged in order of commonness - no more searching through rare birds to find the one singing on your lawn.
Other key features include:

* Your location is checked on first start-up to load the correct bird data
* A map screen allows birds from different areas to be compared
* High quality sounds and stunning photos (male birds)
* Links to Wikipedia and (USA only) Cornell Lab of Ornithology
* Quiz with three levels of difficulty - suitable for all the family
* Frequent updates, adding extra birds

Chirp! USA features birds from across continental USA (excl Alaska). More birds will be added, with priority given to user's suggestions. We already have a variety of Chickadees, Grosbeaks, Woodpeckers, Sparrows, Bluebirds and many more, so let us know if your favorite is missing.

Chirp! Europe features birds of north-west Europe. It is available in English, German, French, Dutch, Swedish and Norwegian and also partially translated into Danish and Irish Gaelic. The app runs in the main language of your iPod/iPhone but to see the bird names and song comments on another language, go to the main settings of your device, scroll down until you see the Chirp! settings and choose a language from the list.

Cheap Chirp! is a free ad-supported cut-down version of Chirp! It does not include all the birds and does not include a map screen for changing location, but does give you a taste of the full version.

The chirp series are updated regulary, you can download the free lite version or if you have jailbroken your phone/touch and are a cheap bastard then try out the full versions via the installous app.


Next up is Butterflies of Britain & Ireland from birdguides.com.
I only had a vague interest in butterflies before but this app gives you more than the usual identifying info. Each of the many butterflies have photos for the upperside, underside, colour varients, larva, egg, pupa, male/female, larvae etc it also gives details on which plants they commonly lay or feed on along with a map of distribution and phenogram.
A lot of work and detail went into this app and you will never fail to learn something new each time you look at it. (Did you know the Red Admiral likes to get drunk on over ripe orchard fruit or fermenting tree sap, the guy who wrote this info found over forty of them at one time lying totally drunk , some on their backs waving their legs feebly in the air, under a damaged tree).
This app is £9.99 or to see if it's worth it then you can find it via installous.


Next up is the north woods field guides which can be found seperately or in a all in one app. It covers 7 subjects: fish, flowers, fly fishing, garden insects, scat, tracks and trees.
Each subject has very little to choose from, some have a little info on the subject and some don't but all have hand drawn colour pictures which lack detail and even worse not a single sample includes the Latin name, it's local common names in America.
The one good thing going for this i the quiz which will give a picture and you have a choice of 4 answers but the whole app looks and feels like it's still in it's alpha stage, it has a lot of potential so much so i wish i could improve it myself. At the moment this app is just a basic idea and not worth paying anything for it even if it is only 59p each or £2.99 for the lot, one for installous only.

More apps tomorrow

Free Map Reading Book

Howdy ho folks thanks to BT and their remarkable incompetence i lost my connection for while but thanks to Dick Branson and his virgin pipes i have a much faster connection.

Well for anyone who actually bothers returning to this blog then here is a link to a free ebooklet written by the Ordnance Survey called Map Reading: From the beginner to the advanced map reader.
Down it from George Fisher directly
or from here if old George removes it.