The New-Age Naturalist

New applications for hand-held devices bring people closer to the parks.


By Amy Leinbach Marquis


Curious about a plant in Yellowstone? Birdsong in the Rocky Mountains? Endangered species in the Everglades? There’s an app for that.

NPCA recently partnered with eNature.com to create a digital application that brings national park visitors closer to nature through detailed descriptions and photos of plants and animals, range maps, recorded birdsong, park profiles, and a database of threatened and endangered species.

The app, called National Parks Field Guides, is available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch—developers are also looking into producing an application for the Android platform.

“We created this app because we want to enhance people’s national park experience,” says Megan Cantrell, NPCA’s senior coordinator for member engagement. “Close to 300 million people visit our national parks every year, and many of them are using cell phones to look up directions, make reservations, and search for information about what they’re seeing in the parks. Now, thanks to this app, we can reach a new generation that we haven’t really tapped into yet, and hopefully create new national park advocates.”

National Parks Field Guides features 50 national park ecosystems—from Gettysburg to the Grand Canyon—along with information on almost 6,000 species that call those places home. By 2011, the app will include a section called “NPCA in the Park,” which details the organization’s on-the-ground conservation work. Eventually, when users click on “pronghorn” in Yellowstone National Park, they’ll learn how donations have helped our regional staff open up the antelope’s migration corridors.

But that’s not all. GeoRoamer, an iPhone/iPad app produced for Yellowstone National Park, picks up users’ GPS locations and triggers an audio tour featuring up to 150 points of interest. A portion of these sales will benefit NPCA’s work to protect and preserve parks for future generations. Visit http://bit.ly/GeoRoamer and http://bit.ly/NPCApp to download the apps.

This article appears in the Winter 2011 issue.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Jenn Errick

June 5, 2012

Thanks for your note, Fish biologist. NPCA is in the process of developing an expanded version of our app right now for iPhone, iPad, and Android--it's just taking a little longer than we expected. We hope to have it out this summer, so please check back! We'll be sure to announce it on the website and in our email newsletter when the app is out.

Fish biologist

June 4, 2012

Dear NPCA: Based on the following statement from the article; "The app, called National Parks Field Guides, is available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch—developers are also looking into producing an application for the Android platform.", I hope you extend your efforts to also produce an application for the Windows platform (like Nokia Lumia 900). Thanks.

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