Location-aware iPhone apps that boost productivity


(MoneyWatch) Even though I was a GPS early-adopter, for many years I did no more with navigation software than just plot courses between locations. And for the most part, that was more than enough: I'm map illiterate. But over the last couple of years, I've noticed that I've started using the location-aware feature in my iPhone in ways that have transformed my productivity.

If you're not already trying these iPhone apps, you owe it to yourself to give them a try - -they'll revolutionize the way you work and collaborate, and increase your productivity.

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Send location notifications with Twist. How many times have you raced across town to a meeting, only to get stuck in traffic while everyone wonders where you are? Twist is a handy little app that automates the process of notifying everyone about your status while you're en route. That means you don't have to try to email or text anyone to say that you're behind schedule while you're behind the wheel or dashing for the train.

Using the app is easy -- just specify a destination and indicate who the attendees are. When you head out for your destination, Twist sends updates along the way to your designated recipients, so they your ETA. Not only do they get a time estimate, but they receive a map with your position, to boot. Twist is also handy for you, the traveler. Not only does it avoid the potentially fatal danger of texting while driving, but the app offers the local weather at your destination, as well.

Get location-based reminders with Checkmark. A while back, I explained how you can use the built-in Reminder app to set up notifications for your "to-do's" not based on time, but rather on your proximity to specific locations. Unfortunately, as you can see by reading my post, it's not the simplest feature Apple (AAPL) ever injected into the iPhone.

Checkmark is a far better alternative. The tool offers a slew of ways to specify a location (from the map, from your contacts list, or based on your current location). You can easily add any number of reminders to the location and specify if it should sound an alarm when you arrive or depart. You can even add a delay, as in "remind me 5 minutes after I arrive." The app is quite elegant, too. I love the home-screen, which shows icons for each location, with notifications for how many tasks are waiting for your action. If you have things you need to do based more on location than time of day, Checkmark is essential.