Smartphones have made significant changes in communication and data access. You have access to email, the Web, and many different applications right all on the same device. Smartphones are nearly always equipped with GPS technology, so applications have the option of taking advantage of location services. These location aware apps use GPS to pinpoint a location, and 3G connectivity to provide information based on that location. Location-aware apps come in several types, whether for checking in at interesting places, or using maps to find the latest must-see museum. Here are six location-aware apps that you need to check out to make your smartphone experience complete.
Smartphones make mobile social networking on the go easy. The Facebook application accesses the phone’s GPS in order to attach a location to each status update. Facebook’s mobile app also allows people to check in at businesses, letting friends know when you’re close by.
When you’re running around and don’t know what good restaurants are nearby or what stores have the best services, Yelp provides relevant information based on location and the category selected. The results that are shown are close. Users can optionally widen their search to find businesses they might be willing to travel to visit.
Foursquare is one of the most well-known location based applications. This application allows you to check in to different locations, write reviews and find out where friends are. The social elements make this application quite attractive to use, allowing people to see how often their friends go to their favorite coffee shop and awarding them with the title of “mayor” when they visit more often than anyone else.
4. Google Maps
Google Maps has a powerful GPS application that runs off of the Google Maps service. Not only does it provide access to directions based off of the current location, it can also provide turn-by-turn directions, if needed, from the free Google Navigation app. This application works with walking, driving and public transit directions, so it’s useful in many different situations.
5. Gas Buddy
Gas is on the rise, and Gas Buddy dedicates itself to finding the cheapest gas around. Obviously, it’s becoming an increasingly popular app! It’s a unique way to use a location-based application. The app uses location services to find the nearest fuel stations and display prices, allowing users to seek out the least expensive gas in their area. In locations where many people make use of the app, the gas prices are almost guaranteed to be up-to-date.
Geocaching, in a combination of game and sport, allows players to search through their environment for hidden treasures and record their successes online for their peers to see. Gathering data, entering coordinates and tracking down caches can be a laborious process without the right equipment. Enter the smartphone equipped with c:geo. With this app and a free geocaching.com account, users can find caches in their vicinity and track them using either a map or compass function.
There are far more location aware applications out there than can be covered in a single article. Many push the limits of how we think about technology and smartphones, while others use location services to push users to get lost, explore and have fun. As technology continues to change, more novel location based apps will be released, allowing everyone to interact with their world in new and interesting ways.