Walking trails on your mobile. […] For each trail, Naturapps offers a guide describing the route and a quality interactive map where you see the route, your GPS position and points of interest with interpretive content.
Source: Android description (translated) / Image: Judit Urquijo
Price: in-app purchases (€0.99 € – €10.99 by element. Some sponsored routes are offered for free)
Runs offline: yes
Last update: Android 08/03/2016 (v. 1.3.10) – iOS 16/03/2016 (v. 1.1.3)
Website of the developer: Naturapps
This application includes dozens of walking routes located in Spain, although most of them are concentrated in the Cantabrian coast, especially in Asturias. However, Naturapps team works to add new routes often.
The application displays an initial menu with three options described below:
- “Mis rutas” (My routes), where you can access the previously downloaded routes. For each of them, basic data such as the distance between the user’s location and the start of the route, its difficulty, length in kilometers and estimated time to perform it are shown.
- “Buscar rutas” (Search routes), being able to make the search entering a name, according to geographical proximity, selecting from the map or using advanced search through filters with which you can define the degree of difficulty, distance, type of route, if you’re traveling with children or you are a cyclist.
- “Mi perfil” (My profile), section from which you can buy points to redeem them for routes, redeem coupons obtained in collaborating establishments, access to downloaded routes and your user profile, delete the account and check the help.
Each route includes the following information:
- A photo gallery with relevant landmarks of the route (these points are also pointed out on the map).
- Basic information about the route (distance, altitude, type of route, etc.)
- Map of the route (to access this section you must save and download previously the route). The base map of the trail is shown on 1:50,000 and 1:25,000. Depending the zoom, you can also view an aerial image. The cartography is extracted from CNIG (National Center for Geographic Information). Clicking on the icons of the landmarks, you can access to additional information.
- Location of the route, with indication of the zone on a map where you can see the user’s location and open Google Maps.
- Description, where the different sections of the route are described.
NaturApps, hiking guides on your smartphone (video 3 min 17 sec)
Images: Screenshots 17/10/2016. © Naturapps
The exploitation of nature for touristic purposes is an activity that can have many benefits for the areas that hold a remarkable natural wealth. It is not only an economic factor, since numerous studies have shown that contact with nature enhances human health, also contributing to “help people control their symptoms (physical illness or mental health disorders) or even recover, alongside conventional medication”. Different researches have also made clear the importance that this relationship with nature means for child development because it helps to increase self-control and to instill discipline.
One of the best ways to interact with the environment is certainly walking, following some of the routes proposed by Naturapps. The app highlights by the quality of the images and the detailed description of the itineraries, maybe a little excessive in some cases considering that read on the screen of a mobile is not particularly comfortable (reflexes, battery life, etc.). In addition, in this case, the application does not allow zoom in on the text, with what people with some visual loss may have trouble reading the descriptions due font size. In some cases, such as in the datasheet for the Salto del Nervion (the highest waterfall of Spain), it would be useful to clarify a little more the information. Mount Santiago, Natural Monument according to regional legislation and Special Protection Area (SPA) according to the Natura 2000 network, is an area that may present difficulties of access during the winter months since it is a mountainous area with heights between the 900-1000 m in which circulation restrictions are common during this time, so you should first consult weather forecasts. Similarly, this area sometimes experiences a weather phenomenon known locally by the name of “bollo” in the course of which it extends a dense fog that reduces visibility to almost zero. The maps are particularly useful, also being interesting the points indicated along these. It would be interesting to incorporate an elevation profile of route that can guide users about the difficulty of the trail or, instead, establish a clear classification of the different levels of difficulty. For other sections of the application, it might be necessary to explain a little better what pricing policies are.