Maps 3D PRO is a best in class GPS/Nav app for outdoor enthusiasts

There are so many navigation apps available now that one can wish for a navigation app just to find one in the app store. Most are variations on a theme; get from point A to point B efficiently, with information about stops along the way.

Maps 3D PRO (U$4.99) is a entirely different animal. Designed for hikers, cyclists, skiers and outdoor activities, the app provides 2D and 3D map views that show details of terrain and altitude. The app can give a generic and not-too-detailed view of anywhere in the world, but the real power comes when you select an area and download any of 11 types of maps for that area. That means you can use the app with no data service, so it's perfect for those out of the way places. Of course GPS works anywhere, so your position will be right on the detailed map. Maps include detailed NASA satellite views, 3D topographic maps, Open Street Maps for city navigation, USGS maps and more. It's a really strong selection.

Once you have your maps installed, you can add up to 20 waypoints and Maps 3D PRO helps you follow a trail, road, or any route you select. You can find locations by searching, and view the terrain in 2D or 3D. The 3D is beautifully rendered, and you can zoom and rotate.

When you are on your way, the app displays distance travelled and current and average speeds. A logger function records your position and altitude. Your tracks can be shared via email, Facebook and Twitter, and you can load routes via iTunes, EveryTrail, email or Dropbox.

It's a great app for geocachers, horseback riders, cross country skiers, and anyone else who loves being outdoors. I've noted some good photo-spots, and the app gives me an excellent view of the surrounding terrain. I haven't seen a better app for outdoor hiking or activities. It's well thought out, and easy to use in the field without a bunch of confusing options or menus, yet it is powerful.

For a person wanting to get beyond street maps and get off-road, this is a perfect app, yet it has excellent city details as well. The only thing I would change is where the search function sits -- it's one menu below the main screen, and I'd love for it to be located on the main screen.

Maps 3D PRO would be a great gift for the outdoor-type person in your life, or a great gift for yourself. Over the holidays you may indulge in skiing, cycling or hiking, and this is a terrific app for those activities.

Maps 3D PRO is a 22MB download, but data requirements grow as you download those detailed maps. The app requires iOS 7 or later, and it is optimized for the iPhone 5.

Highly and enthusiastically recommended!