App of the Week: Never Lose Your Car Again with Parkn' Find

App: Parkn' Find Platforms: iPhone Web site: Parkn' Find Cost: $0.99

There are few things more frustrating than wandering around a parking lot looking for your car. This is especially true when it is raining or the sun is baking you like a roasted pig on a spit. With GPS technology being what it is, it makes sense that there are a variety of apps to help you avoid looking like a sweaty moron standing in the middle of a sweltering parking lot on a hot Houston summer day.

Of those apps, the best I've found is Parkn' Find, the rather twee name notwithstanding. When it comes to helping you find your parking spot, this app makes it easy for even a heavily sedated man exiting the dentist to find his car, though we don't recommend he actually drive it.

Like most good apps, Parkn' Find is simple. The opening screen gives the user the choice of adding a new spot or seeking help. One tap, and it begins seeking the current GPS location. It will even reveal how accurate the GPS is at that particular time to within a specified distance (normally within less than 100 feet).

The map defaults to a hybrid Google map/satellite view, but that option may be toggled. It also allows for the spot to be marked manually in case of a troublesome GPS signal.

At the top of the screen, a microphone icon when tapped begins recording a voice note. The camera icon prompts the taking of a photo. All may be attached to the spot, making it that much easier to locate.

The bottom of the screen gives users the ability to enter parking garage information including level, section, row and spot. Since GPS isn't all that helpful inside a multilevel garage, this is essential. Finally, there is an option for setting a parking meter complete with a reminder system to help avoid parking tickets.

There are a number of apps on the market geared specifically towards parking meter reminders, but it seems much more useful bundled inside an app that helps you locate your car as well.

Once the location has been stored, it appears in a list on the opening screen under the label "Recent Parking Locations." When tapped, the app displays a GPS map zoomed in for convenience, the distance from the parking spot in feet, a compass with simple instructions and the date and time of the last time you parked there.

Of course, this all can be edited and Parkn' Find offers the ability to e-mail or text message your location to others, which is great for meeting a dealer friend for dinner. In case you had to park a good distance from where you were going, there's even a driving directions link that opens up the iPhone's mapping technology.

Overall, Parkn' Find is a helpful app for parking, but I have to believe there are other uses as well. For example, at a large festival or amusement park, it would seem like this app could be useful in determining a meeting place given the GPS accuracy is within a few feet.

Whether using it for parking or finding friends in a crowd, Parkn' Find should make a nice addition to your iPhone's app roster, particularly if you are directionally challenged.

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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke