New, free Virginia State Parks app available

Virginia State Parks recently introduced the new VSP Pocket Ranger® app for smartphones, a free mobile tour guide developed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, ParksByNature, Virginia Association for Parks and Imperial Multimedia.

Virginia is the latest of 12 states to partner with ParksByNature in developing official state park mobile tour guides. In other states there is a basic guide and one with advanced GPS technology available at an additional charge. Thanks to the VAFP and Imperial Multimedia, there is no charge for the advanced Virginia app. The partnership is also finalizing details on a sponsorship plan so that users are supporting Virginia State Parks each time they use the app. The mobile guide is available for Apple and some Android devices.

The Official Virginia State Parks Pocket Ranger® app offers educational and interpretive information. With the help of the app, users may locate the nearest park and gain access to in-depth information such as trail-touring videos, activities and descriptions designed to enhance their overall visit. In addition, the app includes advanced GPS mapping technology allowing park visitors to mark, record and share trail blazes, explorations and discoveries.

Hikers can use the app to personalize routes while hunters and fishermen will benefit from ability to mark their favorite spots. A cache map feature, which allows users to navigate the state parks without mobile reception, is also available.

Park goers may use the photo waypoint feature to snap pictures and mark the coordinates of highlights from their visit—such as animals and natural features—and then share it with the click of a button. As a safety feature an in-app alert is included that allows users to quickly send their GPS coordinates along with a message to a designated list of contacts in the event of an emergency.

To download the Virginia State Parks Pocket Ranger® app go to http://www.stateparkapps.com/apps/va/apps.php. It can also be downloaded by visiting Apple iTunes or Android Market. For information on all Virginia State Park offerings, including the new app, go to http://www.virginiastateparks.gov.
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