Gain Expertise Fast
Identify peaks, plants, and more: Preload your phone with these top apps.
There’s no need to bust out the topo map and ruler if you download Peak Scanner ($2; iPhone; itunes.com), which tells you the names of nearby peaks and your distance (vertical and horizontal) from the summit.
Take a photo of a leaf with Columbia University’s Leafsnap (free; iPhone, iPad; leafsnap.com) and the app’s visual recognition software will spit out the species (data connection required).
Send a photo of an unidentified plant or animal to iNaturalist (free; iPhone, Android; iNaturalist .org), and your picture will be uploaded to a public forum where other users can help you solve the mystery.
Identify more than 900 North American bird species by color, flight style, shape, or song with the iBird Lite Guide to Birds app (free; iPhone, iPad; ibird.com).