Fav Apps

This is why I finally bought an iPhone – it is really cheap for a mobile computer. I will complete this list in time. For now, some critical ones I use in the field. I am unfamiliar with the Android but imagine there are the same or equivalent apps there.

Battery life need not be limiting even with energy-expensive GPS apps. I use a Choiix Power Fort 5600mAh external battery charger which keeps the iPhone going for two additional charge cycles.

Field notes

  • Twitter – because photos and comments can be shared on twitter immediately. My tweets are imported to Facebook immediately and friends are more comfortable to comment there, which helps raise awareness or source for information.
  • Twitter in combination with BackUpMyTweets, provides for a virtual field notebook, recording critical information such as location details of a roadkill.

Maps and GPS

  • Google Maps – detects current location, route suggestions to a known point (use postal codes where possible), distance of route, approximate arrival time, traffic conditions (use to divert past bad traffic)
  • Pocket OneMap, uses the Singapore government’s map, which may be critical with iOS6 removing the Google Map app. OneMap keeps improving and agencies all use this.
  • Runkeeper – easiest interface with which plot route on foot or bicycle, has live tracking for other to monitor, tag photos to points along route, keep a archive of routes online. More sophisticated tools exists for greater needs like Motion-X GPS
  • Digital Compass Free – in case you prefer a digital interface instead of your analog iPhone’s compass. I find a compass useful for reorientation in a dense patch of forest to help me get out using short cuts, and even in unfamiliar urban environments if I am unfamiliar with landmarks. Still, always keep a proper compass in your field pack for when your battery runs out. The iTunes Store has some interesting variations like Free HD Compass

Weather

  • WeatherLah – taps NEA data to project sound of crackling thunder loud enough to alert me on a field trip. The early warnings about the possibility of an oncoming storm with attendant dangers of lightning strike and falling branches is helpful and prevents me from being caught unawares, especially when focus is elsewhere.
  • SG Weather – this projects NEA’s rain cloud radar map which I used to determine the size of the thundercloud, its speed and angle of approach. A decision to clear a beach of undergrads often rests on careful use of this app!

Environment

  • CleanLah for photo-reports of trash and other problems direct to NEA
  • Dengue Lah – early warning if there is a dengue cluster in an area I might venture into. If there are two cases in a 150m radius within 14 days, I alert students and volunteers to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Most times it is the densely populated urban areas with enough of trash catching rain water which pose a bigger threat.

First Aid

Transport

  • ComfortDelGro Taxi Booking – summons a taxi to odd places with clear instructions – I use Google Maps or One Map to determine the specific location and try to get a postal code. The app’s location suggestion is usually inaccurate. There is also SMRT Book a Taxi.

If you have suggestions, drop me a note or tweet to @sivasothi!

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