12 Dec 2013
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Apple iPhone Apps Smartphone Auckland University Apple

Birds of New Zealand flies on to the iPhone

Auckland University Press has just released its first app, based on the popular photographic guide Birds of New Zealand by Paul Scofield and Brent Stephenson.

The interactive Birds of New Zealand app is unique in this market, standing tall as the only complete collection of all 365 species in New Zealand.

Available for smartphones and tablets, the app has specific features to enhance the birding experience.

Birdwatchers can personalise their app with their own observations, building their own list of bird sightings and storing it on their device or exporting it via email

The ‘Bird Compare’ feature allows them to compare two birds on the same screen (including recordings of variant bird calls) and Smart Search functionality supports bird identification by bird type, size, colour, physical features and habitat and can display information on a region by region basis.

"When traveling and on the road, the app is fantastic to quickly refer to," says Brent Stephenson, photographer for Birds of New Zealand.

"It has all the text, photos, and distribution maps from the book, but probably the most useful feature in the field will be the audio clips now included."

Author Paul Scofield says, "Now that more and more people are using smartphones every day, the identification of New Zealand birds should become much easier for everyone from dedicated experts to amateur birders.

"This will increase the opportunity for members of the general public to make remarkable findings, such as the recent instance that brought the reclassification of the thought-to-be-extinct, South Island kokako."

If anyone thinks they have spotted something rare or unusual, they can report their discovery to the Records Appraisal Committee of the Ornithological Society of New Zealand, which independently verifies sightings of rare birds from New Zealand.

It was exciting for Auckland University Press to make the Birds of New Zealand content available as a book but it’s been an even greater adventure to take it into a completely different dimension.

Press Director Sam Elworthy says, "Birds of New Zealand is already a roaring success as a book and we reckon many birders will also want to own the app as well because of the cool functionality the Mydigitalearth team put into their software.

"The ability to narrow a search down to a likely species, to use sound as well as words and images for identification, and to do it all on your phone or tablet is pretty miraculous.

"It’s great to end 2013 with a great app in the market as well as a huge pile of ebooks – digital publishing has really arrived at Auckland University Press this year."

It is now available from the Apple app store at a price of NZ 38.99 with Android and Windows versions available shortly.

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