This app hangs from the tops of high buildings swinging on spider webs to help you find a parking place ... oh, wait. That's Peter Parker, the Amazing Spiderman. Parker for iPhone doesn't wear a spider suit, but it does pretty much the same things that Peter Parker would do if Peter Parker helped you park -- namely, it gives you a rooftop view of the local street situation and tells you where the parking places are.
With the cooperation of the Departments of Transportation in several major cities, including New York, Dallas, Los Angeles and Boston, the San Francisco company Streetline has installed electronic sensors in selected neighborhoods to detect whether parking places are occupied or empty. This data is broadcast to a central location and can be accessed via the Parker app.
Parker for iPhone has a wealth of features, as well as a built-in tutorial to show you what they are and how to use them. They include the ability to choose a city and an area within that city that has parking sensors, a map showing a numeric count of the number of open spaces within a specific area, color coded icons on that map to point you to blocks with the largest number of open spaces, and a special display showing the fee charged by meters or commercial parking garages at the place where you want to park. In some instances, you can even pay for parking directly from the app. And once you've started a meter ticking, Parker will not only time it for you and remind you when it's about to run out, but will use your iPhone's built-in GPS to predict whether you have enough time to walk back to your car before the meter expires. If you drive much in major metropolitan areas, Parker can make your life easier and save you from a lot of frustration when you need to get out of your car and walk.
But for even larger scale travel plans, the next app can help you find your way around much of the United States -- and Canada too.