Five iPad navigation apps that offer new directions for location-based services

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For a growing number of mobile software providers, the path to profitability lies in navigation services. According to a recent IE Market Research forecast, the worldwide market for GPS-powered navigation and location-based services will grow from $1.6 billion in 2009 to $13.4 billion in 2014, representing a compound annual growth rate of 51.3 percent. Credit North America as the primary catalyst behind the growth: IE Market Research anticipates the United States and Canada will account for close to a third of the global market for navigation and LBS spend by 2014, with total spend increasing to $2 billion--a CAGR of 136 percent.

isuppli ipad sales figuresWhile smartphones and in-vehicle solutions have traditionally represented the vanguard of the navigation segment, a major new player has entered the picture: Apple's iPad. Bringing together location-specific technologies as well as multimedia content, games, social media tools and Web services that all leverage the tablet's 9.7-inch touchscreen and always-on connectivity to full effect, the iPad does everything that traditional navigation units do and much more, delivering a immersive and integrated user experience.

Consumer enthusiasm for the iPad has been overwhelming: Apple has already sold more than 3 million units since the iPad hit retail in April 2010, and research firm iSuppli anticipates sales will exceed the 7 million mark by the end of the year. As of late July, Apple's App Store boasts more than 11,000 applications optimized expressly for the iPad, and an increasing number of those apps focus on navigation--some are premium and others are free, and some offer universal solutions while others focus on niche-specific demands. Here are five iPad navigation apps that won't steer you wrong.

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