Tuesday, July 2, 2013

NC State Parks free mobile app upgraded for 2013 visitor season

With summer visitation in full swing, the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation and ParksbyNature Network LLC have jointly announced significant improvements to the free mobile app designed for North Carolina’s state parks and state recreation areas.

North Carolina’s Pocket Ranger mobile app, released in 2011 for iPhone and Android, was the first full featured one of its type in the nation and a prototype for the one now favored by most state parks systems. The app offers all information from the state parks system Website as well as campground maps, event schedules and GPS-based park maps that can be downloaded and carried into the field. An “alert” feature provides emergency notices, and visitor groups can share locations through the app while exploring state parks.

Newly introduced features include:

- A GeoChallenges aspect allowing visitors to earn points and prizes by exploring natural sites listed in the challenge (currently 13 sites in North Carolina);

- GPS map viewing in both portrait and landscape modes and an accuracy and distance indicator to further aid navigation;

- New ways to interact with other users of the app and with Pocket Ranger’s Website by submitting photographs, video and adventure notes;

- Optimization for the iPhone 5 screen;

- Improved loading time for the Places Near Me feature.

“The state parks system has accepted the challenge of using technology wherever possible to enhance the visitor experience, and the free mobile app is one of the most popular results of that effort,” said Lewis Ledford, state parks director. “And, since the nonprofit Friends of State Parks shares in advertising proceeds from the app, the state parks community and our education efforts benefit.

The free Pocket Ranger mobile app can be downloaded from www.pocketranger.com

Hiking in the Smokies

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