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The 19 best location-based apps

Favourite mobile, web and desktop apps

PC Advisor selects the best location-based apps for Google Android, BlackBerry and Apple iPhone, and recommends the best utilities and online applications for your desktop or laptop PC.

If you lose your phone, AntiDroidTheft turns on remote GPS tracking so that you can determine its location. You can also trigger the phone's camera to shoot an image that might help you locate the handset. • Free

If you're looking for inspiration of memorable places to visit, the British Film Locations iPhone app from Visit Britain could fit the bill. A Near Me function allows you to see whether anything in the area has been committed to celluloid. There's a synopsis of each featured film, plus an explanation of the scene in which the location appears. • Free

On Foursquare you 'check in' whenever you hit a restaurant, a coffee shop, a bar or even a bus line, and you can then see whether other Foursquare members are also there. You can earn badges for your check-ins, as well as receive the prestigious title of Mayor if you frequently check in at a venue. • Free

Using the detailed satellite imagery displayed in Google Earth, you can explore the world. Assorted points of interest are marked with links to photos, articles and more. • Free

Google Maps app is useful for finding businesses and getting directions, especially when you're in a new city. • Free

The Layar Reality Browser is an augmented-reality app that overlays information about restaurants, public transport options, museums, hotels and more on the view from your smartphone's camera. You can also see Twitter posts made by people within your camera's field of view. • Free

You could shell out big bucks for a top-brand navigation app – or you could download the free MapQuest 4 Mobile, which delivers spoken turn-by-turn directions, automatic rerouting if you miss a turn, walking directions and other useful features. • Free

Wikis were all the rage a couple of years ago, but there aren't that many examples of truly useful ones. A shining exception is OpenStreetMap, a user-editable, collaborative map you can use for almost anything. You don't have to be going far to make use of the GPS functionality in your smartphone. • Free

Motion X is an excellent app for fitness fans keen to keep track of their runs. It logs average and top speeds, and offers an exportable map of your route. • Free

RunKeeper uses your smartphone's GPS to track the distance, time, pace, route and elevation of your jogs. You can then sync your data to the RunKeeper website and later view a history of your activity. The Pro version for iPhone includes timing for interval training and audio cues, and it integrates with your playlists. • Free (Basic); £5.99 (Pro)

Trails is a pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly geolocation app that you can use to record walks and routes you've enjoyed and to automatically log waypoints and take photos as you go. It's particularly good if you're not on recognised paths or roads. • Free

For urbanites with wanderlust, we recommend WalkIt. This website and associated free app aims to get office-bound workers away from their desks during the lunch hour, exploring their environs or forsaking the train or bus for a stroll home through the backstreets. Cities include London, Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, Bristol, Cardiff and Edinburgh. • Free

Skobbler is a free navigation service that's built on the OpenStreetMap concept. You can plan journeys at skobbler.co.uk or download an Android or iPhone version. Unlike some satnav software, the pedestrian mode is integral to Skobbler, reflecting the fact that much of the mapping was done by on-the-street volunteers. • Free

Get real-time navigation with Telenav (all platforms). You can get turn-by-turn directions by voice or onscreen, and you can locate, call or navigate to rated and reviewed restaurants, hotels, cash machines, Wi-Fi hotspots and more from a directory of more than 10 million businesses. • £10/month

Other quality navigation apps for mobile use include the Find your way: The TomTom app, which offers turn-by-turn directions. Maps and routes are stored in your phone's memory, so updating maps and changing routes happens quickly and without requiring a wireless network connection. • £60

TripAdvisor.com has become the destination of choice for independent travellers keen to ensure they're not about to book themselves a fortnight at the Romanian equivalent of 'Fawlty Towers'. The reviews site now comes in a convenient smartphone version and makes just as scary reading. • Free

A must-have for travellers, Wi-Fi Finder is a directory of paid-for and free Wi-Fi hotspots in more than 280,000 locations in 140 countries. You can filter results by provider and location. • Free

The WorldMate mobile app gives you full access to the travel plans you make using the WorldMate desktop program. You can see up-to-date information on flights, hotels, car rentals and more, with clickable links. The Premium version lets you get flight-delay information, plus suggestions for alternative flights. • Free (Basic); $12/month (Premium)

XE Currency can convert more than 180 countries' currencies at current rates. The app saves the last conversion in case you need to access it offline. • Free

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