Do we still need to carry books in the field? - Online field guides and apps
  • Last updated:
  • 30 Nov 2022

Technology is rapidly progressing with many new online field guides and apps available to assist us in the field, whether it is data collection or species identification. The following highlights a small selection of online guides or apps which may be useful for you in the field. Note: some of the following guides and apps do incur a small cost to download.

My Environment – Australian Government, Department of the Environment

Provides a rapid mobile snapshot of the environmental features/assets in your surrounds, including:

  • Heritage places
  • Protected areas – national parks and reserves both on land and at sea
  • Threatened communities – native ecological habitats that are listed as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable under the EPBC Act
  • Protected species – plants and animals that are listed as critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable or conservation dependent under the EPBC Act
  • Invasive species – animal pests and invasive plants
  • Wetlands of international importance listed under the Ramsar Convention.

Frogs Field Guide – Australian Museum

Contains detailed information, photos and calls from Australian frog species and can be used for interest and as an ID guide. GPS lets you know which species can be found near you. Visit your app store to download.

Field Guide to Queensland Fauna App – Queensland Museum Network

This app holds descriptions of over 560 species encompassing birds, fishes, frogs, lizards, snakes, mammals, turtles, freshwater, marine and terrestrial invertebrates, spiders and insects including butterflies. From animals found on Queensland’s coral reefs, in rock-pools, in tropical rainforests, in deserts and in the suburbs, the habitats are hugely varied but only represent a tiny fraction of the true diversity of life in this large State. Visit your app store to download.

Coastal Life of South East Queensland – Queensland Museum

This app was designed for those who love exploring the rocky shores, and muddy sand flats and mangroves, or simply enjoy strolling along the beach. The present edition contains about 540 species of invertebrate animals and marine plants that thrive in the intertidal and shallow sub-tidal zones.

Birds in Backyards, Birds Finder – Birdlife Australia

The Bird Finder allows you to search, browse or find information about individual Australian birds.

What Bug Is That? – CSIRO

Provides identification keys and information for more than 600 insect families of Australia.

Australian Wildflowers – Mushroom Pudding

This app is a handy ID guide to Australian wildflowers. It contains over 570 species which are searchable by colour, shape and location, as well as common and scientific names. Visit your app store to download.

Weeds of South East QLD – Lucid mobile

This app is supported by council and several other local councils, this app provides information on suburban and environmental weeds of South East Queensland.

Grow me instead – Nursery & Garden Industry Australia

Developed by the industry to reduce the numbers and impact of invasive plants in Australia. This booklet assists to identify common garden plants that have now become environmental weeds and suggest better, alternative plants that benefit garden diversity and the environment.

The Night Sky – iCandi Apps

Point your phone at the sky to identify stars, planets, galaxies and even satellites. This app uses GPS and its map of the sky to tell you what you are looking at. Visit your app store to download.

If you have discovered a great online field guide or app, we would like to hear about it. Send them  in to