I’ve probably tried ten different GPS apps for my iPhone and I always come back to Topo Maps (no affiliation). I’ve used it for about four years now in a wide variety of situations and it has never let me down. Here are the four reasons I think that Topo Maps is the best GPS App for iPhone.
1. It’s Easy To Use
It’s not bogged down with so many features that it took me a month to figure it out. 99% of the time I just need to 1) See where I am, and 2) Allow me to easily set waypoints so I can make sense of the land I’m on. You’ll figure this out in a few minutes in Topo Maps.
2. Unlimited Map Downloads In The U.S. And Canada
The app is $7.99 and after you purchase it you can download maps until your heart is content. There aren’t any other in-app purchases or anything else you’ll need to use it.
3. You Don’t Need Cell Reception To Use It
This is hands-down my favorite thing about it. You can literally have zero bars and it finds you in about 5 seconds. It just uses the GPS in your iPhone, which is accurate to 16 ft under most conditions. Anyone who has used a traditional GPS unit knows that you can sometimes wait forever to get a triangulation. I’m always surprised at how fast my iPhone locates me.
4. You Can Import GPX, KLM and ZIP Files
This means that I can plan a whole weekend of hiking in Google Maps and import the file. It’s much nicer to do research like that on a big screen. With this feature you don’t have to double up on your efforts by finding everything again on your iPhone.
Another feature I use a lot is the ability to measure distance and bearing. Because your iPhone has a compass you can easily figure out how far it is to your desired location.
There are also plenty of waypoint icons that make it easy to add a lot of waypoints and not get confused (these are just a few):
When you look at the cost of a decent handheld GPS unit, $8 for Topo Maps is practically free. If you have one that tops it, let me know! Until then, I’m hanging on to it as the best GPS app for iPhone. Time to hit the trail!