Understanding nature via a mobile phone

Two weeks ago I got the chance to test a new smartphone app designed to increase your understanding of the services natural ecosystems can provide and why we need to protect certain areas.  The app was created by Sarah Taigel, a PhD student at UEA, as part of her research.  You can read more about her project here.

We walked around the UEA broad, half the trip using old school maps and half using the app. Whilst the app was fun, I’m the sort of person who likes to see the bigger picture and therefore the map, where I could read ahead, was my preferred technique.

Before I went on the walk I thought that viewing the world through a phone screen would make us one step removed from the natural world. It seemed a shame to look at things through pixels instead of taking in nature with all your senses in 360 degrees. However, apart from the constant threat of tripping over any stray logs/dogs/small children when you’re too busy looking at the phone, I enjoyed using the app. Something that gives pop up information on the area you’re in would certainly be fun, and possibly useful for wowing friends/winning pub quizzes.

For anyone with a smart phone Wired and the National Wildlife Federation blog have lists of science/nature apps.

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