I'm always looking for new and better GPS'ized apps for my iPhone 4. To me never (well, hardly ever) getting lost and nearly always being able to find restaurants, coffee houses (!!!), shopping centers and such is one of the top advantages of having a smart phone.
A few weeks ago an email blurb from the Localscope P.R. manager popped up on my iPhone.
Glancing at it overly quickly, and failing to scroll all the way down the message, I learned about this recently released "where is...?" app, but failed to notice that I could get a promocode for a free review copy.
So I blew $1.99 in the Apple App Store on Localscope.
Thus this review is totally uninfluenced by me getting the app for free, though if Cynapse (the maker of Localscope) wants to send me other complimentary iPhone goodies, I won't refuse them -- especially if a roundtrip airline ticket to Hawaii is included for a tropical evaluation.
Currently Localscope is my preferred GPS app for finding businesses, places, and people. I've stopped using AroundMe and Where To?, though I still like them. Localscope has a cleaner user interface and some other features that appeal to me.
Searching choices. You can either type in the name of who/what you're looking for, or browse categories of nearby locations. By sliding the bottom arrow thingie, Google, Bing, FourSquare, Twitter, or Wikimapia databases each can be searched.
This is handy, as different results pop up for each search option, though I haven't figured out yet why Twitter is included. After a custom search is performed, it becomes one of the saved categories (it'd appear above "Cafe" in the screen shot above). I've got "vegetarian restaurant" as an additional category that fits our culinary preferences.
Navigation. Once a desired place has been found, tapping on the listing leads to an info page with the address, phone number, web page URL, mini Google map, direction/distance, and the key "Open Map" -- which offers Maps app and Navigon options (the TomTom navigator also is supported, I believe).
As I blogged about before, the Navigon app has replaced my standalone Garmin Nuvi. My iPhone is always with me on travels, and Navigon works more reliably. So it's great to be able to find a place/person via Localscope and then have the address automatically entered into Navigon, which then gives me turn by turn directions.
The Navigon app itself is quite limited at finding places of interest, one of its few drawbacks. But with Localscope and Where To? linking to Navigon, these apps make up for what Navigon lacks in custom search capabilities.
Exploring distant places. If GPS is turned "on" in Localscope, your current location is shown at the bottom of the screen and searches find places that are near you. But if you turn GPS off, then searches anywhere in the world can happen.
When I typed in "Paris France," Localscope brought up a map centered on what apparently is a central Paris location. Clicking on my saved "Vegetarian restaurant" search revealed that if I ever found myself at that place in Paris, I could eat my favorite food at restaurant vegetarien 1009.4 yards away.
Good to know.
I didn't find any veggie food in Kabul, Afghanistan, though. And distressingly, only one coffee house popped up. For that, and many other reasons, I'm not planning on a visit to Kabul anytime soon.
Bottom line: for $1.99, Localscope is a great addition to an iPhone app collection. A You Tube video shows the app in action.