Adventure Tech: National Geographic National Park App

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Looking for yet another great use for your iPhone or iPad? Then look no further than the National Parks app from National Geographic. It’s a high tech tool for planning your visit to more than 20 of America’s top parks such as Yellowstone, Yosemite and Zion.

The app is free to download but includes the option to buy special map packs for each of the parks for $1.99 each or the entire collection for the bargain price of just $9.99. Those packs offer highly detailed topographic maps that feature points of interest (complete with GPS coordinates), hiking routes, lodges and more. The editors of Nat Geo have even compiled their favorite must-do and must-see experiences for each of parks, making it even easier to know what you should do when you arrive at your national park destination. Other features include photo galleries, complete with images from the National Geographic archives, collectable park stamps, social networking integration and a personal space for saving your own notes, itinerary and photos.

The National Parks app has actually been available for some time, but a recent update has added some new features. It has now been optimized for the new iPhone 5 screen and has iCloud integration allowing users to sync map packs across all of their iOS devices. There have also been improvements to the already fantastic maps and the addition of an in-app store for purchasing a variety of fun national parks apparel and other gear.

Nat Geo’s app is a great example of how technology and outdoor adventure can come together quite nicely. The maps are super high in quality and the fact that they can integrate with the phone or tablet’s GPS system extends their usefulness greatly. The points of interest database for each park is quite extensive and includes thousands of locations, which comes in handy not just before your visit, but while you’re there as well.

The $9.99 price tag is incredibly inexpensive for everything that is included in this app. If you’re a fan of the national parks and visit them often, then this is a must have.

Kraig Becker