If you’re anything like us, you park up, wander off into town and then realise about half an hour later that you have no idea where you left your car. Multi-storeys are the worst. If you know how to find the actual car park, it could take your four hours to locate your car in the sea of mass-produced metal. Help is at hand, though, in the comely, GPS-assisted form of Parkdroid.
Parkdroid can be downloaded from Android Market for zip and allows you to seek out your vehicle’s parking spot using a a combination of GPS and your Android phone’s mobile signal.
Parkdroid uses Google maps for its location, meaning you can use a traditional map view or switch to the satellite, Streetview images for instant landmark spotting. It’s simply a case of tapping the flag on the right-hand side of the screen when you park and then setting whether it’s a paid-for, free or private space (or one that isn’t available to the Parkdroid commmunity). Finally, you can add a note to your parking spot – ‘level 3, section A’ perhaps just to help you out – and then select a time reminder to let you know when your car parking is going to expire.
When it’s time to locate your ride again, simply fire up the app and either navigate using the map view in the bottom half of the screen, or use the vastly more entertaining car locator bar at the top of the screen. The bar consists of nine indicators that move to indicate adjustments to your course. Ideally, the arrow till be pointing straight forward at all times, indicating you’re taking the path of least resistance to your vehicle. Walls, buildings, people and the like often get in the way of you doing that, of course, so you’ll need to be a little flexible…
Parkdroid makes use of a community element to give you a key of parking spaces in your local area. As one Parkdroid user vacates a space, it becomes live on other users’ maps. However, we found that take up was fairly limited in London. It’s a feature that requires plenty of users to work, and a catch 22 if you don’t already have plenty of users…
Parkdroid is undoubtedly a handy app, and if you’re in a single level car park, you should be able to pinpoint your car to the nearest few metres. If you’ve parked in a multi-storey, however, you’ll struggle thanks to a mixture of altitude and enclosed concrete, making true accuracy a problem. That, however, is true of just about any GPS-enabled app you can mention.
It’s free, though, and does its job well if, like us, you’re a bone-headed fool who regularly loses their car on trips into town, you’ll find Parkdroid silly useful.
The Bottom Line
Handy car-finding app that does the job in most instances. Community parking features need a proper marketing push to be useful, however.
Version reviewed 2.3.1
Requires Android 1.5 or higher