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Maps Pro - Google Maps Edition for iPad is a mixed bag

iPad owners seeking a powerful map solution have been a bit deprived lately because so far, Google Maps for iOS is native only for the iPhone and iPod touch. There is no Google Maps app for the iPad at native resolution.

WildPalm Ltd. has taken the Google data and packaged it in a Retina display-supported app called Maps Pro - Google Maps Edition that has the features of Google Maps, and they have extended it to add some features not native to the Google version.

The app, which is on sale for $1.99 for a short time, allows you to annotate maps by drawing directly on them, and you can add comments and ratings to your bookmarks. Your annotated map can be shared via email, messaging, Facebook and Twitter. StreetView is supported, and you can drag an icon to any place on the map to view street level photos if Google has photographed that area.

People were reporting crashes on the app, but I did not see any in this latest version released last week. I did see some issues with searches. When I searched for Pizza Hut, it topped the list with a Pizza Hut in Nicaragua (!), and the rest of the list did not reflect my Arizona location. That's certainly not what happens when I type the same search into Google Maps for iOS. You can see a screenshot of this issue in the gallery. Other functions like StreetView, 3D Maps, and directions all worked fine. So did searching for locations, but business searches didn't seem to work well at all. For many users, that will be a fatal problem.

On my iPad, I like Apple Maps just fine, although I know many others have not had as positive an experience. Apple Maps is particularly weak outside the U.S., so I can understand people wanting a solid alternative.

Some other iPad apps that are worth a look and have good reviews are iMaps+ for Google Maps ($1.99), and My Maps ($1.99)

If Maps Pro gets the search issue straightened out it will be fully competitive. The additions the developer has added are worthwhile. Of course it would be nice if Google just poured on the effort and released a free iPad version of Google Maps. Google has said it is coming, perhaps as early as this summer, but if you can't wait, these other apps provide an alternative.

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