Around London with iOS (Part 3)

8/23/2012 9:37:09 PM

By car: Aside from the choice between the built-in Maps app, Tom Tom and others (see above), the issue when driving around London is not so much how to get where you’re going, but what to do with the car when you get there. The best parking guide we’ve found is AA Parking ($2.99), which locates both car parks and on-street parking either by proximity or at a set location. Usefully, it tells you not just where each parking place is, but also the extortionate rate it’s currently charging.

Description: AA Parking – Hailo - Toiluxe

AA Parking – Hailo - Toiluxe

Don’t forget central London has a Congestion Charge, which you need to pay in advance or on the day you travel through the charging zone. To help avoid a heavy non-payment fine, the London Congestion Charge app (free) displays a map and tells you if you’re in the zone or have entered it that day. There’s also a button to auto-dial the payment phone line, and a 69p in-app purchase buys you a reminder feature so you can choose to pay later in the day.

Remembering where you eventually managed to park is also essential. You could drop a pin in the Maps app (just tap the location and keep your finger held down until a purple pin appears), or take a photo of your car in situ: as long as Settings > Location Services > Camera is turned on, you can then tap Places in the Photos app to find it again, and use the picture for confirmation.

Or you could try the more entertaining approach of Find My Car AR (69p), which saves the location and allows you to add a photo as well. Then you can use the Augmented Reality mode to display an arrow overlaid on a camera view to show you the direction and distance back to it (or see the route planned on a map).

If you’re concerned about potential traffic hold-ups, London Jam Cams (69p) lets you see the view through any of London’s hundreds of traffic cameras, updated every few minutes. Not just good for motorists, it’s a great voyeuristic activity.

In the back of a cab: You can always hail a black taxi on the street in London – except when it’s raining, the pubs are closing, or you’re late for something important. Rather than trusting a minicab driven by an Estonian whose local knowledge is as limited as his ability to find change for a 20, try Hailo (free), which shows the location of nearby registered taxis, calls one for you, predicts how long it will take it to reach you, and even allows you to pay for it within the app. If no cabs are shown as available (because it’s raining, the pubs are closing, etc), Get Taxi (free) may find one instead – but it’s a less sophisticated solution.

Description: Tube Exist – Tube Boards

Tube Exist – Tube Boards

Should you prefer to travel in leatherseated luxury, the fleet of Ford Galaxies owned by Addison Lee (free) will chauffeur you in style – but at a higher cost than a traditional taxi. Those unfamiliar with Addison Lee’s boss and his charming views on cyclists and bus lanes may want to Google the company before deciding to use it.

Essential services

You may be able to navigate the streets, but what if you run short of cash? It’s easily done in one of the world’s most expensive Cities. CashPointer (free) uses your current location (or you can enter one on the map) to present you with a list of nearby cashpoints, with an arrow pointing the way to each. Alternatively, you can display their locations in a standard map view.

Out all day? London Toilets (69p) locates all 300 public toilets in the city – not an impressive number, with around a million non-residents travelling into the city every day – and sorts them by proximity. But it only finds official public conveniences. An alternative is Toiluxe – Central London Edition (69p), which locates WCs in pubs, cafes and department stores.

If you’re concerned about the level of pollution, London Air (free) will either put your mind at rest or horrify you. It shows average readings for the capital as well as indicators of locations that are significantly above the mean.

For those dealing with mobility issues, My Disabled Go London (free) lists accessible toilets and entrances in over 20,000 popular venues around the capital.

Description: London 2012 – Black Plaques - Artfinder

London 2012 – Black Plaques - Artfinder

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