Sunday, 24 July 2016

Technology that gets us outside

The fallen fawn, outside the tropical garden

With Pokemon Go taking over the world I thought I would do a post on technology that gets people outside. So here are just a few apps or pieces of technology I have found enjoyable in getting myself and others outside, exploring and exercising. 

Note: The photos in this post are from today’s walk around Auckland Domain, amazing parts of the domain I never knew existed.

While I don’t play Pokemon Go myself, my wife does and the game has been a great excuses to go outside for a walk around the park, or to take our dog (Jasper) to a larger park and wander around for 2-3 hours. We often used to take Jasper for a walk along a local beach, but we never walked down to our local park for a few laps. Today we went to the Auckland domain, and explored places I’d never been and others I never knew existed. Without there being Poke stops there we never would have gone. I had a lot of fun exploring some of these areas, and just walking around with my wife.

Incredible pitcher plants in the tropical garden
Geocaching is another activity/app which gets people out exploring their neighbourhood and others. If you have never heard of it, people hide small (or large) caches with trinkets and a book to sign somewhere and list the cache on an app which uses the GPS to mark the area. Then others use the app and GPS to find the cache. I have done a little geocaching in the few blocks around my home and it was really fun but I never quite got into it. I have however seen families out exploring looking for caches which I think is awesome family time.

Zombies Run! is the (free) app I use every time I go out for a run. This app maps my run, times it, gives me time splits and tells me pace, but that’s all boring stuff. The fun part is that it tells a story: you are runner five, sent on missions to scout, collect supplies, run experiments on the zombies etc all under the watchful eye of your radio operator who talks you through the missions (in between songs on your playlist). You also collect materials and supplies which you use to build your base. I really enjoy this app, the story is great, I really enjoy building my base and needing to get supplies pushes me to run further. Running would be so boring for me without this app.

Lastly I have recently bought myself a fitbit, I bought the surge because I really wanted the GPS but that’s not important. The fitbit has been great for pushing me to more around more during the day, and to see how much I can do in the weekends. I am really keen to see how far I walk and how many flights of stairs climbed on a big hike, but for the purpose of this article the daily step count has been great for getting my out wandering around. Often times I have been at 7-8 thousand steps, so I’ve walked a lap or two of the block before dinner to hit my 10,000 step goal.

The Valkyrie fountain

The point of this post wasn’t to get anyone into a particular app or piece of technology, just to show that these things can be used as a positive force. Technology is just a tool and we can and should use it wisely.

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