As if you needed more reason to get into the state parks during the warm weather months, the developers of our free mobile app (for iPhone and Android) have added a fistful of new features including GeoChallenges that will motivate you to explore some new places.
North Carolina’s Pocket Ranger mobile app was the first full-featured one of its type in the nation, and a prototype for the one favored by most state parks systems. To begin with, Pocket Ranger rebuilt its Website here, making it easier than ever to download the app and find explanations of all that it offers. The app offers pretty much all the information that’s on our Website as well as campground maps and GPS-based park maps that you can download to a mobile device and carry into the field. An “alert” feature keeps you safer with notices of emergency park or facility closings, and there’s the ability to learn about park programs and keep up with traveling companions while exploring the parks.
The newest features include:
– Improved loading time for the Places Near Me feature;
– GPS viewing in both portrait and landscape modes and an accuracy and distance indicator to further aid in navigation;
– New ways to interact with other users of the app and with Pocket Ranger’s Website by submitting photographs, video and stories about your adventures;
– Optimization for the iPhone 5 screen size;
– And, the GeoChallenges for many state parks systems including North Carolina.
In GeoChallenges, app users earn points by exploring the sites listed in the challenge (currently 13 sites in North Carolina). For users to participate, they simply have to register by creating a profile at www.pocketranger.com. Once they have a profile, they can play any of their state’s GeoChallenges. Post Grape Nuts and Pocket Ranger are collaborating on the challenge and have promised prizes through drawings in October for GeoChallenge leaders. (Hint: read the rules carefully for details on that.) And, app users can suggest GeoChallenges to the Pocket Ranger team.
It all begins by downloading the app to your smartphone. It’s free and truly handy to have as you explore state parks. And just as importantly, through the nonprofit Friends of State Parks, the parks share in advertising proceeds from the app.