Friday, January 29, 2010

My Fav. iPhone apps

ere is a list of my favorite iphone apps with a short review:

Lambert- Stereonets on your iphone! Yes! And you can transfer it later to your computer! Yes! You heard me !!! I was so happy when I first found this application I cannot tell you how loud I screamed out in joy. I wanted to go out and make a stereoplot right away, but instead I just replotted an old one I had done by hand- works great and I LOVE this app! Sometimes taking tracing paper and a stiff piece of cardboard out to the field is just too cumbersome! Now, I would not use anything but my Brunton Pocket Transit to take measurements, so I personally wouldn't use this to gather data  but for impromptu plotting this is great! It doesn't currently allow you to manually input your own data via the app- but you can download the data you took with iphone and replace it with the data you retrieved via your Brunton once its on your PC. This somewhat defeats the purpose of the app, and I am hoping a future update allows for manual input. I don't think battery life would be an issue either. While some people find it difficult to use the iphone touchpad to type, I am a beast at typing on it, so for me personally, this is a great tool. I have also found my iphone to be very sturdy. I've dropped it quite a few times- the only time I cracked anything was the inner screen when I reached for the phone off the dock it was on in the car (for music) too fast to take a picture of an outcrop we were passing. (oops). But in the rain, a plastic baggie works fine over it and it still works-has for me anyways. 2.99 for the app and well worth it!

MotionX GPS/Motion GPS Sport- this app series is great for creating logs of your tracks. I used it (MotionX GPS) when I was on field trips to log the different stops. You can take pictures at each waypoint (que outcrops) which then translated to easy field reports when all was said and done. Only drawback is that it can be a drain on your iphone if you are not careful. I don't recommend listening to the ipod while using the app- and put it on energy saver yadda yadda.. The newest update integrated the ipod into the app so you can access your music with ease. A compliment to this app is MotionX-GPS SPORT on facebook where you can store your tracks to share with friends and family, keep a detailed log of hikes, runs, bike rides, and just overall track your progress. You can read more about it here.

This next app is a great one for geotagging your images, without the drain on your iphone battery. It is like looking at the world through a brunton/altimeter. Pretty cool! There are many times I have been up on a point and not known my elevation, so it would be nice to know where I was in order to pinpoint it on a map. Even if it were to end up few feet off, just having the general location is a bonus compared to nothing at all. In reading the reviews via the app store, quite a few people are finding it surprisingly accurate. Per the app developer:
Theodolite lets you take camera images directly from the app, with 2X and 4X digital zoom options. You can choose to stamp geographical data directly on the saved image for later reference. View your current position on the built in map view, with standard, satellite, and hybrid modes. On an iPhone 3GS, bearing is updated live on the map with both fixed view and world rotation.
Theodolite 1.1 includes a new A-B Calculator with options to compute height of landmarks, triangulate position, compute distance/heading between points, measure relative angles between observations, and show points on the map. The calculator includes an option to copy results to the clipboard. Theodolite will save observation data for point A if the app is quit before recording data for point B, which is great for long distance measurements. See the Doc/Help/FAQ section for more info on the A-B Calculator.
 As with most of us who want to know exactly where that picture was taken, geotagging is a huge deal. I think this app is the answer to anyone who readily uses their iphone to take images. I for one, don't generally carry a camera because it is just an added piece of equipment that I don't want to deal with. But I almost always have my iphone- and for taking generic outcrop images it is perfect. In fact, the image of the large rock outcrop used on this blog was taken with an iphone while driving/moving to our current destination. I didn't come to a stop either- just had Mandy take pictures as I saw outcrops I liked along our trip. None of which were geotagged, but I can guess from a lot of the rock-types where we were at the time. Not optimal, but... Now, had I had this app, it would have been perfect! I could have sectioned off our trip via file folders and then if I wanted any printed out for a scrapbook (that I always mean to get to but never do) one day I'd have the date and geo info along with it.

Geocaching- I use this app to see if there are any caches nearby and to locate them. While not as good as a GPS, it works very well and gets me to the spot I need. Once I find the cache I can then log that I have found it, take any pictures and upload if required, and move on to the next cache. It's also nice when I am stuck and can't find a cache to see other pictures people have posted to make sure I am in the right spot. Husband is better at spotting things in flora than I am, so I need this little nudge of help. (I know it is cheating but don't tell him.. shhhh...:) Even with the help of images he still generally finds caches hidden in plants over me. I just don't have an eye for things in plants- too used to looking at rocks. (They are prettier anyways).

GeologyTX, GeologyCA, GeologyWa/OR, etc..- this is a fantastic app series! It is comprised of a geologic map of the state (ea. state has separate app) and gives you the rock type of your area with age and description of said rock type. I really love the aspect that you can narrow down areas via the distance tool. I'm anxious to give this one a test run in the field. Not necessarily for just geologists. Families with kids could use this as a fantastic teaching aid, esp. when you relocate a lot. It would be a good way to find rock samples with those boys (or girls-as even Mandy loves getting in the mud from time to time to my amazement) who enjoy rocks.

Gems and Minerals- I really like this app because you can add your own samples into the database. How awesome is that? woot woot! Seriously though, for .99 cents you can't beat that!

Rock and Gems- This app was just released Jan 19th and I found it the other day so I haven't gone through it fully, but it has quality images of specimen samples. I'll add more info later when I have time to sit and play with it a bit. . Only 99 cents so worth the pictures. Pretty rocks are always nice to look at when bored at the doctors office.

Terraphone- I kinda like this app, although it was a bit pricy for an app at 12.99. The rating on it is only 3 stars, but when reading the reviews it is because a lot of the users didn't understand the advanced terminology utilized in the app. Personally I would not have paid 12.99 for an app that did not use the correct terminology, so to me that's a good thing.However after using the app it really isn't overly technical at all. Took me a second to notice the bulls-eye in the opening screen, and you have to move that over to your blue pushpin (on map) if you want to know about your current area- or you can move bulls-eye over another area you desire information on. There are images to rock samples, however there are very limited "map it" options if you want to find a particular outcrop to see examples for yourself. In the end, 12.99 was highly overpriced for this app (IMO). While there were 13 images for aragonite samples in my local area- again if I were to want to see an outcrop or get a small sample, there is no information as to where it would occur. There are a lot of other apps that offer more extensive information at a better price. I think a fair price for this app would be at the most 5.99.

Rocks- This is a cute little app that would be great for someone taking a beginning geology class, or just an enthusiast. A bit rudimentary for those at the advanced levels of geology, but still fun to look through. It sections rocks off into Ig., Met., and Sed.; then breaks each sections down into types of rocks under those categories with descriptions and a sample image. There is a quiz at the end.

Rockhound- Here is a another app that is an asset for anyone wanting to grab some rock samples! You can add sites you have found rx at yourself and submit them to the site to be added to future updates, so this app has the potential to get better as time goes by. I like that you can add pictures/notes yourself to assist in returning to previously visited sites. If you are anything like me, you are all over the place when you are out on a day of rock-finding, so it's a bonus to be able to add notes to recall where you've been and where you found what. It also has a database of rocks, and what tools may be needed to extract the specimens. Another thing I like about the app is that it describes the sites in detail to where if it isn't suitable for younger kids you know not to bring them. I normally do not bring little guy on my first runs when going out on a search, unless I know for sure that it is a safe spot. Even though he is old enough to listen to me and not run off like a toddler, he still lacks judgment as any young child would, and so I only bring him to well known (to me) spots that aren't heavily trafficked or near any roadways. A lot of outcrops I go to are along highways, and I would never bring any child to such a spot. I've seen others do this, and I think it is highly irresponsible. If you are out rockhounding with young children think twice about where you go. It's too easy to get absorbed into what you are doing and not pay attention to what the little ones do- I know personally I am completely like a bug caught in the glare of a light when rocks are concerned, and would easily get too distracted to see what little guy was up to. So just be safe. :)

Earth Science by ExamBusters- This app has questions regarding the topic of earth science, and is formatted to work like flash cards. Kinda fun and while some of the questions are lower level (i.e. How many neutrons in an isotope of hydrogen-1?; State the basic formula to calculate density; what are the mineral sources of bricks; List three basic characteristics of granite; List two basic characteristics of pegmatite; Describe paleomagnetism of basalts..etc etc) It's a fun app that I like to use when ever we have time to kill waiting somewhere (doc office, restaurants etc) to quiz my teens since they should know most of this stuff.

QuakeWatch- gives you the latest news on earthquakes around the world, with links to USGS for detailed information and maps.

Tasa Geology- Kinda neat for the kids to learn about plate tectonics. Hard to believe that in the 1960's this was a huge debate. (Not too long ago when you think about it.) Only drawback is they do not display the movement of the plates as postulated by scientists throughout the time periods. It would have been nice to see that perhaps added in the future update.

Units- gives conversions for an array of things -area, speed, pressure, currency..

Math tasks- coordinate geometry.-Could have used this when digging that trench in Jordan for sure! Not that I can't do geometry by hand, but when it is 120 degree F, your brain just isn't working at full capacity.

ichemistry- has a nice periodic table and balances equations. Also has a mass calculator (reactants/products). This is an okay app, but a bit limited.

ChemiCal- this will calculate stock dilutions and also has a nice periodic table. Also calculates molarity/mass/vol etc. The formula mass calculator section is pretty nice. Another nice aspect of this app is the detailed listing of general information. It offers atomic number, avg. mass, monoisotopic mass, electron config, electrons per shell. Physical properties are also listed : crystal structure, density, melting points. Common isotopes & ionization energies etc. One of the better chemistry apps out there IMO.

The Converter- This is a monster. Does everything from gas consumption/capacity & volume/ mass & weight/currency/clothing (tells you conversion sizes in US, UK, Aus, Eur, Jap, Belgium Spain and France to name a few!)/kitchen (dash, UK teaspoon vs. US -really nice)/angles/ etc etc. This is a great app for those going overseas, or who do any type of conversions.

AppBox Pro- while some of the apps I have are repeated in this handy app of many, this is still a good app to have. Gives batterlife/clinometer/currency/date calc/loan calc/icalendar/sale price/tip calc/units/translator/ruler/price grab/holidays/flashlight/days until/ google books/collapse.. all in ONE app. So for those who like things simple, this is an all in one combo.

MetPetDB- Shows you rock samples of whatever area you may be exploring. This is a new download for me, so haven't used it in the field, but the premise is awesome!

I have a ton more apps, but this will do for now. I'll add to this as I find time. Hope it helps you fellow iphone app lovers out there! ;0)

1 comment:

Michael said...

Hi there, I fully love your enthusiasm and passion for geology. I am in South Australia and am looking for work doing greenfields exploration. I too get very excited about finding a good specimen and in this case some pretty cool apps especially "Theodolite". Very useful for me as I like to climb too. Great blog, I will be back - See ya later