GPS Essentials

An app you never knew you needed

A GPS app isn’t really the sort of thing that appeals to most people. Beyond frequent travellers, geography enthusiasts and other people who would presumably demand such services, it’s hard to picture an audience lusting after an app that claims to be the Swiss Army Knife of GPS apps. And yet, after just a few minutes of playing around with GPS Essentials, it’s just as hard to picture going without it ever again.

GPS EssentialsWhat makes it such a great app is that it contains an exhaustive list of options that cover absolutely everything you can imagine even remotely related to a GPS service. The basics are covered, such as a GPS map, which is provided courtesy of Google Maps and is uncomfortably accurate, pinpointing your exact position and even which way you’re facing (an easily overlooked function on most tracking apps). Then there’s the compass, which is… well, a compass. No prizes for guessing what this does.

Yet it’s the other functions that provide the real interest here, providing the overlap between the hardcore GPS enthusiasts outlined in the opening paragraph and those likely to just tap away in curiosity. For example, there’s an option for Tracks. This allows you to get your phone recording what it is you’re doing as you’re moving about – the time taken, the highest point (in height, not emotionally), the lowest point (again, not emotionally), your top speed, the overall gain and so on. It doesn’t sound like the sort of thing that should be of any interest but then, having not had devices that tracked this sort of information readily available for the price of nil, it’s not as though you would have realised such a thing existed.

This kind of attention to detail spreads throughout the other functions the app provides. Camera adds a spirit level to the reticle and allows you to snap pictures, Routes gives you the option to plan where you’re going, Charts gives you a nice infographic of similar information to that found in Tracks, while Satellites even lets you know about what GPS satellites are in the area. It’s certainly a comprehensive app.

Finally, GPS Essentials presents a multitude of different widgets, so you can have information such as altitude, distance to location and various other parameters available on your Android’s dashboard. Only a few instances of crash and bugs hold this back from a perfect rating.

Price: Free Developer: Mictale.com