New iPhone app spotlights Oregon's swimming holes

PORTLAND, Ore. - Wouldn't it be nice if there was a list of some of the best swimming holes in Oregon?

Such a list exists in print - in the form of a book called Oregon's Swimming Holes - but the guide is hard to find, at least at a reasonable price. Just ask Jake Schirm, who last summer was trying to find the book so he could take his kids swimming.

"The book was a bit of a mystery," he said. "No one knew how to get to it. You know, they maybe had an uncle who had a copy or checked it out at the library. But nobody actually had it."

Schirm did a little online searching and found some used copies on Amazon, but the book is so scarce that the prices were running from $100 to $600.

"There was really a demand for the book," Schirm said. "And I'm a designer by trade and a bit of a technologist. I've also got an iPhone and I thought well wouldn't it be great if I could take that content and put it in my pocket."

So Schirm did just that - he contacted the field guide's author, Relan Colley, and ended up creating an iPhone app out of the book. The app, priced at $9.99, was released last month and reviewers are already giving it a thumbs up:

So cool when an app delivers on everything. This one is elegantly designed, intuitive (no learning curve - I was using it instantly), and accurate! Having the best summer ever discovering new places to swim. Bonus: If you have kids, some of the water holes I found with this app also revealed great camping! Love it!!

This is a really cool app with a lot of info on each swimming hole. It just came out so I'm excited to see more as people take more pictures, write reviews of the holes, etc (all of which can be shared within the app).

Has literally every swimming hole in Oregon. Awesome description and info on each location. Some suggestions: let us filter by criteria like difficulty or rating. Add a search feature.

But what about Android? Schirm said if the app turns out to be popular, he will look at creating an Android version in the future.