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Best Map Apps for the iPad

Best iPad Map Apps, Including Travel, Atlas, Topo, Entertainment and More

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The iPad's large, bright, high-resolution touchscreen, its large memory capacity, and its connectivity make it an ideal device for travel and mapping apps. Here I present my top picks for a range of iPad map app types, including topographic, destination, and service maps.

National Geographic World Atlas HD ($1.99)

National Geographic World Atlas HD
National Geographic

In its World Atlas HD app for the iPad, National Geographic states it "utilizes our highest-resolution, press-ready images, providing you the same, rich detail, accuracy, and artistic beauty found in our award-winning wall maps and bound atlases." The map set, which pops beautifully on the bright, high-resolution display of the iPad, includes a globe (that you can spin!) and country-level resolution for the entire planet. When internet-connected, you may drill down (via Bing Maps) to street level. This maps app is a great educational tool for kids. Each nation has a pop-up flag and facts set. Be sure to get the HD version for the iPad.

My Topo Maps Pro by Trimble Outdoors ($4.99)

My Topo Maps Pro by Trimble Outdoors
Trimble Outdoors

If you are an outdoors-person, and like to dream and plan trips with the help of topographic maps, My Topo Maps Pro by Trimble Outdoors for the iPad is a great solution. With this app, you may manage, download, and archive topo maps. The app includes 68,000 maps covering the U.S. and Canada, with 14,000 of them digitally enhanced and updated. With this app, you may view five different map types: topo of course, plus streets, hybrid satellite view, aerial photo, and terrain. You may download to your iPad an store as many maps as your iPad's memory will allow, so you don't need an internet connection to use the maps in the field.

The app also includes useful planning and navigation tools, including a multi-function digital compass, a search feature covering 10 million points of interest, and a ruler to measure the distance between two points.

You may also register for a free account to save trips to the Trimble Trip Cloud for storage and for syncing between devices.

Disney World Magic Guide (VersaEdge Software) ($4.99)

There are tons of Disney World apps, so the trick is finding the best one. I rank Disney World Magic Guide (VersaEdge Software) at the top of the class, as do many users, who rate this with four and five stars. This app includes interactive maps, dining info, menus, real-time wait-time stats, park hours, attraction info, search, GPS, and compass.

The dining feature, for example, lets you view full menus for all restaurants (250 of them), search for types of food, make reservations and more. The wait times feature lets you see and submit wait time stats for each ride. The hours & events feature makes it easy to schedule and get to activities that your family will enjoy.

Google Earth (Free)

Google Earth iPad app
Google

The first thing to know about the Google Earth app, is that it is not Google Maps. Google earth is a global exploration and visualization tool, and is not intended for turn-by-turn navigation. As Google states, the Google Earth app lets you "fly around the planet" with a swipe of the finger. Google is constantly increasing its inventory of 3D imagery and aerial photography, so you are able to view most major global landmarks in 3D, pan-and-sweep glory. A tour guide feature takes you through a pre-programmed virtual tour of locations and trips. Great for the armchair explorer and for trip planning.

New York Subway Map (mxData Ltd.) (Free)

New York Subway Map
mxData Ltd.

The New York Subway Map by mxData is yet another example of map app beautifully suited for the iPad. You get a nice wide view of the app's official Metropolitan Transportation Authority's maps, plus a route planner that identifies the fastest route, or the one with fewest train changes. You may also save favorite routes, search for a subway station (or for the station nearest you now) a route preview, and route alerts. Users rate it 4+.

AAA Mobile (Free)

AAA Mobile app for iPad
AAA

If you're going to pay for a AAA membership, you might as well make the most of it, with the free AAA Mobile iPad app. This app includes all of the latest available AAA discounts, maps, gas prices, and driving directions. Information includes TripTik trip planning, AAA office locations, AAA-approved auto repair locations, AAA hotel ratings, and more.

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