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Peak.ar http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/peak.ar/id331448290?mt=8 is an Apple/Android tool, developed by Austria's Salzburg Research Institute, that schools hikers on nearby mountains. Simply capture the skyline in the viewfinder and the app's worldwide database will label the names and relative heights of the mountains ahead. Bonus: The program syncs with Google Maps for a map view of neighboring peaks. Great for hiking through new mountains or boosting your kids' excitement about yonder peaks!
Park Maps http://itunes.apple.com/app/park-maps/id309506468?mt=8 brings you 250+ maps of national parks, monuments and recreational spots via GPS. My heart did a mini-somersault at the sight of this Apple app's high-resolution maps (crisp maps aren't a given in the app world). Extra perks: You can study each map in portrait or landscape styles and download them to zap worries about Internet connection.
MotionX GPS http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/motionx- ... 49744?mt=8 is Apple's reigning cool kid in outdoor circles. This popular GPS-enabled app tracks your position, speed and more on street, topographic or satellite maps. It helps guide you back to the trailhead, geotags photos and shares your location in real time with friends and family. It even syncs with your music library to set your hike to music. Clearly, I'm not the only one with a crush, though. This little dynamo won About.com's 2011 Readers' Choice Award for Best Outdoor/Hiking App. Price: $2.99
myTracks https://market.android.com/details?id=c ... rch_result is a handy app for performance-driven hikers. This Android program works with Google Maps to help you plot your hike in advance. Once you're on the trail, just press "start" and your screen will display live stats of your speed, distance, location and elevation. Easy sharing post-hike lets you follow through on bragging rights, too.