x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

App of the Week: FlareGun! sends friends all the right signals

A new smartphone app can not only tell you where you are, but also easily inform anyone who cares.

It's hard to imagine where many of us would be right now if we were suddenly cut off from all of our GPS-enabled devices.

Perhaps thousands of us would be laying siege to some remote petrol station somewhere in a desperate search for the last cashier alive who still remembers the way back to the motorway.

Scary stuff, I know - I could go on, but I know some of us want to get some sleep tonight.

Satellite navigation, once only a luxury for astronauts and smart bombs, is now a necessity for millions of commuting civilians.

Global positioning systems aren't just helpful; they now share rarefied air with an elite set of tools that keep our tenuous modern society from unravelling altogether - joining the ranks of PIN codes, deodorant and Justin Bieber movies in 3D.

However, while our GPS-enabled devices have become quite adept at telling us where we are and where we might like to go, they still require quite a bit of head scratching when the time comes to transfer that information to anyone who cares.

The app

Fortunately, there's FlareGun! (iPhone, Dh3.67), a smartphone app that allows you to send your GPS location via text message to anyone on your contact list.

For many geeks, that might not sound like such a big deal. After all, there are countless apps out there that let you broadcast your exact longitude and latitude to the world.

But just try to find a friend who's willing to invest the next 10 minutes navigating Facebook or Foursquare just so he can share a pizza with you across town.

By contrast, FlareGun! hands your grid position to them fast and on a silver platter. Your pals, then, are much more likely to track you down because it no longer requires burning more calories than they would consume during your impromptu pizza date.

The details

If you want to show someone where you are, simply launch the app, check to make sure your map position is accurate (move the "pin" position if it's not) and click "Send Flare!" A link showing your coordinates on Google Maps will then be transmitted to the contacts of your choosing via SMS.

While the app is only available on the iPhone, the software sends a link that will work across platforms for anyone with a smartphone and access to Google Maps - and if you still have friends who don't have that, honestly, maybe it's time to reassess your associations.

Check out more of the best apps to make your life easier, and have more fun, at App of the Week. Have some great personal finance apps that you want to share? Write to Curt Brandao at cbrandao@thenational.ae