NaturCuenca is an application for mobile devices that includes routes through protected natural areas of the province of Cuenca.
Source: Android description (translated) / Image: www.agentesforestales.es
Runs offline: partially (signal needed to download data that allows the offline use of the app and to see how to arrive to the spaces)
Last update: Android 27/01/2016 (v. 1.2) – iOS 18/02/2016 (v. 1.0.16)
Offered by: Junta de Comunidades de Castilla La Mancha
The province of Cuenca, in addition to the famous hanged houses of the capital and the site of the Enchanted City, has a great natural wealth that Naturcuenca application seeks to highlight. Its aim is to provide information on the routes that can be explored in different protected natural areas, revealing through them some of the most relevant points related with botanic science, fauna or geology, also pointing out the equipment available for visitors (parking, recreational areas, etc.).
As starting point, the application displays a menu with 4 main sections (“ver fauna” (see fauna), “ver flora” (see flora), “ver geología” (see geology) and “ver todo” (see all), where the different areas are grouped toghether according to their most relevant features (some places share categories).
The various enclaves are shown in a grid and you can check their location using the “Map”. Clicking on each space, you can access to a page with pictures, a description and link to the route itself. The information available for the routes includes the length (the photo gallery includes a profile), urban equipment, description and so-called “star points” or areas of special interest within the route.
The arrow located on the top left gives access to a menu, in which, plus the option to list the areas and return to home, are included the following options:
- “Noticias” (news), section in which announcements of interest are shared.
- “Favoritos” (favorites), where you can group your favorite natural areas.
- “Puntos de interés” (points of interest), with a list to explore the most striking characteristics of each place.
- “Lector QR” (QR reader), tool to scan the QR codes included at the panels located along the route to get further information (internet connection required. If you don’t have signal, the QR code acts as a beacon).
- “Información” (information), section that includes some recommendations about use of the application.
Images: Screenshots 03/10/2016. © JCCM
Spain is the country with the highest biodiversity in the European Union, a natural resource that could mean an economic impact of about 3 700 million euros, according to the web Activa Red Natura 2000, which is equivalent to about “268 euros for each of the 13,8 million hectares that are part of Natura 2000 network in Spain “, as reported by a study commissioned by the European Commission to the company BIOIS.
Although NaturCuenca focuses on natural parks, natural monuments, reserves and micro-reserves, enclaves that sometimes are also part of the Natura 2000 network under the figures of SCIs/SACs or SPAs (perhaps it would be interesting to include these data in the app to bring visitors closer to these categories of protection), the application is an example of how to value the environmental wealth of a territory little known through mobile technology. The application is easy to handle, including the most important aspects as well as some interactive elements that allow to the user to know better the ecosystems of Cuenca. However and regarding the description of the routes, there is scope to include more information, making reference to whether is adapted for people with disabilities or the physical condition recommended to make the routes, as well as to the equipment of the recreational areas (availability of water, etc.). It might also be interesting to include an alert system through which visitors to these areas can report problems found along the routes.