The Best Geology Apps for iPhones, iPads and Androids

There are many apps available for geology enthusiasts on mobile devices, but not all of them are worth your time. The ones that are, however, can save you a decent amount of work while studying for an exam or doing research in the field. 

01
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Google Earth is a multi-purpose tool that, much like others on this list, is great for both geology lovers as well as the less fortunate. Although it doesn't have all of the functionality of its desktop version, you can still view the entire globe with a swipe of a finger and zoom in on terrain with stunning clarity. 

Google Earth has endless applications, whether you are passing time at home or finding the best route to a remote site. The Maps Gallery is a great feature, adding markers and overlays for almost anything, from "Highest Peaks in Each State" to "Gangs of Los Angeles." 

I've had Google Earth, both on mobile and desktop, for quite some time and am still discovering new, useful features. It can be daunting at first, so don't be afraid to take a tutorial

Cost: Free 

Available For

Average Rating

  • Google Play - 4.3 out of 5
  • iTunes - 3.5 out of 5

02
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Created by a geologist and funded by the National Science Foundation, Flyover Country is a must-have app for any Earth science lover who travels. You simply input your start and end destination, and the app creates a virtual path of geologic maps, fossil localities and core samples. Save the path for offline use (depending on the length of your journey and the map version you choose, it can take up anywhere from just a few MB to upwards of 100 MB) so you can pull it back up when internet isn't available. The app uses your GPS tracking information, which can be used in airplane mode, to follow your speed, direction and location. This allows you to reference large landmarks from 40,000 feet high. 

The app was initially designed as a window-seat companion for curious air travelers, but it also has a "road/foot" mode that can be used for a road trip, hike or long run. The functionality is great (it took me just a few minutes to figure out how to use it) and the app looks flawless as well. It is relatively new, so expect continued improvements. 

Cost: Free

Available For:

Average Rating

  • Google Play - 4.4 out of 5
  • iTunes - 3.5 out of 5

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Lambert turns your iPhone or iPad into a geologic compass, recording and storing the direction and angle of an outcrop's dip, its GPS location and the date and time. That data can then be projected on your device or transferred to a computer. 

Cost: $2.99

Available For: 

Average Rating

  • Not Available

04
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QuakeFeed is the most popular of numerous earthquake-reporting apps available on iTunes, and it's not hard to see why. The app has two views, map and list, that are easy to toggle between with a button in the top-left corner. The map view is uncluttered and easy to read, making highlighting a particular quake simple and quick. The map view also has plate boundaries labeled with the plate names and fault type. 

The earthquake data comes in 1, 7 and 30-day ranges, and each individual quake links to a USGS page with expanded information. QuakeFeed also offers push notifications for magnitude 6+ earthquakes. Not a bad tool to have in your arsenal if you live in an earthquake prone area

Cost: Free 

Available For

Average Rating

  • 4.5 out of 5

05
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This neat do-it-all app features a handy mineral classification chart with groups and subgroups as well as a dictionary of common geologic terms and basic geologic time scale. It's a great study tool for any Earth science student and a useful, yet limited, mobile reference guide for geologists. 

Cost: Free

Available For: 

Average Rating

  • 4.5 out of 5

06
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This is essentially Google Earth for Mars without as many of the bells and whistles. The guided tour is good, but I preferred exploring the 1500+ highlighted surface features on my own. 

If you have an extra 99 cents, spring for the HD version - it is well worth it. 

Cost: Free (HD version for 99 cents)

Available For: 

Average Rating

  • 4.5 out of 5

07
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Moon Globe, as you may have guessed, is essentially the lunar version of Mars Globe. I have yet to pair it with a telescope on a clear night, but I imagine that it would be a useful device to reference my observations. 

Cost: Free (HD version for 99 cents)

Available For: 

Average Rating

  • 4.5 out of 5

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Geologic Maps

If you live in Great Britain, then you're in luck: The iGeology app, created by the British Geological Survey, is free, features more than 500 British geological maps and is available on for Android, iOS and Kindle. 

In the United States, we're not quite as lucky. You can pay for Mancos ($2.99 in iTunes) or USAtlas Geology ($5.99 in iTunes), but your best bet is probably bookmarking the mobile version of the USGS Interactive Map to your phone's home screen. 

Disclaimer

While these apps may be useful in the field, they are not a replacement for proper geologic equipment like local maps, GPS units and field guides. Nor are they meant to be a replacement for proper training. Many of these apps require internet access to use and can drain your battery quickly; not exactly something you want to depend on when your research, or even your life, is on the line. Not to mention, your geologic equipment is more likely to stand up to the extremes of field work than your expensive mobile device!