I don't know how we went on before we had Google maps. Well, I suppose I do really. We used paper maps and street directories a lot. I love using Google maps for working out where places are and how to get to them. In fact these days I get quite peeved if addresses don't have a link to Google maps. And, of course, if you are going somewhere new using the GPS on the phone tells you exactly where you are and how to get where you are heading.
Well, maybe it's not always exactly right. You will all have read about the unfortunate issues with the maps program that came with iPhone 5. One of the stories that hit the press was about people missing Mildura. Fortunately there is now a Google Maps app for the iPhone 5, though unfortunately you have to go to it specifically and don't get there automatically from other sites.
However, Google Maps certainly isn't perfect either. One example of its inaccuracy I found recently was its placing of the Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens in the National Gardens, not on Syntagma Square where it really is. However, I recently used Google Maps to plot a whole road trip around Greece, with its assistance working out distances of legs of the trip as well as routes and highways. Its coverage of public transport is rather chequered around the world but presumably this is gradually changing.
So yes I love using maps on the go, but I always like to plot stuff in advance and have some idea where I am going rather than doing it completely on the run. Of course, some times this isn't possible but I don't think I would have ended up missing Mildura as I like to have a general sense of direction and geography.
But checking in, now that's another story entirely. I thought I had signed up for Foursquare ages ago. And I had BUT I hadn't got very far with it and I hadn't installed the app. So this time I installed the app (see above), dutifully found friends who belonged and asked to befriend them. So I am now getting push notifications about where these friends have checked in. But they are hearing nothing from me. I don't want to go any further with Foursquare for the same reason I don't checkin with Facebook, why I don't put GPS on lots of my photos and why I didn't even give my location to Foursquare years ago. Foursquare seems to think I belong in Glenferrie Road Hawthorn as I must have been there when I joined up originally :) I simply don't want people to know exactly where I am every minute of the day. In fact I simply don't want them to know where I am particularly at all. They get lots of clues from social media but I don't think people need any more detail about me.
It is interesting to think about this in the context of the blog @flexnib did recently about being plugged/unplugged. Checking in is one area where I choose not to be plugged in. I do wonder how many people actually use Foursquare or other checking in programs regularly. It was interesting to see all my friends who cropped up on Foursquare. But when I looked at how frequently they used it a lot hadn't used it for a year or so. The friends who seem to use it most regularly are my friends who do geocaching. This is just a general reflection not based on empirical evidence (or any evidence really), but I do wonder how many people joined up when it came out and don't really use it any more?