Friday, August 28, 2015

Android apps for canal users - Part 3

In part 1, I told you about the Canal Boat magazine app, which I don't use. But I have just installed another app by the same publisher. Canal Boat Cruise Guide.

Obviously, there are more detailed and comprehensive sources of this information, but I've found it gives enough for me to get a good idea of what a route, and the places en route, are like. Useful, I think.

Also by Archant comes The Canal Boat Buyer's Guide. Obviously, only of interest if you're buying a boat. Actually, possibly if you're selling, too!

And finally today, and again from Archant Maintaining Your Canal Boat. This one costs £2.99. The hard-copy version costs £6.95. The chapters are taken from past Canal Boat magazines, so subscribers to that may well have all of this publication lying around in some corner of the attic! I reckon £2.99's not a lot to pay for important instruction and advice like this.

More to come...

Yelvertoft, Australia?

You'd think that a name like Yelvertoft was unique, wouldn't you? I've done a fair bit of research into the history of the village and its name, and I've never come across the name used anywhere else.

Until yesterday. To be honest, I can't remember the series of events on the web which led to me stumbling upon it, but I did indeed stumble upon the information that there is, in the middle of nowhere in the Northern Territory of Australia, another Yelvertoft. And here it is...

The red line is the main road, the blue are rivers.
The grey areas are largely rock!
"Yelvertoft is a homestead on the Buckley River in west Queensland. Its closest capital city is actually Darwin (show me) in the Northern Territory about 1210km to the northwest (the capital of Queensland is Brisbane (show me), about 1650km away to the east-southeast of Yelvertoft). Yelvertoft is at an altitude of about 293m above sea level. Yelvertoft is one of the westernmost homesteads in Queensland. The nearest sea is the Arafura Sea which is part of the Indian Ocean about 300km north-northeast of Yelvertoft. The nearest more populous place is the city of Mount Isa which is 85km away with a population of around 21,000 (show me a map with Yelvertoft and Mount Isa)." (

So it's a "homestead", and not a village. Very small. Tiny population. So one has to think that it got its name from someone who had once lived in Yelvertoft, Northamptonshire, yes? I'm in the process of trying to make contact with someone who might know. Someone living there, or someone from the appropriate local authority. Whatever that might be. It may be a vain hope, but I'm a bit fascinated, and it's worth a try.

Courtesy of Google Maps
This is as close as I could zoom in.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Android apps for canal users - Part 2

While we were on the Trent and Soar a few weeks back, Sandy on NB San Fairy Ann told me about a couple of apps she uses, and I was amazed, amused and delighted that someone had conceived of the ideas. Such simple solutions to a couple of similar problems. Both involve simply reporting an issue to someone who can take action that the user can't.

Trolleywise. The screenshots tell it all. Not only do we get rid of discarded shopping trolleys, the bane of boaters' lives whenever they pass through towns and cities, but we get trees planted, too! I love it.

Canals and rivers are not unique in having a number of pernicious plants invading their natural flora. Unfortunately, it's true of our countryside generally. But waterways do have several very specific species which CRT and the EA are battling to get rid of. Plant Tracker enables users to identify plants, then photograph and report, incidences of them. The authorities are then better able to target their work of removal. Brilliant!

Th@s Invasive is a similar app, which I'm not currently using, but this deals with invasive animals as well as plants. It was produced as part of the RINSE project (Reducing the Impact of Non-native Species in Europe) which has now finished, but note that sightings are referred to the IWA (Inland Waterways Association? Not sure why. The issue isn't restricted to waterways, but I can find no other IWA).

I was rather surprised to see the very common Canada Goose appear in the list. "Non-native" it is, as are many of the birds we see in the UK. But "invasive"? Would I want to report it? Should I??

"Record Sighthing"! Sigh.

More next post...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Android apps for canal users - Part 1

I've had my smart phone for less than a year. My first. Before we had Kantara, I didn't really see the need for one, and I had a very basic, small voice and text only device. I had a Pay As You Go SIM. The phone gave up on me since I retired, and I replaced it for a similar one costing about £14 from Argos. I was beginning to see the usefulness of smart phones now, but hadn't investigated much. And anyway, I didn't want to risk losing such a pricey bit of kit in the canal as several people I knew had done. I wouldn't have got too upset about losing the cheapo old technology.

Then Steve gave me his work phone when they upgraded theirs. And I really see the point now! And I love having it. I keep my apps to a minimum. My OCD stops me allowing the phone to be cluttered with stuff I hardly use. For the same reason, I use as many of the useful built-in apps as I can, rather than getting similar ones from Google Store. So long as they do the job, they're fine. (But how I wish I could delete all of the native Google and HTC apps that I don't want!)

I'm chuffed to have found a number of apps which may be of use to canal users. Not just boaters, but walkers and cyclists, too. Some of them even for the occasional visitor by car. Many of these will be available for operating systems other than Android, but I haven't checked. Sorry. They're free unless I say otherwise.

Canal and River Trust have released Places to Visit. This caters for all of the canal users I mentioned above. Adults and children alike. It tells you what canal and river places are close to you, wherever you go, gives you directions to them, and information about them. And it has the facility to let you log your visits, and to rate them. I'll let the screenshots explain it to you.

Another from CRT is the Great eNature Watch. This helps users identify the commonest wildlife to be seen around the inland waters of the UK, and to log sightings. Children would love it if they have the interest in nature, but I know adults who use it, too.

Finally today, an app which costs you. In fact, it's free to download, and comes with one free edition (one hopes the latest!) of Canal Boat Magazine. But you pay for subsequent issues, obviously. I don't use this app. I stopped getting the paper version this year, and don't want to continue reading it. But if I were new to the magazine, I'd most certainly be using the app. The subscription is £2.49 a month or £19.99 a year. Quite a lot cheaper than getting the paper version sent to your door. I've collected piles, years' worth of this magazine over the years, and really wish the technology had been available from the start! How much space and paper I'd have saved.

More next post!