Imagine you’re out and about in an unknown place, travelling around a city you’ve never been to before. Or maybe you’re in your hometown and just need something to jog your memory, giving you a little more information on a place you already know well. Either way, your smartphone can be one the best tools available to find out what’s around you at any given time.
The GPS functions that so many handsets now boast have been turned to some very creative uses by apps developers. By cross-referencing your position with map data and geo-tagged photos and social updates, a whole host of information can be brought to you quickly. Here we take a look at some of the most useful apps that tell you about where you are.
Around Me is one of the simplest and most practical apps we’ve ever used, giving a wealth of useful information about the area you’re in. While much of this may be a bit dull, such as the location of the nearest cash machine or petrol station, this kind of stuff can be vitally important when you need it.
The app lets you search for any kind of local service, with presets that shows things like bars, supermarkets and other amenities. Each is listed with the distance it is from your current location, along with a handy map view to find your way there.
A traffic app with a difference, Waze uses crowd-sourced information to keep its data up to date. Users of the app can add incidents and traffic reports to the service, creating a real-time impression of what’s going on on the roads.
Along with traffic info, Waze can be used as a navigation app, with maps being edited and updated by users to avoid any mistakes. Information can also be found about nearby petrol prices, saving you some money in the process.
CO Everywhere is a brilliantly innovative and well-designed way of showing what people are talking about in any particular place. Using the app, you simply draw around an area and news and social updates posted from within that space will appear in a feed.
This includes geo-tagged Instagram photos and tweets along with offers from local business. CO Everywhere could be hugely important in the case of a major incident, or brilliant for just getting a snapshot of what people around you are up to.
One of Google’s lesser-known services, Field Trip alerts you to interesting landmarks and information about things that are close to you. As the name suggests, the app is more concerned with landmarks and local history than it with information about shopping and entertainment, setting it apart from other apps of its kind.
Field Trip looks to be something that the search giant is planning on incorporating into its Google Glass device, but using it on a regular smartphone is still very interesting. The app also provides a refreshing break from the commerce-driven information that many location-based services try to push on to you.