Earthcomber is location aware, so you usually won't need to go far to find whatever you're looking for. As you would expect, the app works best with the GPS built into the iPhone 3G and over Wi-Fi. You have the option of entering your zip code into Earthcomber to fix your location, so no worries.
Earthcomber is capable of searching for a wide variety of public places in your immediate locale, ranging from ATMs, to restaurants, to free Wi-Fi, to live music, and it seems, everything else that you might want. First, tap the "Explore" icon. Next, tap restaurants, for example, and up comes a list of eateries within about 10 miles of your location. Tap the name of the restaurant, and you'll get an address, telephone number, directions and a map.
Earthcomber has a number of other features, all of which require registering with Earthcomber's Web site to access them. Two key features worth noting are, one, the ability to create "My Radar," a personalized list of your favorite people and places and, two, share your location and status with other people (you can show your visibility to everyone in your favorites or limit it to a select few).
The interface is a bit clunky and old-fashioned in look and feel. At times, Earthcomber was just plain quirky. The lists of nearby locations changed quit a bit even though I changed my location by only 1 mile.
In another instance, Earthcomber displayed a list with the same item repeated seven times. In yet another instance, I found misspellings in the names of some sites (Cardnial Spelling Philatelc Museum).
When I looked for places near me that offered free Wi-Fi, one place, the Simple Cafe was near the bottom of the list. The problem is the Simple Cafe is 165 miles from me, in Brooklyn, according to Earthcomber. That's hardly nearby and besides, Brooklyn, is a bit more than 200 miles from me (I know this because I often travel to NYC, including Brooklyn).
Earthcomber is hardly compelling. The idea is fine; but the implementation is goofy.