The one gadget I was quite slow to respond to was the GPS. Not because I am against the idea of a GPS but because I never really got around to one – which really is something of a shame. Because, you see, I am geographically challenged. Which is putting it nicely.
I have been known to get lost in towns with only one street – and once, when I lived in France, I lost the Eiffel Tower for an entire hour. Don’t ask.
Then I discovered the GPS on my cellphone. Suddenly I could go places with minimal panic. Unless of course the map was outdated, or if the council had changed the road layout.
Enter the new TomTom app for iPhone. This nifty little app was made for people like me. The first feature to endear itself to me was the navigate to people option. You have the choice of selecting people from your contacts (meaning that after seven years I can finally get to my sister’s house without getting lost in Whangaparaoa) or from checked in friends on Facebook (meaning I can locate my offspring at any time since they seem to be signed in there permanently – I swear they spend more time there than they do in the real world). Actually the sharing location on Facebook is great for functions and public meetings – the app will simply bring up the route and map for you from the Facebook coordinates. As guests arrive they can check into their accounts and add travel times and refine directions and maps to help other guests.
Simply putting the name of an establishment and the town it is in, will also bring up the directions – no more hunting around for the name of the street where you found that obscure but fabulous little restaurant two months ago. Not buying? Well imagine you know the name of the park or hall you need to get your kids to for their school function but you can’t remember the street name. Or you know there is a branch of your favourite store in your area but you don’t know where. Simply plug in the name of the store (or hall or park) and the app will find the location for you.
Obviously social media integration means you will need to activate the share option between Facebook and TomTom but the exact information that will be shared is explained within the app – so you can control just how much you share.
If you want it to, TomTom will tell you – with a vast variety of chimes to choose from – when you pass a restaurant, a school, a place of worship, a park. Even I could not misplace the most famous landmark in Paris with TomTom – okay it was behind me and I was jetlagged at the time alright, but with this app I no longer have to worry about such things.
It will also warn you if you are going over the speed limit – a function that could be very handy if you have tend to be heavy footed.
The TomTom app isn’t cheap. The $95 price tag makes it one of the pricier apps around but a basic TomTom device begins at around $200 and the regular devices can go up to $500, so perhaps a one hundred dollar addition to a device you already own is not so bad.
Especially when you are trying desperately to find your way around Beachlands…