Few things are as nerve-wracking as realizing that you’re lost, whether you’re in a completely unfamiliar city or simply a neighborhood in your hometown that you don’t know very well. It wasn’t so long ago that you’d be left to fend for yourself, asking strangers for directions until you found your way back to a place that you knew. These days, however, the popular
iPhone coupled with the staggering selection of applications available in the App Store make it possible to find your way back home safely, without ever being forced to speak to someone you don’t know.
- MapQuest – A recognizable name in navigation since the days of printing directions gleaned from the Internet onto actual paper, MapQuest’s service is simple, straight-forward and easy to use. As the number one provider of voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation that does not charge for its services, the free MapQuest app also checks live traffic as you travel and automatically redirects you in the event of a wrong turn.
- iCarPark – Getting lost in an unfamiliar city is one thing. Being completely disoriented in a parking lot and incapable of finding your car is another matter altogether, and a very embarrassing one at that. This $0.99 app will help you navigate back to the parking spot that you saved upon exiting the vehicle, eliminating the wasted time and humiliation of wandering aimlessly through a parking lot.
- Spyglass – If you happen to be lost in the great outdoors with a full battery, this $3.99 app is one of the best to have in your pocket. Viewfinders, compasses, maps, a GPS tracker and a gyroscope are among the many survival and navigation features offered, helping you find your way back to civilization without calling in a rescue team.
- Localscope – When you’re not sure about where you are, familiarizing yourself with the neighborhood is the best course of action. With this $1.99 app, you can learn more about the things around you than you would from any guidebook, finding pointers and trivia from search engines, social networking and geo-tagged information.
- Where Am I At? – Opening this free app at the first sign of unfamiliar surroundings can help you determine exactly where you are, in terms of both GPS coordinates and approximate street address. You’ll never have to fumble to figure out where you are, and you’ll be able to begin making your way back to more familiar territory again in no time at all.
- City Maps 2Go – Deemed “essential for travelers” by TIME Magazine and “one of the best offline maps apps” by the Wall Street Journal, the $1.99 City Maps to Go app is a resource you can turn to, even when there are no networks available to allow use of GPS services. The first paragraphs of more than 500,000 Wikipedia articles are also included at certain points of interest, landmarks and attractions.
- Galileo Offline Maps – A powerful offline map application offered for free in the App Store, Galileo Offline Maps can help you find your way when you aren’t sure of where you are, discover new things along the way, and even plan a travel itinerary. The wide range of features that are available on the app make it a popular one to use when you’re lost, as well as one that can be used in everyday life.
- Trimble Outdoors Navigator – Outdoorsy types that tend to take a wrong turn or two simply can’t be without this $4.99 app, which is designed to allow adventurous users the freedom to wander as they please, with the security of knowing that they will be able to find their way back.
- You Need A Map – A free app billed as an aid for emergencies, You Need a Map will help you when you’re lost, even if you’re in an area with no cell signals. Boasting coverage of all 50 American states, You Need a Map is a very large app, but it’s also one that you’ll certainly wish you had if you find yourself unsure of your location in a remote area.
- Take Me Home, I’m Lost! – This free application does exactly what it says: it takes you home when you are lost. If you’re across town from your regular stomping grounds and not as familiar with the neighborhood you’re in as you are your own, Take Me Home will direct you back home the moment you’re ready to go. You can even enjoy music out of your own iTunes library as you make your way back home!
While these apps can be real lifesavers when you’re lost, it’s important to keep in mind how quickly they can become dangerous if you choose to use them while you’re sharing the road with other drivers. Pulling over to determine your location and set a GPS route is much safer than fumbling to do so while you’re operating a vehicle.
Written by Emma Roberts