When SHTF, a smartphone might not be your idea of a great survival tool. However, there are ways to use it to your advantage. If you have the right tools in your smartphone, it can turn into a valuable piece of equipment during disaster situations. Here are some of the essential apps you need to get to help you become a better prepper. (h/t to TheSurvivalistBlog.net)
OSMAnd is a great map app. This app’s map data is drawn from OpenStreetMap, an open source global mapping project. OSMAnd’s data includes information on road surface types, nautical data for waterways, topographic features, public transport routes and even foot and bicycle paths.
If you want to learn how to navigate using the stars, Starwalk 2 is a great stargazing app. It shows you the names and locations in the sky of stars and other visible celestial objects. It allows you to look at different areas of the sky and you can get a projection of what the sky will look like when it gets dark.
To keep track of the direction you’re traveling, you may need a compass. Many high-end compasses are very expensive, which is why you should consider a compass app like Compass Eye. Compass Eye is a real time compass that can be configured to use either true or magnetic north.
For weather forecasts, get PocketGrib. GRIB files are large, raw weather data sets that can be used for forecasting. It provides a comprehensive set of files that can display wind speed and direction, precipitation, temperature, air pressure, cloud cover, humidity and more.
CitizenAid is a great app that can teach you a lot of valuable information. The app’s aim is to educate people about what to do during disaster situations such as, but not limited to, a terrorist attack. It covers a lot of possible scenarios and it contains a lot of simple and annotated illustrations.
For first aid help, look no further than the American Red Cross’ own First Aid app. It can deliver a lot of detailed information on basic medicine and how to treat a variety of injuries. You can even find step-by-step guides on how to deal with different emergencies. (Related: Survival first aid tips: Do you know how to apply a tourniquet?)
Lastly, the Red Panic Button app is a neat little app that, as its name implies, puts a big red panic button on your phone’s screensaver. During a crisis situation, you can press this and it will then send a text, email or tweet to everyone in your list of contacts it’s assigned to contact. It even connects with GPS data to send details about your current location.
The Koch Method Morse Code Trainer app proves that Morse code can still be a useful mode of communicating. It can teach you how to interpret Morse code. It teaches you each letter as a “unit” for you to easily remember how each letter sounds like in Morse.
If you need help translating Morse code in real time, Morse code translator apps like Morse-It and M3 can be helpful. These two apps can translate from English to Morse and vice versa. They can even interpret and translate Morse code entered through a microphone.
If you need to learn how to tie knots, Animated Knots is a great app that can teach you an essential skill for surviving in a post-SHTF scenario. It clearly explains, with animated visuals, how to tie almost every single knot you can possibly need.
During your disaster scenario, you may have to travel in the wilderness. If your knowledge of your area’s flora and fauna is limited, the iNaturalist app can help you improve your understanding of different types of plants, animals and fungi as well as their properties, such as if you can use a certain plant or fungi as a food or medicine source.
For an all-around app, look no further than the SAS Survival Guide. This app has everything from photos of edible plants, demonstration videos of different skills, a Morse code signalling system, a solar compass and much more. It even has a survival quiz if you want to test yourself on what you’ve learned.
Smartphones may not be the best tools for surviving. But, if you’ve got access to the internet and have enough battery, you can turn even a poor tool into a very useful one with the right apps and a proper survival mindset.