Free app AroundMe locates the nearest whatever

With over 5 million downloads, AroundMe must be one of the more popular apps. It's free, and it directs you to the nearest banks, bars, coffee shops, gas stations, hospitals, hotels, movie theaters, parking, pharmacies, pubs, restaurants, supermarkets, taxis, and theaters. Plus it gives you three-day weather and other features. It's amazingly easy to use. When you start it up, it asks if it can use your current location, then gives you the above list. You tap which category you want, and then it returns a list of results. Make a selection, and AroundMe gives you a map with the route to your selection. Of course it gives the phone number and makes it easy for you to call. The Nearby feature shows Wikipedia information relevant to your location. I tried restaurants, and was amazed by how precise it is. It found 11 restaurants within 500 yards of my location. It identified one as being 458 yards away and another as 460 yards away. (Though later it showed everything in miles, with one mile being the smallest unit, and I couldn't figure out how to get back the finer-grained measures.) Note AroundMe identifies your location via the GPS feature of your iPhone, so it doesn't work that well on an iPod touch.

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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.