We've said good things about the Chimani apps before. With National Park Week starting today, Chimani has released additional free national park guides, including Grand Teton, Glacier, Olympic, Sequoia-Kings Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Parks. A new guide will be released every day this week. These guides used to be paid apps priced from US$2.99-$9.99. They were a bargain then, and for free, they are must-haves.
With these new releases, Chimani is adding what it calls Viewport, an augmented reality tool that lets you pan around the scenery and identify points of interest. This is one of the most useful applications of augmented reality I've seen. Without it, you would almost certainly miss some of the striking features within your view. The Viewport feature is $1.99 as an in-app purchase.
The Chimani guides include information on local weather, restroom locations, accommodation information and details on activities specific to the national park guide you are using. There are also maps of hiking trails, scenic drives and overlooks.
These new releases also include topographic maps based on data from Open Street Maps, pretty handy info in many of our national parks. The data is updated monthly, as Chimani claims the maps contain the most detailed and up-to-date information available anywhere, digitally or in print.
I've used the Chimani guides in a couple of our national parks, and it definitely made the experience richer and let me use my time more wisely. The apps are also most welcome before a park visit to help you to decide what to do and where to go.
All the Chimani guides are universal, and are optimized for the iPhone 5. They require iOS 5.01 or greater. If you're planning a trip to any of our national parks this year, grab the appropriate app and you'll have a better time on your visit.