While hardly the Mountain-Woman type, I do very much enjoy our National Parks across the country, in all seasons. So I was attracted to this new use of technology because it just seemed so… useful (kind of what technology is intended to do– or used to be before it became its own PR Agent). Truly using technology to make an experience better and not just flashier.
Meet Pocket Ranger, a new app from ParksByNature in conjunction with various US State Parks and the DEP, designed to draw new, more, and younger people into the Parks and to make the experience better, so they will return more often. Now how novel is that?
Currently available free for iPhone and Android phones, it does all kinds of cool things from the obvious of showing you where parks are actually located, to info on events, weather, landmarks, hiking, camping and fishing spots, to the really functional things like allowing you to monitor/report your location while hiking, track and cache favorite trails and landmarks, even snap and share pix of the furry little critters you encounter before they eat you.
At first I thought, “How dumb. Who has service in the middle of a state park?” But they have designed the app to function in low to no cell reception conditions (data only). There IS the ever-present asterisk (* The enhanced pro features on the app are designed to function in areas with little to no mobile reception, however some of the features require mobile data reception in order to function properly.Continued use of GPS running in the background can dramatically decrease battery life.)… so I DO wish that could be more explained before I’d head out. But overall, a GWH W.T.F.* (Winner, Toss-Up or Flop) Award WINNER! Technology that makes life better.