Following my first post on the subject, I thought I would revisit the matter of great mobile applications designed to make life easier for naturalists on the go – there are just so many worthy of a mention and it very, very difficult to choose! With this in mind, featured below are five more educational, fun and all around beneficial apps for you to consider. While they may differ in purpose, all make a worthy edition to home-screen of any iPhone or Android device.
A truly global and incredibly popular app, iNaturalist helps you identify myriad plants and animals at the touch of a button. This incredibly user-friendly application allows you to capture photos in the field and post them online for others to identify – perfect for those lacking the time to flick through extensive field guides or for those lacking knowledge of a specific taxonomic group. Like the apps mentioned in my previous post, iNaturalist is essentially a citizen science application: one that lets you record and upload records of plants and animals on the move. Though, in this case, this app comes complete with an added sense of community – allowing users to follow and interact with like-minded individuals and learn from the extensive experience of others. It is well worth a moment of your time and, perhaps best of all, is entirely free to download and use.
Brought to you by the Mammal Society, Mammal Tracker is the easiest and most efficient way to submit mammal sightings on the go. From small mammals – voles, shrews and mice – to deer and badgers, this app lets you submit records on the spot, complete with important information such as date, location and the number of individuals involved in the sighting. With records feeding directly into the societies database and, ultimately, helping paint a better picture regarding the health of Britain’s mammalian populations. Records submitted via Mammal Tracker are all verified by experts, thus the submission of photos alongside reports of hard to identify species is recommended; though it should be noted that this app is open to everyone, expert and novice alike. Additionally, Mammal Tracker is also incredibly helpful when identifying the species seen on your daily forays, and comes complete with a confusion species gallery to aid in proper identification of troublesome species. I certainly found it useful with regards to voles…
I cannot stress the virtues of IRecord enough: this app should be the go-to resource for biological recorders, amateur or otherwise, in the UK. IRecord allows users to submit sightings of myriad different taxa alongside handy GPS acquired coordinates and relevant descriptions. All of which feeds directly into national databases and provides scientists with no end of useful information regarding the health and spread of faunal and floral populations. This application has many advantages: the ability to work offline and record any species, small or large, foremost among them. It also automatically checks sightings in order to highlight potential errors and allows experts to verify sightings deemed accurate. In this regard, photos of hard to identify species are recommended. As with iNaturalist, this app comes with a real sense of community, letting recorders share their sightings with others both locally and nationally; and even comes complete with a slight competitive element for those interested in a bit of sport. With sightings recorded via the app feeding into league tables visible on the IRecord website. Though for most, this will play second fiddle to the importance of recording in the first place; with this easy to use and appealing app making biological recording on the go both incredibly easy and enjoyable. Check it out!
Born of the combined efforts of the Environment Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, Nature Resources Wales and others, this is an incredibly important application that fulfils a very significant purpose: recording the spread of invasive botanicals. We all know the perils brought about by invasive species – whether that be Himalayan Balsam or Japanese Knotweed. They displace and out-compete native species, ruin vulnerable habitats and, in some cases, cause extensive damage to human interests. In order to control said species, it is necessary to understand them: which is where Plant Tracker comes in. Letting users submit GPS based photographic records of eighteen particularly problematic species wherever they are encountered. This app is definitely one for those wishing to do something positive for nature.
Available as in both a lite, free version and a more extensive yet affordably priced version, Roger’s Mushrooms is the perfect tool for identifying (and learning about) fungi. This user-friendly app comes complete with over 2,600 photographs of 1,650 fungi species from across Europe and North America and allows users to document their own fungal adventures and share their finds with like-minded recorders. Additional features of the app include an Eat Mushrooms section complete with handy tips and recipes from founder and author, Roger Phillips, and a Learn Mushrooms section which allows users to test their mettle through a series of fun and educational quizzes. Rogers Mushrooms is, without a doubt, an app worthy of a space in the phone of every aspiring mycologist.