Travel Essentials: iPhone GPS apps

The iPhone can hold its own against many specialist GPS devices. Hundreds of app services are available, but these are some of the best.

Maplets iPhone app. Courtesy Zaia Design
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Gaia GPS

This app has most of the functions you would expect from a traditional GPS unit. You can download maps from OpenStreetMap ( for use offline. You can track your location using the iPhone's GPS and GLONASS and you can add waypoints. The biggest problem is short battery life, but you can help to extend it by following a few simple steps (visit for details).

Available from the iPhone app store for US$9.99 (Dh37).


This app provides access to an excellent collection of maps which can be downloaded and used when you have no Wi-Fi or 3G network nearby. There are more than 6,500 Maplets available (and counting), including national parks, ski resorts and transport systems such as London's Tube. If you cannot find a map, you can request it. The maps are easy to navigate using scroll and zoom. You can see your location on GPS-tagged maps as well as find places of interest that have been annotated on the particular map.

Available from the iPhone app store for $2.99 (Dh11).

Free GPS

This app provides a simple interface to access the iPhone's built-in GPS functionality. Input latitude and longitude coordinates and it will provide basic directions on a compass and distance left to travel. You can add waypoints and save your current position as a waypoint. Don't expect a plethora of functions in this app - its strength is its simplicity.

Available from the iPhone app store for free.

More of the most durable and practical gear to take on your next holiday at Travel Essentials.