Ah, the outdoors is absolutely gorgeous. We should all make an effort to get outside once in a while. It’s a great way to clear your mind and de-stress, not to mention the health benefits associated with fresh air and some light exercise.
Of course, one of the best things about being outdoors is that there is no technology to distract you. But if you are a nature lover, you should probably take your phone with you. App stores are full of some apps for people who enjoy hanging out in the wild.
We’ve already talked about gardening apps that are great if you want to take advantage of your backyard and have the perfect backyard space. However, if you describe yourself as a nature lover, there is a lot you should know. For example, you should be able to guess the name of the plant, find out natural hiking trails that no one knows about, etc. Well, if you want to know all this and don’t know where to start, don’t worry. Here are the best apps for nature lovers for iOS and Android to get you started. let’s start!
Best for learning about nature with community help
iNaturalist allows the user to learn about the plants and animals around him. You can take a picture of anything that makes you confused and share it in the app with other iNaturalist users. You can also upload an old photo from the gallery at any time. In addition, if you are an expert, the application also has a section exploration. You can check out other people’s reviews and comment on photos in case you know what kind of plant or trees are on display.
The app is free and also has a website with much more content compared to the app, such as educational videos, teacher guide, etc.
Get iNaturalist for (iOS | Android)
The best to identify plants through the picture
iNaturalist offers a community-based approach to identifying the details of plants and animals, however, if you want to know plant species right away, PlantNet is for you.
The user interface of the application is very minimal and you can simply click the camera button to start identification after opening the application. You have two options, if you’re already out, you can click take a picture right away, or choose a picture from your gallery. Once uploaded, choose which part of the plant can be seen in the image, such as leaf, flower, bark, fruit, etc. For example, I downloaded a photo of a Bengal flower from the internet and uploaded it through the app which showed correct results in a second.
The app also has a section called World of Fauna Where you can find more information about herbs and invasive plants as well as plants specific to specific regions in detail. The app has no ads and is free to use, which works for me.
Get PlantNet for (iOS | Android)
3. Herb Dictionary
Best to use medicinal herbs
Herb Dictionary is like an app that can help you tap into the healing power of plants in your surroundings. The app contains a long and comprehensive list of medicinal herbs that you can use raw or with your traditional food. Although the user interface is not attractive, there is still a lot of information such as the image, the botanical name, the medicinal use and their properties, such as antidepressants, sedatives, antioxidants, etc. There is other useful information about what part of the plant is usable because most of the time the plant is not completely edible.
The app is free but in order to be able to take notes, bookmark favorite herbs and backup data to the cloud you need to purchase the premium version which comes at a price of $4.5.
Get Herb Dictionary for (iOS | Android)
4. Nature’s Notebook
Best for tracking seasonal changes in trees and plants
If you are a nature lover, you will surely be interested in how plants and trees change with the change of season. This study is also called phenology. So if you’re already keeping a close eye on things and want to enter and track this data, Nature’s Notebook app is just for you.
To get started, you have to create a new account or you can log in with an account you created using the website. You can check the collection of local phenology available in your area and observe with its members or you can also do this individually for places, plants and animals. You can enter new data or choose from the list provided in the application. Monitoring is very easy with this app as the date is auto-populated and you have to choose Yes, No options and I’m not sure what the monitoring should be done. Monitoring includes things like observed time, condition of leaves, flowering or not, etc.
The app is only available in the US, so if you’re anywhere around the world, you’ll have to look for alternatives.
Get Nature’s Notebook for (iOS | Android)
5. GPS Tools
Best General Outdoor Tool
It is a fact that most phones nowadays have a light bulb, compass, altimeter, etc. These basic tools are generally required when you are out in nature. But the single app which has all these tools as well as others like, GPS alarm, weather forecast, etc. will provide a better benefit. For that, I use the GPS Tools app.
It’s a powerhouse for all the tools you could need. For example, it has a speedometer, in case you are on a bike path and want to keep an estimate of the maximum and minimum speed. Plus the quick location feature, so you don’t have to manually open the maps every time, and in case of any emergency, you can simply tap and share where you are and even tap the image of the surroundings. Besides, the application displays an air quality indicator, altitude finder, GPS alarm, level meter and many other tools that can be easily toggled with a swipe.
Get GPS Tools for (iOS | Android)
6. All Trails
Best natural path finder app
If you are planning a vacation after the COVID-19 situation eases, searching for wildlife parks and sanctuaries will not suffice. There are major trails for everyone to follow, but you’ll be surprised to know that there are dozens of smaller off-road trails for you to follow and discover more.
All Trails is one such app which has more than 100,000 tracks around the world curated by app users. You need to register, which can be done quickly with your Google account. The app shows you the best trails near your area as soon as you open it, moreover, you can also filter them by activity, such as bird watching, nature walks, etc. In the event of movement restrictions, you can search for stroller tracks. Friendly or wheelchair friendly. If you try a track and like it, you can also save it to your favorites so you can check it out later.
The app has both list view and map view and you can also record the route direction, distance and time. The app is free, but I would suggest the pro version which comes at $29 per year and allows you to save the map offline, show several routes, etc.
Get All Trails for (iOS | Android)
Best nature sounds app
All outdoor spaces are either closed or open at very short intervals each day. However, you can still simulate a part of the environment using applications that create sounds from nature. One such application is Atmosphere.
The app has a list of sounds so you can tap and enjoy the relaxing natural sounds right away. These sounds are categorized under the category of beaches, forests, urban spaces, underwater, etc. All of these sounds are customizable, so you can add new ones to existing ones. For example, above the forest, you can add wind, raindrops, thunderstorms and many more such elements. You can also adjust the volume of these items individually so you can create the sound you want.
The app is free to use, but you have banner ads at the bottom. Since it’s an audio app, I think it can be ignored. But if you still want to remove it, you can buy the pro version for $3.5.
Get Atmosphere for (iOS | Android)
In my opinion, PlantNet offers the best way to instantly identify any plant or tree using your phone’s camera. However, if you want a more community-like experience, iNaturalist is a great app to install. Others can make comments and learn about your photos and you can do the same. Since we are all stuck in our homes, I use Atmosphere to keep myself closer to nature. Moreover, it helps me relax and banish stress and anxiety.