We’ve talked about Gardening apps before which is great if you want to master your backyard and have a perfect backyard. However, if you call yourself a nature lover, there is so much more that you should know. For example, you should be able to guess the name of the plant, know natural walking trails which no one is aware of, etc. Well, if you want to know all this and don’t know where you start, don’t worry. I got you. Here are the best apps for nature lovers for iOS & Android to get you started. Let’s begin!
Read Best Birding Apps 2020 (Android and iOS)
Best for Community Learning about Nature
The iNaturalist lets the user identify plants and animals around you. You can click a picture wherever you’re confused and share it in the app with other iNaturalist users. You can also upload an old photo from the gallery anytime. Besides that, if you’re an expert, the app also has an explore section. You can look at other’s observations, and comment on the pictures in case you’re aware of the type of plant or trees shown.
The app is free and it also has a website which has far more content as compared to the app, like, videos tutorials, teacher’s guide, etc.
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Table of Contents
Best for Identifying Plants with a Picture
iNaturalist provides a community-based approach in the identification, however, if you want to know the plant species right away, PlantNet is for you.
The app’s UI is minimal and you can simply click on the Camera sign to start identifying after you open the app. You have two options, if you’re already outdoors you can click a picture right away, or choose a picture from your gallery. Once you upload, choose which part of the plant can be seen in the picture, such as leaf, flower, bark, fruit, etc. For example, I downloaded the picture of Bengal Rose from the internet and ran it through the app and it showed correct results in a second.
The app also has a section called World of Fauna where you can find more info on weeds, invasive plants and also plants of specific regions in detail. The app doesn’t contain ads and is free to use, which is a dealbreaker for me.
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3. Herb Dictionary
Best to Make Medicinal use of Herbs
Herb Dictionary is or such app which can help you take advantage of the healing power of plants in your surroundings. The app has a long comprehensive list of medicinal herbs which you can use raw or with your traditional cuisine. Although the UI isn’t appealing there is still tons of information such as the photo, botanical name, medical users, and also it’s properties, such as anti-depressant, sedative, antioxidant, etc. Another useful info is about the part of the plant to use because most often the plant isn’t edible entirely.
The app is free however to take notes, bookmark favourite herbs and backup data to the cloud you need to buy the premium version which comes at $4.5.
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4. Nature’s Notebook
Best for Tracking Seasonal Changes in Trees and Plants
If you’re a nature lover, you sure would be curious about how plants and trees change as season changes. This study is also called Phenology. So if you already observe things closely and want to enter and keep track of this data, Nature’s Notebook app is just for you.
To begin you have to make a new account or you can sign-in with an account you made with the website. You can check any available local phenology group in your area and observe with them or you can also do it individually for sites, plants and animals. You can enter new data or select from the list given in the app. It’s very easy to observe using this app as the date is automatically fulled and you have to choose yes, no and not sure options to make an observation. Observation includes things like, time observed, condition of leaves, flowering or not, etc.
The app is only available in the U.S, so if you’re anywhere around the world, you’ll have to look for alternatives.
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5. GPS Tools
Best Overall Utility Tool for Outdoors
It’s a fact that most of the phone nowadays have features a light flashlight, compass, altimeter, etc. These are basic tools generally required when you’re out in nature. But a single app which has all these plus other tools like, GPS alarm, weather forecast, etc, would provide better utility. For that, I use the GPS tools app.
It’s a powerhouse of all the tools you might every need. For example, it has a speedometer, in case you’re on a cycle trail and wants to keep an estimate of your max and minimum speed. A quick location feature, so you don’t have to manually open maps every time, and in case of any emergency, you can simply tap and share your location and even click a picture of the surrounds. Besides that, the app shows the air quality index, altitude finder, GPS alarm, Level Meter and many more tools which can be easily toggled with a swipe.
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6. All Trails
Best App to Search for NatureTrails
If you’re planning a holiday after COVID-19 situation eases, just searching for wildlife parks and sanctuaries will not suffice. There are main trails which everyone follows, but you’ll be surprised to know there are dozens of small off-road trails which you can follow and discover more.
All Trails is one such app which has over 100,000 trails around the world curated by app users. You do require to sign up, which can be done quickly with your Google Account. The app shows you top trails near your area as soon as you open it, moreover, you can also filter these by activity, like bird watching, nature walk, etc. In case you have a movement constraint you can search trails that are baby stroller friendly or wheelchair friendly. If you tried a trail and you liked it you can also save it in your favourites so you can check it out later.
The app has both a list view and a map view and you can also record your trail direction, distance and time. The app is free, but I do suggest the pro version with comes at $29/yearly and allows you to save the map offline, show many more routes, etc.
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Best App for Nature Sounds
All the outdoor spaces are either shut or open in very short intervals every day. However, you can still mimic a part of the environment by using apps which create sounds of nature. One such app is Atmosphere.
The app has a list of sounds so you can tap and enjoy relaxing natural sounds instantly. These are categorized under beaches, forests, urban spaces, underwater etc. All these sounds can be customized, so you can add new sounds to the preexisting sounds. For example, on top of the forest, you can add wind, raindrop, thunderstorms and many more such elements. You can also tweak the volume of these elements individually so you can create a sound you like.
The app is free to use, however you do 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.
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In my opinion, PlantNet is 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 identify your pictures and you can do the same. Since we’re all stuck in our homes, I use Atmosphere to keep myself closer to nature. Moreover, it helps me relax and keep stress and anxiety away.
Also Read Best Gardening Apps for Android & iOS