Wednesday, April 07, 2010

GPS-Enabled Apps for Med Students

This is a guest post by Greg Bartlett. Contact me if you'd like to submit a guest post for

GPS systems have certainly come a long way in the past decade—who’d have thought military-grade tracking devices would be built into consumer telephones by now? Technological whiplash aside, the smartphone’s GPS system will do little good without some solid apps to take advantage. Here are a few suggestions for today’s med student on the go:

A medical campus can be a difficult place to navigate. iGO My Way may remedy this need. This route planning app for the iPhone and iPod Touch features one of the most attractive and intuitive interfaces on the market today. The hefty $55 price tag seems reasonable once its clear, up-to-date maps and global support are examined. For those in a large metro area who would prefer a cab, try Cab4Me, a slick little app that can be used on the Android’s GPS system to automatically place a call to the nearest taxi company.

To every student out there that simply can’t remember to set their phone to vibrate before class, here’s a solution: Locale. This app for Android lets the student choose different power or ringer settings for different coordinates as detected by their personal GPS system. For instance, a student can program their smartphone to switch to vibrate whenever on campus, but automatically switch back to the previous ringtone once they are back on the road.

And if someone is a sticky note junkie, there’s an electronic alternative available for the Blackberry. Naggie is the student’s mom away from mom—an app that will give pre-determined notifications for particular locations detected by the GPS tracking system. If a student needs their smartphone to remind them to check on the bacteria colony when they are by the lab, then this app will prove a tremendous help.

But few things are more important to the medical student than the constant drive for sustenance—caffeine. Caffeine Finder is a Blackberry app that locates and recommends the closest coffee shop in the area, thereby saving the student from any possible coffee deprivation, or worse, a friend’s own “special” brew.
No student’s smartphone would be complete without a constant stream of music, so for Android users without the storage capacity of the iPhone, there’s Pandora’s app for Android, which allows the student to listen to the popular music site’s playlists while running other apps. Of course, this app isn’t integrated with the GPS system, but some tunes for the road are needed regardless.

Greg Batlett runs He specializes in writing about health and technology, including GPS and insurance, and has earned two master’s degrees.

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