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iVisit the Zoo: my iPhone-empowered day trip

During the weekend I took a trip to the Bronx Zoo.  It was my first time there in about five years and this time my trip would be different.  This time I was packing an iPhone 3GS instead of the Treo 750 I had with me last time.  To prepare for my journey I loaded my iPhone with apps that I would utilize throughout the day.  My one concern was battery power. I knew I would be using my phone often and I needed to maximize my battery’s stamina.

A few months ago I received the Mophie Juice Pack Air as a gift.  I don’t really use it that often, but since I didn’t have anything else it was the perfect match for the day.  The night before the trip I  made sure to charge the Mophie case and iPhone, so I was good to go by the next morning.  While driving down to the Bronx, the first app used was Trapster.  I used it not only to avoid road hazards or possible speed traps along the way, but I used the built in Google Maps for navigation.  To my surprise there were no warnings except for an alert regarding a construction zone.  I also didn’t see any police or hazards to report.

After arriving at the Bronx Zoo and paying for parking, I fired up PosiMotion’s G-Park.  This was actually one of the very first apps I ever purchased for my iPhone.  G-Park is an app that becomes useful when you have to park in a massive lot.  The app takes the confusion and frustration out of trying to locate your car.  After parking in the spot, I tapped “Park Me!” and I only waited a few seconds for G-Park to acquire my position.  It dropped the pin where I was located so there was no need to adjust the position.  I didn’t need to use the “Take Photo / Add Notes” section, but it’s a useful feature. You can snap a picture and add a note to remember the parking lot section.

Shortly after buying our tickets I used two apps, Foursquare and RunKeeper Free.  As most people know Foursquare is one of the many social “check-in” apps in the store.  I have been using Foursquare for some time, but I always forget to open it and check in at a location. Using the app to check in at the zoo was very easy and quick.  Foursquare located the Bronx Zoo and then I simply tapped “check-in” and published it via Twitter and Facebook.  After checking in, the app indicated two other Foursquare users also checked in at the zoo.

Next I used RunKeeper which uses the GPS in your phone to track various fitness activities.  It calculates distance, pace, speed, calories burned and more.  I wanted to keep track of the total distance we walked during the day.  I set the activity to “walking” then hit start.  My iPhone is jailbroken so I used ProSwitcher to background the application so I could still use my phone while RunKeeper kept calculating in the background.  Now I knew my battery would suffer the consequences for doing this, but I was willing to pay the price.  I came prepared with the Mophie Juice Pack Air case and was ready to put it to the test.

Throughout the day at the zoo the app I used the most was the Camera.  I have several camera apps which I could have loaded and brought with me, but I find myself always going back to the stock app. The main reason for that is, I like to have the ability to switch from a still camera to a video camera.  When you’re at the zoo, you have to expect the unexpected, and with a quick slide of the toggle I can quickly and easily switch to shooting video.  I also like the fact that when I transfer photos later on the Mac, everything is complete.  Loading photos from the iPhone to iPhoto saves me the extra step of having to add the GPS location to every picture.  I find it to be a more synergistic Apple experience.

Several of the buildings we went into were dark and since the Camera app does not work well in low lit areas I used Photoshop Mobile to help out.  I use both these apps hand in hand.  I wish we could combine them both.  The features are great to use on the go and I love how it leaves the original untouched just saving a copy.  I am not a photographer, but having the Camera app and PS Mobile is all I need.

When we stopped for ice cream, I remembered a show I wanted to watch later that night and forgot to set TiVo to record it.  No need to fear, however, for i.TV is here. I opened the i.TV app that I have been using lately with TiVo.  I searched by keyword for the show and i.TV found it quickly.  I simply tapped “Watch” then “Record” and seconds later I received an e-mail confirming my recording for later that night.

As we concluded our visit to the Bronx Zoo and returned to the parking lot, I opened G-Park  and tapped “Where Did I Park?”.  The app led us back to the car using the “Directions in Maps” feature with out any problems.  I depleted my entire Mophie Juice Pack Air and was left with 60% battery power by the afternoon. According to RunKeeper, in just over four hours, we walked 6.91 miles and burned 866 calories.  On the way home, I used Momento and added the trip to the zoo.  I first tagged everyone that accompanied me to the zoo, and then tagged the place.  I also uploaded a few photos from the camera roll into the app.  It is a great way to save and remember those special moments.

Overall I had a great visit to the Bronx Zoo.  It was great to be there again and the weather was perfect.  I just find it amazing that five years ago I never would have imagined doing this kind of stuff with my phone, and now it’s a reality.  I can actually take a picture with my phone, edit it, then share it, all within a matter of minutes.

My only wish is for someone to create a Bronx Zoo app, which I am surprised has not already been developed.  This would save me from using that big paper map.  It would be nice to have an interactive map, and maybe even a way to donate to the Bronx Zoo through the iPhone.  Please share in the comment section any apps you have utilized during your most recent trip.

“These apps were independently purchased by the post author in the iPhone App Store. For further information regarding our site ‘s review policies, please see our About page.”

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