Today I’m taking a look at Ultimate Dinopedia: The Most Complete Dinosaur Reference Ever. And they’re not kidding around about that. This iPad app comes from The National Geographic Society and is based on their award winning book of the same name. If you have a dinosaur fan in your house then this is the app for you. Seriously. From the extensive information to the artwork I was impressed with how much dinosaur knowledge is packed into this one app. Sure, there is one minor technical issue with the app, but I’m confident it will be addressed soon. In the meantime, I don’t think there’s any reason to hold back from diving into dino overload.
There are several ways to navigate through Ultimate Dinopedia and you can see those options by tapping at the top of your iPad screen. A navigation bar will appear with your choices. If you choose the Table of Contents then it will appear at the bottom of your screen, showing a thumbnail illustration for each main screen in the app. Scroll through these and tap on the one you’d like to begin with. There is a section for meat eating dinosaurs and one for plant eaters. Each of those includes detailed informational screens (Dinopedia Pages) for individual dinosaurs. These screens show a stunning illustration of the dinosaur in action. Information about what is depicted in the picture is included. I found this helpful because it turns out sometimes there’s more to the story than simply two dinosaurs fighting for food. The Dinopedia Page will also contains statistics and a fun fact about the dinosaur. These will include the meaning of it’s name, the time period it lived in, where fossils have been found and it’s length. You’ll see a graphic illustrating how the dinosaur’s size compares to that of a man. A short factual story, with optional narration, is included on the page and some of the Dinopedia pages include short videos. After the Dinopedia pages the Table of Contents will reveal pages containing more general information about dinosaurs. Topics include fossils, dinosaur habitats, hatching, migration, and dinosaur digs. Each is just as detailed and well illustrated as the Dinopedia pages.
Another way to move around Ultimate Dinopedia is by using the Family Tree. The Family Tree screen gives a visual showing which dinosaurs came first and who was most closely related to one another. You can see the tree for all dinosaurs or filter it to only show meat or plant eaters. Tapping on a dinosaur will again bring up it’s in-depth Dinopedia page
If you’d like to go directly to the Dinosaurs themselves then you can select the Dino Profiles from the top navigation bar. This will reveal a list of alphabetized dinosaur names. Each one has statistical information attached to it, along with a recording that demonstrates how to pronounce the name. Dinosaurs that also have a Dinopedia page will have a link to take you there for more detailed information. More than 700 dinosaurs are covered in this app.
The last bit of the app is unfortunately where I ran into my technical difficulties. Fourteen short, computer animated videos have been included in the app. Most of them can also be accessed from various Dinopedia pages. The videos ran smoothly but I was unable to hear any sound. The App Store description suggests that you close down all other apps before running Ultimate Dinopedia. I did this and I didn’t experience any of the crashing problems others have mentioned. The app also transitioned from screen to screen much faster once I had the other apps turned off. But I couldn’t get the sound to play, even after deleting and reinstalling the app.
This has got to be the most comprehensive reference app I’ve seen for the iPad so far. It has all the wonderful information of an encyclopedia plus the interactivity an iPad provides. My favorite part of the app is the graphics, they truly brought the dinosaurs to life for me. I think that preschool aged dinosaur lovers will enjoy the pictures in this app but the content is best suited for elementary school age and older. Just my two cents.
Price when Reviewed: $5.99
Seller: National Geographic Society
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this app for review purposes.