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Sean Bacher

AppDate: Take guesswork out of distance

In the latest AppDate, SEAN BACHER gets in-touch with the outdoors as he highlights Smart Distance, Locus Maps, Moon 3D and Knots Guide.

Smart Distance

Who says a phone’s camera is just for taking photos? The Smart Distance app uses a smartphone or tablet camera to measure distance and elevation. It even has a metal detector. It uses the phone’s camera, along with some nifty algorithms, to give an estimate of the distance to an object. All the user needs to do is input the height of the object into the app for the distance to be calculated.

Platform: Android and iOS

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: R15 – A range of additional in-app tools can be purchased.

Locus Maps

Locus Maps lets users download cycling and hiking trails before they set off, and the maps can then be used without cellular or GPS reception. Being able to browse maps offline also saves on the phone’s battery. Topographical maps can be downloaded too, and the voice-guided navigation means users can view their surroundings instead of being glued to their phones’ screens. The app is well laid-out, with easy to read buttons, options and settings. Customised cycling trails can also be set by clicking and saving waypoints along the route.

Platform: Android and a web-based option is available.

Stockists: Visit for downloading information.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Moon 3D

Moon 3D allows users to plan night-time hikes based on the moon’s light intensity. It is a simple app to use, showing the moon’s cycle with indications of how bright it will be in your location. Its augmented reality feature lets users view star constellations and planets around the world. There is also an exploration mode, which allows users to zoom into a spherical model of the moon.

Platform: Android and iOS. Similar apps are available for other platforms.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: A free download.

In a knot

The Knots Guide app lists hundreds of knots. It categorises them according to where they would be most helpful – for example fishing, camping and boating. Select a knot to display step-by-step tying instructions – a video can also be played – with a pause button – should users get stuck. The app is really easy to use, but some of the knots will get your fingers in a twist knot of their own.

Platform: Android and iOS – various web-based apps are also available

Expect to pay: A free download

* Sean Bacher is editor of Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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