Check out your surroundings with Localscope

Jan 13, 2011
Tech

It’s easy to know what’s around you in your own neighborhood, but that’s not always the case when you’re exploring your city or traveling to new ones. Localscope takes your GPS location, and provides your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad with details of everything around you. Localscope has a well-planned user interface that provides plenty […]

It’s easy to know what’s around you in your own neighborhood, but that’s not always the case when you’re exploring your city or traveling to new ones. Localscope takes your GPS location, and provides your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad with details of everything around you.

Localscope has a well-planned user interface that provides plenty of options for searching, which even the pickiest of users should like. Through the horizontal bottom scroll, you can pick how Localscope searches the net — either with Google, Bing, Foursquare, Twitter or Wikimapia. In the frame above, you’ll find a list of dedicated search options like restaurant, bank or shopping. There’s also an option to browse everything close by, which will display all the businesses around you, as well as geotagged tweets and Foursquare check-ins.

The bottom line of the app shows your current address as the GPS sees you, and dragging the window up will display your current location on a map and signal strength of your GPS, particularly useful in congested areas (a weak signal causes my phone to be perpetually three blocks wrong in Chicago).

After you’ve performed a search, you’ll be given a screen option in the upper right corner. Through this button you can choose how to have your search results displayed: in list format, pinpointed on a map, or using augmented reality. This feature relies heavily on the iDevice’s compass, and I found its accuracy to be shaky, at best. (I have the same issue with the compass in Maps, so I don’t think this is indicative of an app problem.) Users will also be able to place calls in app, set a place as their current location for advance planning, or see directions through Maps (this integration was the only item I felt was missing from Localscope).

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At $2.99, Localscope is a bit pricey, but its smart design and feature-rich UI should ensure you don’t feel ripped off.

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