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Canberra Nature Park: OsmAnd app

In reply to a comment. Depending on the activity, you may prefer another app.

Exploring Canberra Nature Park is easy with a smartphone. An app will help you find your way. You may use different apps for walking and cycling and that’s not surprising at all. In the car, you are likely to use something different again. So, what do we use and recommend for the walkers and hikers among us?

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Callum Brae Nature Reserve, Canberra Nature Park, ACT, Australia. Photo David Cook from Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Callum Brae Nature Reserve, Canberra Nature Park, ACT, Australia. Photo David Cook from Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Walking Canberra Nature Park

Walking and cycling paths in Canberra Nature Park are not the same. We ride on so-called management trails. You can walk on them, however, the narrow tracks through the forest – with its many beautiful flowers and animals – are much more charming. Many cyclists are also enthusiastic walkers and hikers, so this one is for you!

Callum Brae Nature Reserve, Canberra Nature Park, ACT, Australia. Male gathering nesting material. Photo David Cook from Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Callum Brae Nature Reserve, Canberra Nature Park, ACT, Australia. Male gathering nesting material. Photo David Cook from Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Komoot is the best app for cycling in Canberra but there is an alternative for walking and hiking with OpenStreetMap.

OsmAnd app

OSMand app for the smartphone
OsmAnd app for Android and iOS

OsmAnd is a Dutch open-source smartphone app that uses the OpenStreetMap database, and is most suitable for walking and driving. With OsmAnd, the appearance of the map on the phone changes automatically, depending on which navigation mode you are in. If you are driving it shows roads, and if you are walking it displays community paths. This great app is most useful for walkers in the Canberra Nature Park because it shows walking tracks.

Walking track, Aranda Nature Reserve, Aranda hill, Canberra.
Walking track, Aranda Nature Reserve, Aranda hill, Canberra.
Centenary Trail, maintenance trail, Aranda Nature Reserve, Aranda hill, Canberra.
Centenary Trail, management trail, Aranda Nature Reserve, Aranda hill, Canberra.

Before we were all spoilt by our smartphones, we used topographic maps that show land use and features. Road maps leave the space between the roads blank. Topographic maps on the other hand have useful information for finding your way. The shading of hillsides and contour lines wrapping around hills are especially useful, as they show where it is steep.

Path along the contour, Dairy Farmer Hill, with Lake Burley Griffin behind. National Arboretum, Canberra.
Path along the contour, Dairy Farmer Hill, with Lake Burley Griffin behind. National Arboretum, Canberra.

Official topographic maps are still available but of course outdated. The internet jumped in and now provides a handful of free global maps. OpenStreetMap is the best for Canberra and buried in apps on the smartphone.

OSMand Hillshades
OSMand Hillshades

OsmAnd is an app with a topographic view of OpenStreetMap, and you will quickly notice that it makes navigating your walks really easy. The maps can be downloaded for free, so you will not need data on your walk. OsmAnd can navigate and track your walks if you want to share or reuse them.

Callum Brae Nature Reserve, Canberra Nature Park, ACT, Australia. Photo David Cook from Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Callum Brae Nature Reserve, Canberra Nature Park, ACT, Australia. Photo David Cook from Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

OsmAnd will show walking trails, forest, creeks, lakes, cliffs, fences, gates, and signs. You will also see the hills with contours, shading, and peaks marked and labelled, as are place names and trail names. All the data is from OpenStreetMap.

Callum Brae Nature Reserve, Canberra Nature Park, ACT, Australia. Photo David Cook from Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Callum Brae Nature Reserve, Canberra Nature Park, ACT, Australia. Photo David Cook from Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

OsmAnd has one final trick. It will allow you to add points of interest and suggest corrections to OpenStreetMap on the go. This way you too can help improve OpenStreetMap.

What do you think? Please leave comments and start communicating with us. We’d love to hear from you.

ACT, Australia
Cooleman Ridge, Canberra Nature Park

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