It’s all happening in Western Australia
by Emily Barker
Parkfinder WA is part of a range of online and mobile resources being rolled out over the next four years by the Western Australian State Government as part of a new ‘Parks for People’ initiative. This grand scale revamp aims to expand and enhance camping and visitor experiences in parks and reserves throughout WA by improving infrastructure, advertising and information services.
We are increasingly seeing government agencies releasing great new apps that intelligently provide information solutions directly to the public and this app is no exception. The Western Australian department of Parks and Wildlife works hard to protect and conserve the State’s natural environment, but it’s clear they also want to share the amazing experiences and biodiversity that this extensive region has to offer.
The app itself is a fabulous tool that provides a specific and detailed overview of the many parks, significant sites, state conservation reserves and features such as hiking trails and mountain bike tracks that WA has to offer. Initial searches can be conducted by map, park name search or by utilising your location to find parks nearby. Results can then be filtered according to the activities and facilities you are seeking. Designed to be used on the move and often in remote areas, data can be downloaded to enable offline access to park information or when out of mobile range. Once discovered, parks can also be saved to a favourites' list or even shared with friends on social media. The app also offers a ‘your account’ option, which once you have registered using an active email account enables you to interact socially with the app by posting reviews of your experiences and even gives you the option to share photos. Parkfinder WA contains various external links to websites such as the Parks and Wildlife ‘Explore Parks’ website. This data linking ensures all information stays up-to-date – particularly important when planning to travel in remote areas.
The interface is nice and neat, making it incredibly easy to locate and interpret information. Each park has an initial description complete with images followed by a list of relevant information tabs. Each tab then breaks down further into specific details including sites such as lookouts and points of significance, activities available such as swimming, fishing, hiking, etc. It also details public facilities, including toilets and dump points, plus entry fees and contact details where applicable. It even offers an in-app map feature utilising your location services to display route directions and distance to travel.
Perhaps the best feature of this app though is ‘alerts’. This will notify you of everything from bushfires, floods and weather warnings to road works, construction related closures and even recent crocodile warnings! The app’s creators have obviously left ‘room for improvement’ – not uncommon in a first edition of a new app – which just means some areas are a little sparse and obviously lacking content. That said, the app offers an incredible amount of essential information that is bound to enhance any travel experience in the area.
Western Australia boasts some of the most breathtaking natural experiences in Australia and travellers and locals alike are set to benefit from the announced, ongoing upgrades and improvements. According to the website many national park features are set to be improved, including provision of low-cost, high-quality camping and caravanning accommodation and visitor facilities, upgrades to mountain bike trails, new lookouts, more interactive interpretive signage and more picnic area-style rest spots. Also excitingly in the pipeline is a new Trailfinder app specific for bushwalkers and a mobile flora and fauna guide!
ParkFinder WA is only available for iPhones at present, however an Android version is currently in development and at 56.3 MB it’s not only convenient but relatively compact too!
Name: Parkfinder WA
Platform: Apple iOS
Size: 56.3 MB
For the full article and more photos download Issue 73 of iMotorhome eMagazine by clicking HERE