Tech Savvy: Apps A-Z

‘App’, short for application, is a program for use on a device like a phone, desktop computer or tablet computer. For this series we are looking at mobile apps, so that’s tablets and smartphones.  Some familiar names you may have heard with apps to their name are;  AusPost (Australia Post), Centrelink (Federal Government service), EzyReg (SA Government vehicle registration), Optus or Telstra (telecommunications), Overdrive (Library e-books), Alert SA (SA Government emergency information) and many, many others. Many social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have also produced apps for ease of use on mobile devices.
So where do these apps come from? Most mobile devices like smartphones and tablets will use one of three operating systems; Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows 10 Mobile. These have their own store from which to purchase and download apps that are compatible with your device’s operating system: Apple with the App Store, Google with Google Play and Microsoft with the Windows Phone Store. You will need an account with the store to use this functionality and the hundreds of thousands of apps available.

So, an A-Z of Apps would start at the beginning with the letter A, and as we are all big fans of animals here in Gawler, A is for Animals seemed like a good beginning.  There are so many animal apps – games, reference, training, pest control, safety etc…

Recently Adelaide Zoo announced that they were going to collaborate with the Specialist Apps Company to make the zoo a little more digital friendly.  Using something called iBeacons visiting the Zoo will become more interactive.  iBeacons are small transmitters which use Bluetooth and WiFi to find nearby devices using a specific app to provide information.  Although it’s not yet available, this is following the lead of other cultural organisations like museums and libraries, that are trying to adapt their activities with new technologies.
So what are other organisations doing with technology to share their animal wisdom?
The National Geographic Ultimate Dinopedia app is $4.99 and is a complete reference for all those interested in the dinosaurs.  Aimed at children, it’s fun, colourful and informative.  Only available on the Apple App Store though.
Taronga Zoo in Sydney has a few FREE apps to let visitors get more from their visits.  The Taronga Zoo – Monkey Mayhem is an interactive scavenger hunt aimed at children and families collecting photos and facts during their visit. The Rainforest Heroes is an ipad app made in collaboration with NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre for children to get an interactive visit to the zoo.  Finally they have an Audio Tour which has 33 tracks with information on iconic Australian species such as Koalas and Kangaroos and amazing exotic and endangered species including the Asian Elephant and Western Lowland Gorilla.

is an app developed by the Australian Government with 17 other organisations, to give detailed information about Australia’s plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms all for FREE.  Species are listed with names, images and where they’re found in specific locations. There is also the possibility to submit occurrence records to this database. Available on Google Play and Apple App Store.


Australia has so many different species of birds and BirdLife Australia have created the Aussie Backyard Bird Count. Australian bird conservation efforts have been carried out by the largest, independent, not-for-profit bird conservation organisation BirdLife Australia, since 1901.  With the use of this app during 17-23 October, you can not only assist the organisation continue is important work with Australia’s native birds, you may also get to better know your local feathered neighbours!

The Field Guide to South Australian Fauna available for FREE on Google Play and Apple App Store, has been created by the South Australian Museum with collaboration from other museums around Australia. Giving users the ability to explore our unique and diverse wildlife in your backyard or while you’re out and about. Animal descriptions, images and sounds of hundreds of species to discover in the bush, the local park or your own backyard.

There are countless other animal apps, some even sound like animals, far too many to mention here! Hopefully in our list you’ve found something that has piqued your interest or maybe you have an app about animals that you’d like to share.  Let us know what you think.  Keep watching our Tech Savvy blogposts to see what other tech-tips we have to share.

Post Contributor: Melinda Kennedy



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