Heineken has launched BarTrek, a service, that leads thirsty travellers to the nearest bar - using a Palm handheld computer.

Heineken selected 15 cities, then photographed and described them - down to an exact Global Positioning System (GPS) reference. Selected bars are marked on digital city maps that can be downloaded from the BarTrek Web site onto a Palm Computing device.

The user then connects the organizer to a mobile GPS, and the user’s location in the city is shown along with the position of the bar they are heading for.

"We believe technology should add value to one’s social life, not serve as a substitute or replacement," said Frazer Thompson, Heineken’s international marketing manager. "We hope BarTrek will encourage people to get out from behind their computer screens and on to the street, to leave their hotel rooms and meet people."

To mark the launch of the service, Heineken is giving away five Palm V GPS combinations for the most visionary ideas on the Bar of the Future, and another for the best original PDA applications.