Application Name: CalParks
Description: Travel and info guide for the California State Parks system
Publisher’s website: California State Parks Foundation
Version/date reviewed: v.1.0 / 3-31-11
Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2
If you’re vacationing or exploring in California, this is a nice little reference guide to the extensive California State Park system.
Starting up the app also starts up your GPS receiver to get a location; you can then get a list of parks sorted by distance from you (which I find the handiest), or also by park name.
Tapping on the Map button at upper right brings up the map view, with the state park locations flagged. Tapping on the icon at upper left shows your current position on the map.
Tapping on the arrows at lower left brings up pop-up windows for every park in alphabetical order. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an option to bring up pop-ups based on distance from you, which would be more useful.
Tapping on the pop-up, or on the park name in a list, brings up a page with more info. A lot more; there’s about 10 pages of info that you can scroll through for this park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Included is info about wildlife, vegetation, history, trails and more; there’s also a direct link for making campground reservations.
Tapping the Explore This Park bar brings up a list of general guides and trips for various trails and excursions at the park.
The guides/trips include photos of trail highlights, information, the option to get driving directions, downloading information for use when you’re offline, and …
A map of the trail, with tappable pushpins that show the photographs corresponding to that point. If you’re hiking the trail and have GPS enabled, you can view your location on the trail as well.
Other issues: I’m quite familiar with this park, so I know that the list of available trips/trails isn’t complete. The trips seem to be taken from the EveryTrail.Com website (the developers of the app for the Cal State Parks Foundation), and they have many more trips listed; hopefully, some of these will be added eventually.
Final thoughts: Almost a model for what this kind of app should be; I hope EveryTrail gets the chance to make similar apps for other states. If you live in California, or are planning an outdoors-oriented trip there, this is a must-have app.