You need to download these smartphone apps this spring

Family with dog sitting on dock Photo by Zivica Kerkez/Shutterstock

The weather is finally nice enough to get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air. Usually, we’d suggest putting your phone in your pocket and forgetting about it while you’re out on a hike or walk in the park. But this year’s influx of ticks and cicadas is making us rethink how nature and technology can work together and create a fun and informative experience. Here are the two smartphone apps you need to download this spring:


This citizen science project invites everyone to be on the lookout for ticks in their area so we can all better understand and monitor tick activity across Canada. eTick users are asked to submit tick photos for identification by experts within 48 hours. You can also upload additional information, such as where and when the tick was found. eTick takes all of this data and creates a map for you to explore all tick species in any geographical area during any given year.

While we love this app idea, it’s important to take precautions when around ticks. Make sure to follow these tips to avoid ticks the next time you’re enjoying the outdoors. Looking to learn more? We debunk four common myths here.

Cicada Safari

Brood X is about to begin—one of the largest broods of 17-year cicadas will emerge from underground, mate, and lay eggs. Researchers study periodical cicadas to better understand questions about biodiversity and biogeography. And of course, there’s an app to track all of it in real-time. Download Cicada Safari before you head outdoors. When you’re out on your adventure, photograph any periodical cicadas you see and submit the photo to the app. Photos will be verified and posted to a live map. You’ll be able to see your find, as well as any others in your area.

To learn more about periodical cicadas, watch this video.

We hope you enjoy your next adventure and use these smartphone apps to help you learn more about the outdoors.