Plan your visit to Yellowstone National Park with this official National Park Service App. Use the features to help you discover the stories behind scenery as you explore Yellowstone.
Runs offline: yes
Last update: Android 25/07/2016 (v. 1.0.1) – iOS 18/05/2016 (v. 1.12.1)
Website of the developer: National Park Service
This application of Yellowstone National Park aims to provide useful information to visitors of this natural enclave. It is a tool that enables you to plan the visit through the maps or self-guided tours that includes, serving also as support for the communication of warnings and incidents by the responsibles for the park (roads status, fire restrictions, etc.).
The options are as follows:
- “Home”, where at the bottom you can see notifications of interest such as the ranger activities, geyser predictions, etc. Highlighting also the red triangle at the right top in which you can view other type of alerts.
- “Map”, where the boundaries of the park and different attractions for visitors (represented by icons) such as information offices, wildlife observation areas or panoramic, services, accommodations and camping sites, etc., are shown. Each of the points has a data sheet with additional information and tips. In the case of wildlife, these advices include, for example, safety distances, since there have been numerous attacks by buffalos or bears.
- “Explore” with a list of places to see, eat, accommodations, shopping, areas of interest near the user, etc., including its location on the map and info about the accessibility of the site, for example.
- “Tours”, with 5 self-guided routes. For each of them, the points of interest are listed, also offering additional information. In the Android version there is an audio option, although does not seem to work properly.
- “More”, with additional utilities such as the ability to download maps for offline use (83 MB).
Images: Screenshots 07/09/2016. © NSP (public domain)
The Yellowstone National Park is the oldest U.S. national park (declared it as such in 1872) and one of the crown jewels of the network of natural spaces of the American giant with 4 million annual visits (although the most visited park of the country is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with more than 10 million of visitors in 2015. In total, the number of visitors of the national parks in U.S. rose to more than 305 million people).
The communication and information to visitors is key in order to make known the values of a natural enclave and mobile applications offer numerous advantages over traditional paper guides in terms of facility to be upgraded or the ability to provide latest warnings. NPS Yellowstone is an example of a simple application that provides information to know the park. This app is not for people looking for high mountain excursions or climb routes, because the maps provided are not designed for this purpose. Its target audience are nature lovers that want to enjoy of a sporadic visit going to the most attractive areas according with their interests (always respecting the rules and safety recommendations). Perhaps in this sense, it would be interesting to incorporate more routes and information such as their distances to the app. Also it is missing information on restaurants and type of food they offer (suitable for coeliacs, for example).