iWalk in the country
by Nina Reetzke | May 23, 2011

Until recently, it was the case that if you searched on Google for "Alps app", you would turn up results for holiday homes, such as "App. Guesthouse Bendler – Kirchdorf in Tyrol". However, since the invention of the iPhone, the results have changed considerably. "App" no longer stands for "apartment", but "application". Although the Alps still stand for themselves, they too have become part of the iUniverse, leading you to encounter hits such as "Alps App from". In fact, many hikers and cyclists have come to appreciate the value of an iPhone, as many apps have taken on functions previously fulfilled by costly (and bulky) outdoor equipment.

Provided your batteries are full and you have an Internet connection, excursions and tours are increasingly appearing via a previously unexpected virtual source. If you're on the hunt for a great walking trail, you can find one using the application "Scout – Bike Navigation and Hiking", for example. Before taking off, you can then assure yourself with "Weather Pro" that the weather will remain fine. A compass is a standard feature of the iPhone and in the App Store there are additional tools, such as an alti- and tachometer. Also, using "Peaks", you can ascertain the names of mountain tops on the spot. When traveling by bike, the application "Bike Computer" provides you with a kind of miniature cockpit. At lunchtime, you can whip up a recipe from "101 Camping & Outdoor Recipes", and, in case you want to track your physical performance, just use "Runtastic". Maybe your daughter is in the middle of picking a bouquet for the house, in which case you can tell her the names of the plants with "Flowers of the Alps." In the evening, you then turn on "Flashlight" – for bicycles, there's "Brake Lights" – and log the details of your excursion with "3D Camera" and the logbook "Every Trail".

Many might ask themselves what spending the whole time on your iPhone – and the applications' teething problems – has to do with an excursion into the countryside. Our image of ramblers has been influenced right up to the present day by the likes of Franz Schubert's "To Wander is the Miller's Joy", Caspar David Friedrich's "Wanderer above the Sea of Fog" and Joseph von Eichendorff's "The Life of a Good-For-Nothing". Here, the relationship between man and nature is yet untroubled – technology and the media have not yet come between them. But, in all honesty, how much of their surroundings did the Romantics really take in? After all, they were obviously preoccupied with composing poems, singing and painting – as well as deep self-reflection. "The wanderer no longer strides out, but instead turns inwards." Peter Härtling wrote in "The Wanderer", a book about poets and composers such as Eduard Mörike, Franz Schubert and Friedrich Hölderlin. Since there are already roamers of the mind and the soul – not to count many other kinds of wandering – there should be no objection to "virtual roaming". Meaning we can boldly head into the countryside, iPhone in hand.

This leaves only the question of what the appropriate accessories might be. Packed in an "Aquapac Mini Electronics", for instance, your iPhone is entirely waterproof yet remains fully functional. An "NC-17 iPhone Bike Attachment" allows you to secure it to your handlebars. Let's not forget the Wahoo Fitness Sensor for athletes either. There is also an app that simplifies the process of writing while walking. "Type and Walk" displays the keypad on the lower half of the screen, while the upper half shows a camera image of where you are currently going. By now, we've ticked off almost all types of applications for roaming. Only "Toodledo" remains, an app which reminds you that – along with your iPhone – you should take your bag with your sunglasses, Frisbee and provisions too.

Zugspitze Karwendel – ADAC Hiking Guide
by Alpstein Tourismus, EUR 9.99, visit the App Store

Scout – Bike Navigation and Hiking with Topographic Maps

by Magic Maps, USD 2.99, visit the App Store

Every Trail

by Global Motion Media, free, visit the App Store

Weather Pro
by Meteo Group Deutschland, EUR 2.99, visit the App Store

3 GPS – Altimeter, Speedometer & Compass

by Smadget, USD 0.99, visit the App Store

by Augmented Outdoors, USD 2.99, visit the App Store

The Bike Computer
by Global Motion Media, free, visit the App Store

Bike Doctor
by Ron Forrester, USD 4.99, visit the App Store

101 Camping & Outdoor Recipes
by App Warrior, USD 0.99, visit the App Store

Walktastic GPS Nordic Walking Tracker for Fitness
by Runtastic, USD 5.99, visit the App Store

Flowers of the Alps
by Heubach Media (only available in German), free, visit the App Store

by 7th Gear, free, visit the App Store

Brake Lights
by Izaxon, GBP 0.59, visit the App Store

3D Camera
by Juicy Bits, USD 1.99, visit the App Store

Type and Walk
by Presselite, USD 0.99, visit the App Store

by Toodledo, USD 2.99, visit the App Store

Icons of hiking apps | Graphic design © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark