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A Month with Localscope

For the last month or so, I’ve been using an iPhone app called Localscope when I travel. It’s a pretty handy little app, designed to integrate with various online services such as Google, Twitter, Bing, and Foursquare, that leverages the iPhone’s GPS functionality and built-in compass to help you find local places of interest: restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream, etc.

Basically, the app works like this: you select what you’re looking to find—restaurant, cafe, bank, gas station, or even a custom search like “Starbucks”–and then Localscope goes out and gets that information from the selected online source (there’s a slider at the bottom where you choose the online source). Localscope then integrates the data from the online source with your location and compass information from the iPhone to tell you in what direction and how far away the various matches are. You can easily switch between online sources without having to redo the search (that’s handy). There’s also an “augmented reality” view using the iPhone’s camera that overlays destinations on top of what you’re seeing through the camera. Cool, yes, but not necessary tremendously effective unless you’re in the midst of a major metropolitan location.

For me, Localscope has been handy finding local places to eat when I travel. It’s always nice to get a feel for the local flavor when you’re in a particular city or region, so I try to avoid the chains and find something local or original.

In my opinion, if you travel a fair amount, Localscope is worth the $1.99 that the developer charges for the app.

Disclaimer: The developer of Localscope, Cynapse, provided me with a free copy of the application to use.

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