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Home arrow Experts arrow Guest Contributors arrow Greg Rose Shares His 5 Favorite Location Based (LBS) Mobile Apps     

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Greg Rose Shares His 5 Favorite Location Based (LBS) Mobile Apps PDF Print E-mail
Experts - Guest Contributors
Written by Greg Rose   
20 June 2011

Alright, the following are just a few of the cool location based apps I have been using lately.  I have to admit, I really like checking out and using new apps - sort of a hobby of mine you might say.  So hopefully, I can pass on a bit of my knowledge to you!

Or at least expose you to an app or two that you have not seen yet...

What are these location based apps I have been using?  Well, I am glad you asked that!  Here they are in no particular order... Oh yeah, I am an Android user, so these are all Android apps available for FREE (as in beer) in the Android Market.

c:geo - c:geo is pretty much my favorite app, even thought I don't use it as much as I would like. Yes, it has the strangest name out there, but it really is the coolest app.  So what is this app you ask?  It is a geocaching app!  A geo-whatnow?  Geocaching!  Geocaching is the newest thing that has been around for like 10 years now, don't cha know.  To put it simply, a geocache is a container that is hidden out in the real world that contains a log inside to sign your name, and sometimes also contains objects to trade.  There are millions of geocaches hidden around the world.  While not all geocahes have something to trade, they all do have a log to sign.  Anyway, the app c:geo helps you find these hidden geocaches (geocaching.com account required).  It displays the geocache description, shows the location on the map, let's you log the cache (if you found it or not) and tons more cool stuff.  It also has my favorite feature, which is the "radar".  This looks like an old sub scope, and will take you right to the location of the cache.  So cool!  I would have many more "did not find" sad faces logged if it was not for the radar feature!

@ParkMobile - This is a very simple little app, but I have found it invaluable the times I've used it.  This is a parking meter app that allows you to pay for your meter parking with your credit card. I like this app for a couple of reasons. The first is that it is awesome to be able to pay a parking meter with an app, and the second is that it needs none of the fancy GPS hardware on your phone to work.  Wait, how can this be a location based app that does not use GPS?  Well, it is pretty simple really, as they just number the parking meters and you use that number to identify what meter you are parked at.  You open the app, enter the meter number and walk away.  When you get back to the car, you open the app back up, press the button, and end your parking session.  No fuss and you only get charged for the actual time you were in the space.  This is a great app, however it does not seem to be that widespread yet.  I was using it for Santa Cruz, CA and the next closest city that uses @ParkMobile is well, um, I don't really know.  But hey, it is still a really cool and useful app and I wish @ParkMobile luck in spreading their app to as many cities as they can!

Goby - I actually just downloaded Goby the other day, but it was love at first sight! Goby helps you "find cool stuff".  Of course, "cool stuff" is quite a subjective term with one personís "cool stuff" being another person's total crap. The neat thing about Goby is that when they say "cool stuff" they really mean it!  I took a quick try using Goby to "Find Cool Stuff" in my local area when I first downloaded it.  Considering I feel I am an "expert" in all the cool things to do in a 25 mile radius of my house, I was totally expecting to see the list of cool stuff and go, meh.  However, I was blown away by the fact that Goby had suggestion that I was unfamiliar with.  What, there are 3 covered bridges in Santa Cruz county?  I did not know that!  What, Tennessee Ernie Ford is buried in Palo Alto?  Holly cow!  Goby, you are amazing!  I am looking forward to using this app on my future travels to find the real "cool stuff".

Yelp - I am sure you have all heard of Yelp.  Yelp rates local businesses and publishes user reviews.  Yelp has a pretty huge database and almost every business is reviewed by the Yelpers.  Of course those Yelpers are pretty persnickety lot when it comes to giving reviews, but Yelp is still the best way to get a quick feeling of a business.  I personally use Yelp for finding restaurants near me, especially if I am in an unfamiliar area. However, the really cool and fun feature is the Augmented Reality "Monocle". The monocle overlays business locations on top of the camera screen.  So, as you look at the screen, you see reality through the camera.  However, layered on top of that is graphic representing the various businesses that are around your current location.   Augmented Reality is very cool and kind of hard to explain.  That is why the Yelp app is cool.  Instead of trying to explain what Augmented Reality is to someone, you can just pull out the Yelp app and just show them how it works.  Try it the next time you are talking to someone who is not familiar with Augmented Reality and watch their jaw drop. 

Google Sky Map- I love me some Google Sky!  Point this app at the sky and it will tell you what stars you are looking at.  So cool!   Want to know the names of all the stars that make up Orion?  Point Google Sky at the constellation and find out!  Even though this app is all about the sky above, it is firmly based on your position on Earth.  Basically the app needs to know your position on Earth to be able to figure out what direction you are looking and what stars are in the sky above you.  My favorite part about this app is that it still works great offline.  Yeah, fire up that app on your next backpacking or camping trip and entertain yourself for hours looking at the stars.

So there you have it!  Five location based apps that I like.  Check them out if you get a chance and let me know how you like them!  You can find me on Twitter @GregRose and I would love to hear from you! 

About the Author

Greg Rose is currently a Technology Evangelist for the NAVTEQ Network for Developers (nn4d.com) where he blogs, tweets and creates Developer focused videos.  You can follow him on Twitter @gregrose - All opinions are his own

Last Updated ( 22 May 2013 )
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