Most mobile phones made today include built-in GPS chips. These open up access to many location-based services. Smartphones such as the Apple iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android operating system devices make the most of their GPS chips, with hundreds of apps that help you do everything from receiving turn-by-turn directions, to finding your way on a hike, to measuring a run distance (and your heart rate) and more.
Phone GPS is most commonly used for turn-by-turn driving directions, with the most popular apps offered by TomTom, Magellan, MotionX, Navigon, and most recently, Garmin. On Apple iPhones and Android devices, Google Maps is a reliable source for maps and for showing your position in real time (you can track your progress en route), as well as keep an eye on traffic backups. You can take Google auto navigation a step further with the free and feature-loaded Google Maps Navigation.
GPS navigation apps burn battery power, so they are best used with in-car smartphone mounts, such as those offered by Magellan or TomTom. Phone GPS car mounts are also terrific for keeping the phone where you can see it, whether it is operating in portrait or landscape mode.
If you're interested in outdoor sports, your phone's GPS capability can be very useful. Apps such as MotionX turn your smartphone into a multi-featured hiking and outdoor sports navigator. For athletes, apps such as RunKeeper, Adidas MiCoach, and Nike+ track, store, upload and share time, distance, courses, and more.
Phone GPS can also help you keep track of your friends. Google's free Latitude app, for example, lets you see where your friends are, share where you are, "check in" at restaurants, etc., while controlling your privacy settings. Google latitude is available for a wide variety of GPS-equipped phones, including iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile devices. Apps such as FourSquare and Loopt are popular friend-finder and check-in apps for the iPhone.
Specific sports, such as golf, have apps uniquely suited to them. Golf GPS apps, for example, turn your phone's GPS into a powerful on-course rangefinder.
You may even use your phone's GPS to do the outdoor adventure sport of geocaching.
Overall, phone GPS provides a terrific way to increase the value of your investment in your smartphone and data plan, and can help you in your daily life, or sports and hobby interests.