Free Turn by Turn Navigation on the iPhone and an App that Finds Parking in Hollywood

Freenav is free but should you rely on it yet? Probably not.

The navigation software that comes with the iPhone leaves a lot to be desired. Without real turn by turn navigation, the iOS compatible version of Google Maps is showing just how behind Apple is on the whole GPS navigation thing compared to Google’s Android smart phone platform. Fortunately, that might be changing, and for free I might add. Oh, and if you find yourself try to find an empty parking spot in Hollywood on a regular basis, I’ve got just the app for you.

Navfree USA for iPhone

How is Navfree well, free when most navigation packages for iOS cost big bucks? The answer to that question is both Navfree’s strength and weakness. The app relies on crowd sourcing and its OpenStreetMap system. Basically, those who use the software help create the maps it uses. In highly populated areas, expect strong support. In less populated areas, the app can be pretty iffy and you’re probably better off just using Google Maps and figuring out your own turn by turn directions.

Overall, the app has a lot of potential. A quick and easy to use interface lies underneath it all. However, what good is a navigation app that can’t find where you are looking to go? Exactly. It’s free, so you might as well try it out though. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Apple rolls out its own navigation package in iOS 5.

Parker for iPhone

Developed by San Francisco based Streetline Inc., Parker makes finding a spot to park your car in Hollywood, CA a breeze. Developed in association with LA’s Department of Transportation, the $1.99 app uses wireless sensors embedded in city streets to display a map showing which nearby blocks have more than four parking spaces available, more than two and less than two. In a pinch, it will also show you how to get to a nearby city parking garage or lot.

Time limits, pricing and meter information are all also provided through the app. If you’re planning on spending some time in Hollywood or live/work there, it might just be a lifesaver. Now for the rest of Los Angeles to get the technology and app support… According to the company’s website, that will come in the Fall of 2011.

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