Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could just point your mobile phone’s camera at something or someone, press a single button, and without any further action on your part a picture — complete with GPS coördinates — would be snapped and instantly emailed to yourself, your spouse, a parent, your best friend, or … well, you get the idea.
I can think of times where a feature such as this might be handy — like sharing the names and locations of newly discovered dive bars or hole in the wall restaurants with friends when you find them, or creating a travelogue of photos and locations for friends and family when on vacation. But personal safety and crime prevention are the major reasons to consider installing the app.
What exactly’s going on here? Let’s take a look.
The premise is that if you were to find yourself in a threatening situation, you would have the presence of mind to hold up your camera and initiate the program, which would then email the attacker’s photo along with the GPS coördinates of where the picture was taken. If your attacker realizes that he (or she) is being photographed and doesn’t like it, and let’s say that he (or she) then grabs your phone … even if it’s broken into a million pieces it should be okay, because IcePics only needs just a few seconds to get the smallish photo safely off your phone and into the cloud.
IcePics calls them “just in case” photos, and it’s not a bad idea at all.
This app can be used if you find yourself in any uncomfortable situation and you suddenly think maybe you should take a photo — “just in case.” The photo can be taken without a “click” sound, so you can use it as a preventive technology. For example, if you are in a situation where you feel uncomfortable or threatened but you don’t want to insult someone by turning and snapping their picture, instead just touch the IcePics icon, hold the phone to your ear and pretend to be on a call, but aim it in the direction of the person that is making you uncomfortable (i.e.,at a campus bus stop, dorm room, the mall, etc ), then the photo can be sent silently . . . just in case. If something were to happen, IcePics could help investigators solve more crimes with hard evidence like photographs placing them at a specific location at a specific time.
So you take the photo, and the addresses you have set up as recipients receive an email like this along with the photo taken.
Intriguing, right? So here’s how you get started. Load the app, and then hit the Setup button.
Enter your name, your email, and the email addresses you want automatically cc’d when you snap a photo. Now remember, if you are going to be using this program to take photos for fun, then you probably do not want to cc your local police department. You will want to send a picture or two to yourself when you first get it set up, just to test things; I recommend this because I had issues with the IcePics server thinking that judie @ geardiary . com wasn’t a legit email address, although it loved any email address with .gmail in it.
The beauty of this app is that you can take more than one picture — which is great if you don’t have a steady hand or you have an earlier generation iPhone; as long as you have a chance to take several shots, one of them ought to be okay. Here you can see the progression of emails as my vicious pup Daisy attacks …
The only downside is that the emailed photos are rather small, but it’s by necessity since they need to leave the iPhone quickly.
The good news is that they can be zoomed quite a bit before they lose too much quality.
You may have noticed that in the emails I received, IcePics was not able to give an “accurate reading”. When clicking the map link, it gave a location in the closest town, which is about seven miles away from our house. This flaw was fixed in a recent update, and is no longer an issue; in fact the GPS coördinates are dead on accurate. Be advised that if a photo is taken inside a building, then the GPS reading may not be quite as accurate.
The IcePics site has a list of people who might benefit from this app, and it is pretty extensive:
- Children walking home from school
- Women jogging alone
- Shoot before opening a door to a stranger (car & home)
- Anyone walking to a car in a parking lot
- Anyone opening their home door to accept a package (shoot through the window first)
- Anyone working alone
- Children playing in a park
- Elderly person living alone — Anyone living alone for that matter
- Anyone in a dispute or tense lawsuit
- Girl scouts selling cookies
- Dorm room occupants — keep it next to the bed
- Anyone meeting a stranger to buy or sell tickets or other items
- Anyone in a bank line, fast food restaurant, convenience store who sees a crime being committed
- Anyone threatened by a stalker or feeling like they may be being followed
- Anyone worried about domestic violence, divorce, or custody issues
- Ex-boyfriend/girlfriend issues – especially those involving a restraining order
In summary: Anyone who wants an extra level of protection!
So whether you want to let your best buddies know what you are doing while on vacation, or even if you only use the program when you are feeling freaked out and threatened, $2.99 is not a lot of money to spend for convenience or added peace of mind. I’ll admit that when I started testing IcePics, I thought “meh“, but after tinkering with it a bit, I’ve decided that it will be staying on my home screen.
What I Like: One step to send a GPS tagged photo to a list of recipients; can send “rapid-fire” photos; May help prevent a crime, or help solve one; easier than sending an email to let people know where you are
What Needs Improvement: The first few pictures sent may not make it through, so test it on something benign first and ask for support if needed