I'm always looking for free apps that blend well with my passion for photography. I've been playing with NearPics, a free app from UK developers The Mac Box. The idea is simple. Start the app on your iPhone and photos that have been taken near your location appear in a slide show.
I tried NearPics in Southern Arizona and it worked quite well, bringing up a couple of dozen photos of nearby locations, including some parks, some pictures of a nearby mall, and some nice sunsets. That's as far as it goes, but it could be a lot better. The pictures are sourced from Panaramio.com, not from users of the NearPics app. It would be so much better if I could just use the iPhone camera and submit images directly. I noticed that on Wi-Fi, the app was pretty fast, but in several locations it was dog slow on 3G. I think some users might just give up. The app runs a slide show, but the user has no control of the interval that the images change. You get to choose start and stop. That's it. Support for Flickr and other image services would be welcome.
A tap on an icon takes you to Google Maps to see where the photo was taken, which is handy if you want to go there and take some photos on your own, but rather than build the Google Map into the app, you have to exit, making for a somewhat jarring experience.
NearPics is a good idea, but it could be so much more useful. Sure it is free, and I appreciate the effort, but with just a little more in terms of features and NearPics would be an app that lots of photographers would use. Then again, unlike Color, there is some utility to the app. You can see some example photos in the gallery below.