Find a great spot (in select cities) with Android app Parker by Streetline, Inc.

by Caitlin M. Foyt

The quest to find a parking spot can put a damper on any night out. So if you live in a bustling city, Parker is an ideal app to have on hand.

Available in just a few cities (namely, the major metropolitan areas of California, Maryland, New York, Texas, Utah and Washington, D.C.) Parker is a navigator that keeps a lookout for open parking spots. And if you live in a place like Los Angeles, where there's mediocre public transit and heavy traffic — this is a must-have download.

Parker works by detecting where there are and aren't cars by wirelessly connecting with sensors that have been planted inside parking spaces. Whether or not this kind of technology is available in all parts of a city is impossible for me to say. Drivers can then look to Parker to see where there is parking and how much is available.

The Parker application also provides users with information about parking time limits, how much it costs to park, whether meters take credit cards or coins, as well as general parking information for select locations. Just a note here: I noticed that, while this app makes use of Google Maps, it still didn't respond well to business names and well-known locations. Parker seems to work best with actual, numerical addresses and ZIP codes. The app also has an option to set meter reminders, so you don't have to consciously worry about a visit from the meter maid.

When you first launch the app, you'll see that Parker doesn't immediately come across as the most intuitive application in the market — and to be honest, it's not really. It's simply a map, a whole bunch of buttons, and there aren't any instructions to help you out. Because of these facts, I'd recommend that you play around with this one before you head out with the intention of using it.

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