For thousands of years, mankind has been navigating in a number of ways. From moss on trees, to the stars at night, we started with simple tools and ended up with complicated and complex devices. Today, in 2015, one of these complex and complicated devices is something that fits in our pocket. Specifically, the device itself is something that has almost transcended devices, in that it is not a device, but something that works on a device – in this case, an application. The complex and complicated device I am talking about here is Spyglass, an application that was designed for iPhones and other iOS devices. Spyglass is smaller than a smartphone, but make no mistake about it; you need a smartphone – in this case, an iPhone to use it. Even though Spyglass is small, the amount of information and data packed into its digital frame would make any of our ancestors who had to navigate from location to location jealous.
It used to be that you'd head out to the wilderness with nothing but a map, compass, and dagnabit, a film camera on your back, along with other things that comprised your ten essentials. That was then - and this is now. Today, most of us carry a smartphone, which, among other things, can be your camera, GPS unit, map repository, and many other things. I'm an avid iPhone user, and I definitely am always looking for new applications to go along with my existing group of battery draining applications.
Since I've been talking about the desert for the last couple weeks, it seemed like a good idea to review two of my new favorite desert related applications.
The first is the Mojave Desert Tortoise App, and it can be found here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mojave-desert-tortoise/id400806083?mt=8 . This is a great little app that has a quick quiz about the Mojave Desert Tortoise and its lifestyle, as well as handy facts, should you be lucky enough to see one, and even more importantly, should you be lucky enough to see one, a way to take a picture and upload it to researchers seeking to better understand and protect the tortoise - so, like the sign says - "Watch for Desert Tortoise"(!). (As a hint, now would not be a good time to use this app, as the Tortoises are hibernating).
Second, and equally as helpful is the California Desert Application, which can be found here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ca-desert/id431028825?mt=8. This is a great little app with an intereactive map of desert areas, an interactive interface regarding different activities that are available in these areas, and a section for recent news and events going on in those areas.
Also, the best news about these apps is that they are both free, so should you have an iPhone, and plan to be out exploring in the local Southern Californian Deserts, be sure to check them out!
See you on the Interwebs!