We’ve all forgotten where we parked the car at some point. While it can be funny in retrospect, it's usually not that humorous in the moment, especially if you're by yourself.
Lo and behold, there’s even an app for helping you find your parked car.
The Original Parking Locator (last updated Feb 5, 2010 from AppTight Inc.) is $1.99. The developer promises the app will “organize your parking locations, and guide you back to finding your car in ease. An easy-to-use interface for taking photos of your parking destination and adding notes and important details to fully document important items like landmarks, signs and walkways. Enter parking information manually such as the level you are parked, the area, or the numbered spot you are at – even coloured names to specify your level.”
How does it work? Say, for example, you’re running late for a meeting in San Francisco and had to forego public transportation. You've parked your car at an obscure downtown garage or lot:
- To begin, a user can manually enter critical information (e.g., Level 1A, color code red), then tap on the button marked “Done”;
- The user can add a photo of the parking space and/or garage/lot, then tap on the button marked “Use”;
- The user can choose the GPS feature to add a map by double tapping on the map to mark his/her location and then tapping on the button marked “Done”; and
- The user then saves the parking location and heads out for the day. Note – the location can also be emailed to friends/family.
When it’s time to find one’s car, open up the application, tap on “Retrieve Parking Location,” and select the location from the Location List. The View Location feature will show such details as:
- The parking lot information (e.g., level, color code)
- The photo taken (if applicable)
- The map pinpointing the location where one parked. This feature would be more helpful if it provided the user with step-by-step directions for how to reach the destination, as is offered in the Maps application.
On the bottom left of the home page is a button labeled “Airports.” Users can select from among a long list of airports (the list is certainly not exhaustive; I did a quick check and found that numerous airports are not included). But say, for example, a user needs to pick a friend up from San Francisco International Airport. If the user selects SFO, he/she is directed to the airport’s website that lists pertinent information (e.g., arrivals/departures; parking options).
One comment among the customer reviews listed in the App Store is “Waste of money. Same as using paper and pen.” This is true to a certain extent (users could also just use the Notes app to jot down details and then use the Maps app to find their way back). It’s somewhat astonishing to realize what folks were able to do back in the day with – gasp – a piece of paper and a pencil.
But for frequent travelers, it is somewhat convenient to have resources in one location. Lazy? Oh yes. But convenient (especially the email option and the direct link to airport websites). I’ve certainly bought apps that are infinitely more useful and unique for less than $1.99.
But the next time I’m wandering around by myself, looking for my car, I’ll likely be glad I made the ~$2 investment.