SmartPhone Preps /Apps - Guest Post from Jerry D Young

My thoughts on Smartphone Preps from a presentation I did for one of the local prep groups I am with.

This presentation is based on my experiences with the Samsung Galaxy S 4 Android Smartphone. The concepts and ideas will relate to other Android and Apple electronic platforms, but specifics will be different depending on the capability of the individual phone and which carrier is being used.

In no way do I want to imply that you depend solely on any electronic technology in the field. Always have back up and back-ups to the back-up. A Smartphone like mine can substitute for several other individual electronic devices: a stand-alone
GPS/navigator, a weather instrument (to a degree, anyway), a document reader, voice recorder, camera, and video camera. But a Smartphone, and those individual devices, are still no substitute for paper and pencil, map and compass, knowledge of local weather, and paper handbooks.

I would not go out and buy a Smartphone for prepping use. But it you already have one, why not use it to best effect?

The very basic use of a Smartphone for prepping purposes is the ability to have information at your fingertips, while connected to a cellular system or WiFi system, but more importantly, when not in service range. This will depend on the phone and the carrier. Some carriers have wider area coverage than others, and some phones have more or less un-connected capabilities.

With downloaded books, articles, .pdfs, and other data files, a whole gamut of information can be referenced whether you are in the middle of downtown, or up in the mountains far away from any cell tower. Just about every prepper subject is available in some form. Two examples are the SAS Survival Manual by John “Lofty” Wiseman, and any one of a multitude of copies of FM 21-76 US Army Field Manual on Survival. These can both be used on my phone off line, at any time. The SAS Manual was a pay app, though there is a much limited free version you can check out first. The version of FM 21-76 I downloaded was free.

I have quite a few other off-line available information items such as Dutch Oven cookbooks, regular camping cookbooks, hiking and mountaineering and orienteering references. Also off-line are office type programs to use for Word or other text
documents, Excel and other spreadsheets, and even Power Point and other presentations formats.

You can keep your prep inventory on the phone and check prices and availability in the stores to help decide if you need to stock up at that particular price or not. And those phones that can scan product codes can make that process even easier with the right inventory program. Don’t have that yet, but I’m working on it. And with a page scanner that converts to .pdfs, when you find useful information in various places, and it isn’t a copyright violation, you can scan the information into the phone as a .pdf and have it with you when you can read it later or file it away.

Then there are the on-line apps like direct access to MeetUp Group sites, various prepper forums, and just about any other web-based information site you want to pull up when you are WiFi connected. My phone can be set up as a WiFi hotspot to connect other devices to the net, including laptops, but data rates are expensive, and I seldom use the HotSpot function due to Data Bandwidth issues. But on the plan I have, WiFi access is free and unlimited. You will need to check that very closely
before using some of the on-line applications.

Some other on-line apps include PM and other financial information and account tracking. You can check gold and silver prices whenever you are out and about and decide immediately if what you are being offered is a good deal or not. Same with
stocks, currencies, and other financial instruments.

Another good on-line app to keep track of things going on in your area is AlertID. An interactive program to report events and receive notice of events as they happen that could affect your safety.

Additional apps that are not themselves usable off-line have downloadable files that can be accessed when connected and then put in memory on the phone, in an internal SD card, or an external storage device.

I also have some files not active prepping related, but information I like to have handy for reference. The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, and several other references about our government. Also off-line dictionaries and an atlas.

I have several First-aid and medical reference works that are usable off-line, as well as some training items that are on-line only. Also health maintenance apps and nutrition data.

There are off-line communications references, including repeater location sources, antenna information, and Morse Code Readers, but I haven’t had a chance to check them out thoroughly yet. Some on-line only apps include internet scanner apps that let you listen to various public service radio transmissions, as well as some amateur radio conversations. License training and sample tests. Even a gear catalog or two.

Now, to some of the nitty-gritty aspects and apps. These are highly dependent on the individual phone capabilities. This Galaxy S 4 was just about state of the art when I got it a few months ago, but even newer and more sophisticated Smartphones, iPhones, and various other connectable platforms are coming out all the time. This phone has built in GPS, magnetic field sensor (compass), temperature gauge, atmospheric pressure sensor, relative humidity sensor, accelerometer, gravity sensor, linear acceleration sensor, gyroscope, light meter, orientation sensor, proximity sensor, and sound pressure level sensor. Of course, clock, calendar, and pretty good phone, too.

With the environmental sensors, weather forecasting is relatively straight forward, especially with the cloud ID application I have. Though I haven’t determined for sure if some of the cloud ID functions work off-line or not. The wind speed can be calculated by observation or, if an app that I have works, wind speed calculated by the microphone sound pressure level. I even have apps for heat index and wind chill factors to know when it is dangerous out. Of course, I still have to have the sense
to come in out of the rain when it is coming down. Sometime that is a problem for me.

Along with the simple location feature of the GPS, when used with downloaded, off-line maps, you have a full-fledged wilderness navigation system to get you where you are headed, whether it be to point A, point B, or home. I also have an app where you can take a picture ahead of you showing the GPS coordinates and compass direction. Or use the same function as a back azimuth to help you remember where you came from and how to get back there.

The sensors in the phone also allow for various tools such as plumb bob, distance measure, bubble level, ruler, protractor, altimeter, magnifier, and a mirror function. And then there are the apps with unit converters, simple to complex calculators, counters, timers, and a bunch more I haven’t tried yet.

Now, all of this is very good. But these new Smartphones have notoriously short battery lives. So my Smartphone isn’t really a standalone device. In order for it to be truly useful in the field you need a way to keep it charged up and powered. My system for this is a pair of spare standard batteries, (2,600mAh in my case) that I keep charged up on a separate charger at home. I usually carry one of them. For the field I add a 13,000mAh power pack and another in the backup gear. To keep them charged I have a solar power charger. This gives me, even without the solar charger, several days of conservative use, and months when the solar charger is used whenever possible to top off the power packs.

All of these features are no substitute for traditional methods. I love technology, but I carry paper maps, a physical magnetic compass, binoculars, a pocket copy of the SAS Survival Manual, and never depend solely on technology.

Here is an alphabetical list of prepper related apps on my phone. Some of these I am still evaluating and will probably drop several as I learn what works best and as I continue to search for and try out different alternatives.

1 Weather
10bii Financial calculator
3D Earthquake
Alpine Quest
Alpine Quest
Amazon Kindle
Anatomy learning
Animated knots
Antenna Calc
Army booby traps
Army counter sniper
Army mountain operations
Army urban operations
Articles of Freedom
ASL American Sign language
AT&T Family Map
AT&T Navigator
Ayurvedic remedies
BackCountry Navigator Pro
BarCode Scanner
Brenta Heat Index Lite
Brenta Wind Chill Lite
Bullion Tracker Lite
Buy Silver Gold
Calamity Survival guide
Camping Recipes
Civil calculator
Clinical signs
Cloud Identifier
Compass Level
Crow calls
Cures A-Z
Currency Table
Daily Roads Voyager
Dave Canterbury
Disaster Alert
Disaster Readiness 2011
Disaster Survival guide
Disease Dictionary
Disease Remedies book
Drug dictionary
Earthquake Pro
Earthquake survival tips
Easy Toys
Edible and Medicinal Plants
Elerts Reporter
Elk calls
Essential Oils
eWeather HD
Family Fallout shelter
Fast News
FBI Most Wanted
FEMA 100 Year Flood Zones
First Aid
First Aid
First Aid Manual 2013
Fishing and Hunting solunar time
Fishing Knots Lite
Flashlight plus
Flood Map
Flood Warn
Gold Live
Gold Silver
Goose calls
GPS Essentials
GPS Status
Ham Radio Tools
Ham Radio Tools
Ham Test Prep
Handyman calculator
Home Remedies
Hunting calls
iMushroom guide free
Inclinometer free
International Code Of Signals
Kcast Gold Live! Widget
Kingsoft Office
Liberty CPM
Line Tools
Lunar Phase
Magnifying glass flashlight
Mallard Duck Calls
Military Acronyms
Moose Calls
Morse code Keyboard
Morse Code Reader
Morse Decoder
Morse Player Free
Morse Talk
Morse Tools
Muscle trigger points
NASA Space Weather
Noise meter
Normal lab values
Nuclear Sites Map
Nutri Explorer
Nutrition Data
Office Suite
Offline Dictionaries
Ohms Law
Optical Reader
PDF Document scanner
PDF Merge
Pocket RXTX
Pocket tracker
Polaris Office 5
Precious Metal Coin Calculator Lite
Predator calls
Prepper Bible
Prepper Guide
Prepper Inventory
Preppers Info
Raccoon calls
Radar Now
Repeater Directory
Scan to PDF free
Scanner Radio Pro
Silver Change
Silver Prices App
Simple Moon Phase Widget
Smart Telescope
Smart Tools
Soldiers common tasks
Speed gun
Squirrel calls
Stocks Portfolio
Survival 3-05.70
Survival Basics
Survival Forum
Survival Guide
Survival Medicine Guide
Survival Podcast
Survival Tools
Symptom Checker
TB Atlas
Telescope zoomer
The Art of War
The Federalist Papers
The Weather Channel
Thread pitch
Timber Calculator
Tool Box
Turkey calls
Ultimate Survival
United States Constitution
US Army Survival Guide
US Constitution
US Topo Maps
USMC Winter Survival handbook
Virginia Tech Tree ID
Visual Anatomy Free
Voice recorder
We The People
Weather Signal
Weather Station
WebMD Baby
What Cloud
White Tailed deer calls
Wind Meter
Wolf Sounds
Woodworking utilities
World Atlas
World Factbook

LP’s miscellaneous thoughts: When considering apps to load, think about your mode of transportation, your bug out vehicle, over night arrangements or human-powered transportation. What might be useful? Vehicle specific repair information? Topographical and terrain maps for off road use? Maps add-ons that identify military bases, hospitals, springs and other water sources? Plant identification charts with color high resolutions pictures?

As information goes, apps organize in a way that is best for them, and the storage limitations of smartphones and tablets. Much of it is difficult to print out. Having hard copies of some information is a must. Jerry started out by stressing the necessity of maintaining paper maps, a true compass and other real-world items critical to land navigation, and to locating key infrastructure and services. However you go about arranging information and tool services on your device, your key information needs to have a back up. Even if it isn’t on paper, stored info on a CD or DVD can be read by your laptop. A USB thumb drive, say 16GB in size, cna hold a HUGE volume of information and data, even when storing high res photos and maps. Have your back up. It’s like having a mobile information cache. I think the best way to go about it is to have it all!

One last note. Your smart device undoubtedly has WiFi built into it. There are several apps that allow you to connect various devices together using WiFi – creating your own communications network that sit independently from the cellular networks. You are able to build a private network and, if the app allows pas-through, having a phone every 200 feet or so sets you up to extend the range to a whole neighborhood – and no one can get in. Something to think about. Private texting and messaging can be very handy under certain conditions.

1 comment to SmartPhone Preps /Apps – Guest Post from Jerry D Young

  • Aussie

    Jerry, thank-you for your detailed post. I enjoyed reading it as I do with all of your articles. Very informative. I’m new to prepping and I was lucky to stumble on to your site. I’m in Australia and just wanted to say hi and many thanks. I hope you get this as I am color blind and have difficulty reading the Captacha. Kind regards Aussie

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