Online field guides and apps
  • Last updated:
  • 13 Sep 2022

Do we still need to carry books in the field? Here are some online field guides and apps which maybe useful.

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.

iNaturalist

Website: inaturalist.ala.org.au/

Sign-up to connect with a network of nature lovers across Australia and use it to tap into the brains trust to have your observation identified. Your observations are added to the global iNaturalist database and shared with the Atlas of Living Australia and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help scientists find and use your data.

How it works?

Record your observations  share with fellow naturalists  discuss your findings  contribute to the Atlas of Living Australia.

FrogID - Australian Museum

Website: https://network.qm.qld.gov.au/Learning+Resources/Apps/Frog+ID+App

Help identify frog species by their call and geotagging to map species distribution. Each species of frog has its own unique call. By using the FrogID app to record frog calls you can help identify frogs and their habitats.

Field Guide to Queensland Fauna App - Queensland Museum Network

Website: https://network.qm.qld.gov.au/Learning+Resources/Apps/QMN+Field+Guide+to+Queensland+Fauna+App

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, rock-pools, tropical rainforests, 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

Birds in Backyards, Birds Finder – Birdlife Australia

Website: birdsinbackyards.net/finder

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

Pizzey and Knight Birds of Australia

Visit your app store to download.

Over 900 bird Australian bird species - use as a field guide or as a bird list.

What Bug Is That? - CSIRO

Website: anic.ento.csiro.au/insectfamilies/

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

Weeds of South East QLD

Visit your app store to download.

For those with experience in using keys to identify specimens. Supported by Sunshine Coast Council and several other local councils, this app provides information on suburban and environmental weeds of South East Queensland.

Environment Weeds of Australia

Visit your app store to download.

Includes the full identification key, weed fact sheets, and over 10,000 images right on your smart device.

Weed Spotter

Website: https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/plants-animals/plants/herbarium/weeds/weed-spotters-app

Assists Weed Spotters to submit weed photos to the Queensland Herbarium for identification. It was developed in collaboration with the University of Queensland.

GroNative - Griffith University, Natura and Queensland Government

Website: https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/5208/view

This app allows people in South East Queensland to select the best native plants for their gardens, and restore native vegetation.

Coolum Native Nursery

Website: https://coolumnatives.com/wordpress/species-information/

A website describing local plants species, categorised by different features.

Noosa's Native Plants - Noosa Integrated Catchment Association Inc. and Noosa Council

Website: https://noosasnativeplants.com.au/

A website dedicated to the description of local plants of the Noosa Shire. Each plant is defined by its scientific name. Photographs are included together with information about common names, aboriginal uses, landscaping uses, and interaction with other species: birds, bees, insects and other fauna

Grow me instead – Nursery & Garden Industry Australia

Website: growmeinstead.com.au/region/qld-sub-tropics.aspx

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. 

Coastal Life of South East Queensland – Griffith University

Visit your app store to download.

This app is designed to assist you in identifying over 540 species of plants and animals from a variety of coastal communities and habitats across South East Queensland. The app is easily-accessible, compact and lightweight, and is a perfect companion for students, fieldworkers, those undertaking tertiary environmental studies, and for the interested naturalist or beachwalker. It provides an interactive, modern and exciting avenue to explore the incredible variety of strange and beautiful life forms that inhabit this diverse stretch of coast.

Night Sky - iCandi Apps

Visit your app store to download.

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.